Social Capital

Topics: Sociology, Community building, Social capital Pages: 8 (2537 words) Published: May 17, 2013
“Social Capital here refers to features of social organization such as trust, norms and networks that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated action”( Putman 1993: 169).


In this essay I will compare and contrast social capital with my agency visit. I will discuss the theory of social capital and what role it plays in (CASP) Clondalkin Addiction Support Programme. This paper will look at the target groups in which apply to (CASP) and then look at bonding and bridging and how it’s associated and affective with (CASP).

Social Capital
Social capital refers to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a society's social relations. Increasing evidence shows that social cohesion is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustainable. Social capital is not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together, social capital is composed of basic elements; these include a network, a set of norms, values, and sanctions. All of these components exist in every community form our work place, families, through to the government. The theory of social capital became fashionable only quite recently, but the term has been in use for almost a century while the ideas behind it go back further still. “Social capital” may first have appeared in a book published in 1916 in the United States that discussed how neighbours could work together to oversee schools. Author Lydia Hanifan referred to social capital as “those tangible assets [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and social interaction among the individuals and families who make up a social unit”. The study of social networks highlights the nature of social ties among participants. One of the key concepts of this methodology is the 'Social Capital’ of individual participants and of the whole network constructed by these ties. Although This conceptualization made its first appearance in the beginning of the 20th century (Hanifan, 1916) it became well-known in the last decades, due to the works of Bourdieu (1985, 1997), Coleman (1988, 1994) and Putnam (1995, 2000).  'Social capital is the 'the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition' (Bourdieu 1983: 249)  'Social capital is defined by its function. It is not a single entity, but a variety of different entities, having two characteristics in common: they all consist of some aspect of a social structure, and they facilitate certain actions of individuals who are within the structure' (Coleman 1994: 302).

 'Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers to the properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense social capital is closely related to what some have called “civic virtue.” The difference is that “social capital” calls attention to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a sense network of reciprocal social relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital' (Putnam 2000: 19) In recent years, the term entered the popular imagination with the Publication in 2000 of Robert Putnam’s bestseller, bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Putnam argued that while Americans have become wealthier their sense of community has withered. Cities and traditional suburbs have given way to “Edge cities and “exurbs” – vast, anonymous places where people sleep and work and do little else. As people spend more and more Time in the office, commuting to work and watching TV alone, There’s less time for joining neighbourhood groups...
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