Social Capital: Theory and Research
Nan Lin, Karen S. Cook, Ronald S. Burt
Transaction Publishers - Social Science - 333 pages
Leading scholars in the field of social networks from diverse disciplines present the first systematic and comprehensive collection of current theories and empirical research on the informal connections that individuals have for support, help, and information from other people. Expanding on concepts originally formulated by Pierre Bourdieu and James Coleman, this seminal work will find an essential place with educators and students in the fields of social networks, rational choice theory, institutions, and the socioeconomics of poverty, labor markets, social psychology, and race.
The volume is divided into three parts. The first segment clarifies social capital as a concept and explores its theoretical and operational bases. Additional segments provide brief accounts that place the development of social capital in the context of the family of capital theorists, and identify some critical but controversial perspectives and statements regarding social capital in the literature. The editors then make the argument for the network perspective, why and how such a perspective can clarify controversies and advance our understanding of a whole range of instrumental and expressive outcomes.
Social Capital further provides a forum for ongoing research programs initiated by social scientists working at the crossroads of formal theory and new methods. These scholars and programs share certain understandings and approaches in their analyses of social capital. They argue that social networks are the foundation of social capital. Social networks simultaneously capture individuals and social structure, thus serving as a vital conceptual link between actions and structural constraints, between micro- and macro-level analyses, and between relational and collective dynamic processes. They are further cognizant of the dual significance of the "structural" features of the social networks and the "resources" embedded in the networks as defining elements of social capital.
Nan Lin is professor of sociology, Duke University.
Karen Cook is Ray Lyman Wilber Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Stanford University.
Ronald S. Burt is Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
From inside the book
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On the other hand, the network closure argument seems to be useful when resources inside the group are sufficient and mobilized for group or individual members' gain. Thus, the chapter proposes an integration of the two models in a more ...
These solidifying forces may ensure that individuals can mobilize network resources. I believe that the linkage between network density or closure to the utility of social capital is too narrow and partial. Research in social networks ...
... embedded in a social structure which are accessed and/or mobilized in purposive actions (Lin 2001, Chapter 3). ... resources by individuals; and use or mobilization of such social resources by individuals in purposive actions.
... resources represent mobilized resources in instrumental actions. For contact resources, the measurement is straightforward — the contact's wealth, power and /or status characteristics, typically reflected in the contact's occupation ...
From this, three processes can be identified for modeling: (1) investment in social capital, (2) access to and mobilization of social capital, and (3) returns of social capital. While the above discussion clarifies social capital's ...
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