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Lecture

SOCC58H3 Lecture Notes - Social Capital, The American Prospect, Human Capital


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCC58H3
Professor
Dennis Wall

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SOCC33 - Outline
9 March
Social Capital
The missing link that can provide an asset for those who are in poverty. It blames the individuals
if they are not holding enough capital.
“networks, norms, and trust that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue
shared objectives" (Putnam 1996)
“social capital refers to the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and
quantity of a society's social interactions. Social capital is not just the sum of the institutions
which underpin a society; it is the glue that holds them together.” (World Bank)
“networks together with shared norms, values and understandings that facilitate co-operation
within or among groups.” (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – OECD)
“Social capital” works at the individual level, getting the desired ends, meeting a purpose,
or a rational ends. Serves some benefit to me. At the societal level it units through trust,
shared norms and values. (nobody trusts anyone anymore). In our society now, we have all
these different types of morals and values. Social solidarity is the glue that keeps the society
together. I pay my taxes because I TRUST that the government is fair, and that I TRUST
my neighbor is paying his too. Human capital, the more education you have the more
human capital you will have, acquiring skills. Social capital, the acquired resources you
have, these resources are the people you know, and what they know. The more social
relations you can mask together, the more social capital you will have. Putman says our
stock of social capital has declined over the past years. Prior to the second world war,
people really knew each other and depended on each other, then the shift to the
industrialization, you started to think of more of an individualistic thinking, and the
market has made that possible, jobs have reduced the time we are spending together.
(compartmentalized) Back in the day, people would not survive without each other,
without your family, friends, neighborhood, you would perish. Fewer people sign petitions
anymore, people don’t bowl alone. We see them and we feel sorry for them. What does he
blame this on? He thinks that TV is a bad thing. It is the intro of TV that has brought
down society. Not just TV but what about work structure, family structure, age, suburban
living, because the first thing you do is put up a big fence, and you don’t want to talk to
your neighbors. Other factors: declining social capital, 40% decline in family dinners,
church attendence, having friends over to your place, town hall meetings are declining.
Social capital has to do with two things: 1. Stocks, norms, values, trust, and networks that
people can draw on . 2. The collective value of all social networks, and the inclination to do
things for each other. Why should we be implying to do things for each other? Because they
might reciprocate it when you need it, or talk about you in favourable terms to others. Also
to be thanked, respect. What makes up social capital: the proportion of people that say that
others can be trusted, also what makes social capital the higher trust, higher standard of
living. The number of civic or policial organizations.
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Networks and types of social capital – these networks are:
- bonding social capital -
characterized by strong bonds e.g. among family members or among members of an
ethnic group; good for “getting by”
- bridging social capital -
characterized by weaker, less dense but more cross-cutting ties e.g. with business
associates, acquaintances, friends from different ethnic groups, friends of friends, etc;
good for “getting ahead”
- linking social capital -
characterized by connections between those within a hierarchy where there are differing
levels of power. It is different from bonding and bridging in that it is concerned with
relations between people who are not on an equal footing, e.g. a social services agency
dealing with an individual e.g. job searching
The neglect of social capital issues in economic development theory and policy manifests itself
in
“proposals for strengthening market economies and democratic institutions [in developing
and transitional countries that] center almost exclusively on deficiencies in financial and
human capital (thus calling for loans and technical assistance). However, the deficiencies in
social capital in these countries are at least as alarming. Where are the efforts to encourage
social capital formation”? (Putnam, The American Prospect, Spring, 1993: 38.
Putman is saying that deficiencies in financial and human capital is what is keeping people
in poverty. He is treating them as two separate things. Probably not tho. You cannot
increase the social capital in these countries without increasing their financial capital. Put
man sees it in a reverse way. You need to meet the basic needs, food, shelter, clothing, then
social capital will follow. Poor people are trying to figure out how to survive, without
thinking about how I can develop social capital.
Global Commodity chains (GCC):
- measure of the distribution of benefits along commodity chains
- show the surplus or valued added at different points or nodes in the process
- when the product enters the GCC it becomes a commodity
- the GCC hides the social relations of production
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