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Social Capital Lecture March 23

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Dennis Wall

SOCC33Outline23 MarchISocial CapitalThe payoffs that arise from our relationships reliance on networks and contacts can produce significant economic returns for individuals and communitiesAt the community level cooperation in order to achieve a common goal1Putnams problemSocial Capitals Decline Bowling Alone Robert PutnamBowling Alone is a bad metaphor since no one actually bowls alonewhat Putnam meant is that people dont engage in league bowling anymore they only bowl with close intimate like family members League bowling is a type of associational activity that brings relative strangers together on a routine and frequent basis As such it helps to build and make possible a wider set of networks and values that foster general reciprocity and trust and in turn helps bring about mutual collaborationPutnam says we currently have a declining stock of social capitalOver the last half century or sosign fewer petitionsbelong to fewer organizations that meet public meetings and town hallsknow our neighbors less gated communitiesmeet with friends less frequentlysocialize with our families less often work schedulesdecline in church attendanceAll this describes how changes in work dual income families family structure age suburban life TV computers and other factors have contributed to this decline12Definitions and the structure of social capitalSocial capital is believed to be the missing link between the functioning of states and markets in developmentSocial capital refers to stocks of social trust norms and networks that people can draw upon to solve common problemsSocial capital refers to the collective value of all social networks and the inclinationsthat arise from these networks to do things for each otherBy social capital I mean features of social lifenetworks norms and trustvalues thatie enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives Putnam 1996 563What makes social capitalSocial capital includesthe proportion of people who believe that most people can be trustedthe number of civic religious and political organizations in a societyand what proportion of people are actively involved in themthe frequency of informal socializing including eating meals at each others houses playing games using public parks2
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