Social capital

Social capital

Yoshimichi Sato Tohoku University, Japan

abstract Three theoretical issues should be addressed to understand the multiple facets of social capital: its conceptualization, its effects on social life and society, and its causes. This article starts by suggesting that social networks are the core of social capital. What differentiates between various theories of social capital is how they add other elements to the social network core. The article then shows the importance of four aspects of social capital: the goals and utilities of actors who employ social capital, levels of definition, the coverage of social capital, and types of social capital. After the theoretical argument, the article reviews literature in the field to explore the causes and effects of social capital. It then examines criticisms of the concept, finally proposing two new directions: (1) systematic studies of the relationship between components of social capital and the utility functions of actors, and (2) the study of social capital in relation to local concepts expressing similar meanings. 

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