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Social capital and social networks: The "glue" of social development and welfare

XVI ISA World Congress of Sociology
The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World

Social capital and social networks:
The "glue" of social development and welfare

(Capital social y redes sociales: El "pegamento" del desarrollo social)

Spanish language session of the
XVI IZA World Congress of Sociology
Durban, South Africa, 23-29 July 2006




Bordieu (1980) defines social capital as a concept that combines the mutual relationship of individuals with their groups as lasting and useful linkages. More recently Putnam (2000, 19) sustains that "social capital refers to the connections among individuals, social networks, and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arises from them…"

The literature on this topic has grown rapidly. International organizations such as the World Bank (WB) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), among others, maintain that a key factor for social development and national wealth appears to be related to social capital. They illustrate the concept of social capital as the "glue" (WB) that keeps society together beyond the sum of tangible resources.

Despite the increasing attention devoted to the analysis of social capital there is still a need to better define and measure the connections between social capital and sustainable development. There is also a need to study the relationship between various social networks, patterns of reciprocity, factors generating trust among individuals, and the consequences of these elements for the entire social system. According to this perspective social cohesion acquires an economic dimension that appears to be more important than the simple dynamics of supply and demand in a free market. This type of analysis, following the sociocybernetic paradigm, may well assist and enrich new theoretical positions and empirical research in this area.

Kind of papers

This session, therefore, will provide an intellectual space to discuss the following aspects related to social capital:

• Theoretical and conceptual considerations
• Methodological contributions and their measurements
• Empirical studies
• Critical reviews of current international and disciplinary approaches

The session will aim to offer a perspective from the Spanish-speaking world to counterbalance the Anglo-Saxon viewpoint concerning social capital.

Type of session

Papers selected will be presented and discussed during the session. The total time of 105 minutes will be equally distributed among the selected papers.


Organizzazione A


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