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Social capital: building bridges between the social sciences

One-day symposium

Social capital: building bridges
between the social sciences

Organized by the
The Department of Political Science of the University of Aarhus

University of Aarhus, April 19 2007
Aarhus, Denmark



The symposium presents six contributions to a forthcoming handbook of social capital (Edward Elgar Publishing) edited by Gert Tinggaard and Gunnar L.H. Svendsen.

The main idea in this new handbook is to account for tangible as well as intangible assets or ‘forms of capital’ at the same level of analysis, thus overcoming the artificial demarcation between economic and non-economic areas of research. This means that intangible forms of capital, e.g. cultural and social capital, should be accounted for alongside the more traditional, visible capitals such as physical and economic capital. In such an approach, culture is seen as not less ’economic’ than economics and vice versa, and various forms of intangible, normative resources such as trust, cooperative skills, tolerance, optimism and happiness are included in the equation so to avoid what economist John F. Tomer has termed “mainstream theory’s most notable failure”.

The notion of social capital implies that all social sciences recognize the power inherent in network co-operation – invisible, but arguably with highly visible effects. However, not all disciplines are comfortable with numerous network types. A main theme in the handbook is therefore to further develop what we see as a useful distinction between bridging and bonding types of social capital.

The symposium is organised by Public Policy Research Group at the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus and made possible by financial support from The World Bank and the the Department of Political Science.


The symposium takes place in Stærekassen on the sixth floor of building 1350.

Program (preliminary)

15.15: Introduction (by Gert Tinggaard Svendsen)

Session 1 (Chair: Christian Bjørnskov)

15.20-15.50: Eric Uslaner (keynote speaker): Culture and corruption

15.50-16.20: Martin Paldam: Dictatorship

16.20-16.50: Peter Nannestad: Migration

16.50-17.00: Coffee and cake

Session 2 (Chair: Peter Nannestad)

17.00-17.30: Kim Sønderskov: Social capital, collective action and the environment

17.30-18.00: Christian Bjørnskov: Economic growth

18.00-18.30: Søren Serritzlew, Andreas Roepstorff & Michael Bang Petersen: Neuro science

19.00-21.00 Dinner for invited speakers

Papers and official web site

Papers will be available on the official web site approximately one week before the symposium.


University of Aarhus, Department of Political Science

The Department of Political Science at Aarhus University was founded in 1959 and it is the oldest of its kind in Denmark. In addition, it is also one of the biggest departments of political science in Europe with its staff of 50 full time scientific employees, 33 PhD students and 1,700 students....

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