Essays on Measurement of Social Capital Essay

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "Measurement of Social Capital" is a good example of a macro & microeconomics essay.   Social capital defines the consolidated resources that are created as a result of the coordination and co-operation of individuals as well as groups. Social capital could easily be described as the value that is attached to social networks. It describes the feelings of responsibility and a sense of obligation that persons in social institutions have towards one another. Merchants freely exchange merchandise worth thousands in the diamond market, with complete trust that the merchant inspecting the diamonds will not replace them with replicas.

This is an important form of social capital upon which the diamond business operates and without which the market would collapse. Bourdieu (1983,p. 249) defines social capital as “ the aggregate of the actual or potential resources which are linked to possession of a durable network of more or less institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance or recognition” . According to Coleman (1998, p. S98) “ social capital is defined by its functions. It is not a single entity but a variety of different entities, with two elements in common: they all consist of some aspect of social structures, and they facilitate certain actions of actors” .

This theory attempts to link up the positive effects that arise from social networking and combine these benefits with individual capital for the creation of power and influence. Bourdieu’ s definition suggests that individuals only stand to gain by their participation in social networks, which is not the case. Social capital is the fruit that social networks stand to rip if they function effectively. The expectation that social networks will accrue benefits is the glue that keeps them together.

Social capital is generated whenever social networks are formed for the purpose of achieving a collective object whose benefits may either be accrued by the community or individual. As such there must be careful consideration so that the network structure is based on institutions set so as to accrue benefits.


Bourdieu, P. (1983). The forms of social capital: Handbook of theory of research for the sociology of education. New York: J. Richardson.

Coleman, J. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American journal of sociology.vol. 94

Graycar, A. (1999). Crime and social capital. Melbourne. Australian Institute of Criminology.

Narayan, D. & Cassidy, M. (2001). A dimensional approach to measuring social capital: development and validation of a social capital inventory. Current sociology. vol. 49 no.2

Portes, A. (1998). Social capital: Its origins and applications in modern sociology. Annual review of sociology.

Putnam, R. (2001). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Stone, W. (2001). Measuring social capital. Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us