Personal Networks as Social Capital: a Research Strategy to Measure Contents and Forms of Social Support
Keywords:personal network, social capital, social circles
AbstractThe basic idea of social capital consists of the belief that individuals’ lives can be qualitatively improved by social relationships, or rather by the social resources that these relationships manage to mobilize. So, personal networks can provide a kind of capital for individuals. This essay examines the characteristics of personal networks that mobilize social resources in a sample of 307 individuals, representative of the population of Verona (Italy). By using some structural indicators of social capital, the authors describe the contents and the forms of different kinds of social circles (family, work colleagues, members in third sector organizations, friends, neighbours). This study rejects a hypothesis according to which stronger ties are better vehicles for symbolic and expressive resources, and confirms a hypothesis on the similarity of the forms of different social circles that provide individuals with social support.
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