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Interpersonal Trust and Mutually Beneficial Exchanges: Measuring Social Capital for Comparative Analysis

[journal article]

Vitaskova, Anna; Mateju, Petr

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Abstract There are at least two significantly different approaches to the conceptualisation of social capital. Advocates of the most influential stream define social capital primarily as an attribute of societies, as an innate characteristic of the social environment based on the high degree of interpersonal & institutional trust facilitating people's co-operation. Adherents of the other stream define social capital in terms of mutually beneficial exchanges based on social connections & informal networks allowing individuals to achieve their own particular goals. The former approach prevails in 'western' countries, while the latter one prevails in the study of social change in post-communist societies where social capital drawing from interpersonal trust seems to be rather low. The aim of this article is to contribute to the conceptualisation & measurement of social capital, with a special emphasis on its role in post-communist societies. The authors attempt to develop a measurement model for the two distinct dimensions of social capital mentioned above. The measurement model for the two dimensions of social capital is developed & tested by confirmatory factor analysis. The authors proceed by testing the hypothesis that social capital defined as trust is only weakly linked to social stratification, while social capital defined as a person's involvement in mutually beneficial exchanges shows significant variation between groups defined by relevant stratification variables. The analysis was performed on the data from the Social Networks survey carried out in the Czech Republic in 2001 under the International Social Survey Programme.
Classification Sociology
Free Keywords Cultural Capital; Trust; Social Networks; Comparative Analysis
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 493-516
Journal Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review, 42 (2006) 3
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications