Presentation on theme: "Social Capital and Social Networks: developing the research agenda Mike Savage & Gindo Tampubolon. ESRC Centre for Research on Socio- Cultural Change (CRESC)"— Presentation transcript:
Social Capital and Social Networks: developing the research agenda Mike Savage & Gindo Tampubolon. ESRC Centre for Research on Socio- Cultural Change (CRESC) & Sociology, University of Manchester
Issues we address 1.Why social networks are important to social capital 2.Network dynamics: what a case study of the ties in three organisations in the NW of England tells us about the mechanisms which produce social capital 3.The changing social capital of corporate elites (Gindo) 4.Network analysis using sample surveys: the Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion Survey
An aside: Promoting Social Network Analysis project Mike Savage, Nick Crossley, John Scott, Gindo Tampubolon, Alan Warde, ESRC funded 2002-2006. Aims are to create a high profile team to promote SNA which will –Produce research exemplars in the areas of social capital; elite structures; consumption; innovation –Run training courses and hold conferences –Develop mailing lists and network –Develop international links –Collaborate with inter-disciplinary research centres (e.g. CRIC, CRESC) to cross fertilise with research leaders
1) Why social networks are important to social capital The social capital agenda offers new potential for SNA because of its leading theorists all emphasise that networks are central. features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit (Putnam 1996: 67). the core idea of social capital theory is that social networks have value….. social capital refers to connections among individuals – social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them (Putnam 2000: 19), social capital is 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 and recognition (Bourdieu 1996: 51),
Networks and the ambivalence of social capital Network methods are also essential in allowing us to explore the positive and negative aspects of social capital. Consider –connectedness –the old boys club –Cliques –structural holes and the potential to build bridges
Networks are a fundamental part of social capital Consider Putnams increasing interest informal social capital in his more recent work Research increasingly doubtful that formal associational membership necessarily conveys significant social capital Freitag Claiborn and Morris
Recent British research Using the BHPS, Li, Pickles and Savage (2005) constructed three different measures of social capital - membership of formal organisations - neighbourhood relations - social networks The analysis showed that these three factors were independent of each other and had different kinds of effects. Formal organisations were the least effective in generating social trust.
Logistic regression on social trust by types of social capital (top quartile compared to bottom)
Current survey questions on networks These issues explain why there is so much current interest in finding indicators for social capital include measures for networks Notably, the ONS Social Capital Question Bank includes questions on Interaction, social networks, social support in large surveys proximity of friends, relatives perceived barriers to contact with friends, relatives Has someone to rely on outside household Received practical help Depth of socialisation networks perceived norms of social support Social relations at work These questions can be asked easily but have several problems:- -uncertain how far perceptions match the actual structure of social support -confuse social capital with its outcomes -Are ego-centred, and do not allow us to evaluate the structure of networks in the community at large We need to think harder about how to use network approaches
The potential of social network analysis SNA examines the ties (networks) between points, using graph theory and other mathematical models. It has a number of distinct features Keen to study whole populations, hence allowing systematic analysis of the structure of roles and relationships. Interest less in individual attributes, and more in the extent and nature of ties to others It has wide applications and its ideas have become social science orthodoxy: most famously The strength of weak ties (Granovetter) The remaking of urban community (Fischer; Wellman) Corporate elites organised around constellation of interests (Scott) By way of background UK researchers were key in the early history of social network analysis, especially the LSE/ Manchester anthropologists (Bott, Barnes, Mitchell). Although there continue to be distinguished SNA researchers in the UK (e.g Everitt, Scott), there is no school of SNA researchers here. However in North America and parts of Europe SNA has flourished (with specialist journals, conferences, etc), and has produced important contributions to studies of e.g innovation, elite structures, social movements, health, family and community.
There are still significant limits to applying SNA to study social capital. Why? Limits of network questions on sample surveys, and the problem of sample surveys themselves. Although it often uses case studies, its reliance on formal methods for mapping networks, means it is not a standard qualitative method. Need for specialist software (e.g. UCINET, PAJEK) Lack of research exemplars showing its potential for addressing substantive research questions. Lack of UK centres of excellence and possibility of research training.
Note Respondents were asked with whom do you discuss things to do with the organisation (for example, activities, issues, strategy).
Communication networks within the conservation group Note Respondents were asked with whom do you discuss things to do with the organisation (for example, activities, issues, strategy).
Communication networks within the environmental group
Implications We can use SNA to question important aspects of the arguments about social capital. SNA allows us to map social capital mechanisms more directly: 1.Cores become less trusting 2.Different models of organising cores 3.Cores find different methods of reproducing themselves Social capital is generated around tensions and fractures, rather than consensus and community
4) The position generator and social networks We have seen some difficulties in using sample surveys to capture aspects of social networks 1.The extent and structure of ties between whole (or quasi-whole) populations 2.The extent to which relationships are reciprocal. Yet it will not always be feasible to conduct research on whole populations. In the UK and Canada, but not, hitherto, in the UK, an alternative position generator question has been developed to rectify this problem.
Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion Project Directed by Tony Bennett, Elizabeth Silva, Mike Savage and Alan Warde Seeks to develop new measures for cultural, economic and social capital. Contains national survey of 1564 respondents, 28 focus groups, and 60 in- depth interviews. Early papers on CRESC website
The position generator question `On this card is a list of jobs. Please tell me whether you happen to know anyone socially who has any of these jobs? Please include friends and relatives 1.Secretary 2.Solicitor 3.Clerical officer in national or local government 4.Bus or coach driver 5.Bank of building society manager 6.Factory worker 7.University/ college lecturer 8.Electrician 9.Nurse 10.Sales or shop assistant 11.Postal worker
Figure 2Number of civic memberships and social contacts Source:Cultural Capital and Social Exclusion Survey (2003) (same below).
Range of contacts vary by social group Age18-35: mean of 3.59: 36-60: 4.43, 61+: 2.70 Gender Male 3.92: Female 3.61 Class Professional and managerial 4.34: intermediate 3.87: working class, 3.11
Regression on social trust Civic membership has coefficient of.174** with social trust Those with contact with have co-efficients professional and managerial.247* intermediate.120 working class -.269* Those who only know professionals and managers are the most trusting of all (1.067**) The nature of social contacts thus makes important differences to trust and reveal how trust is the result of privileged social location
Conclusions Social networks offer a different approach to social capital that questions some of the benevolent interpretations Trust and belonging may arise from tension and conflict Social capital is not evenly distributed, and middle class networks are most effective in conveying its advantages Social capital does not depend primarily on associational membership. We need to understand the dynamics of associations to assess if and how they generate social capital Position generator question can be useful in allowing the conflictual nature of social capital to be registered on sample surveys. Social capital is not a magic bullet. It is a resource which is contested and which helps reproduce unequal social relationships, though it can also be a resource for those who contest these inequalities