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Social Capital

Social Capital

Social capital is a term that is used in sociology that refers to the economic benefits that come from relationships. Paper Masters custom writes research on social capital for sociology or economics courses at the college level.

Examples of social capitalism are:

An individual's goal in social networking is to increase their connections in hopes that it will bring them more economic success. This usually equates to a new job, more sales, a promotion, or more clients. It has been proven that these networks have value and help increase the productivity of individuals and groups.

The Concept Behind Social Capital

The concept behind social capital is not a new one, even though the term social capital is relatively new. Several people in the early 19th century observed the benefits of social capital. Alexis de Tocqueville observed the positive effects of social capital on American democracy. Karl Marx also studied the benefits of social capital on people during the industrial revolution when they helped support each other.

Not only does social capital increase the status of individuals it can also apply to a community or nation. Studies have shown that social capital linked to civic engagement improves the health of the community. Social Capitalism seeks to merge Socialism and Capitalism into one entity. Social capital allows networking and support for the economically disadvantaged. They are then able to increase their capital output, which helps the individual and also can help the community.

There is not one single definition for social capital. Different sociologists define it in different ways. There is also no specific way to measure social capital.

Challenging Social Norms

The period spanning the 1960s and 1970s was a highly charged period in American history that challenged social and political norms and, in many cases, fairly undermined the status quo of many of American society's long-established institutions including religion and education. Ortner points to the social theory advanced by Geertz as the nation and the world transitioned from the 1960s to the 1970s as one that emphasized "how symbols shape the way social actors see, feel, and think about the world". Even more, it emphasized the study of culture not from the point of the view of the social anthropologist but rather from the point of view of the actors, which exploited the belief that "culture is a product of acting social beings trying to make sense of the world in which they find themselves".

Geertz' emphasis on these points is fairly inline with the dramatic social changes taking place not only in American society but throughout the world and the endeavor by various groups to try and make sense of the world around them, which in many cases translated to demanding and/or embracing personal, civil and human rights. An examination of Geertz' work reveals that he cautioned his contemporaries to avoid looking too deeply for underlying phenomena or risk "losing touch with the hard surfaces of life - with the political, economic, stratifactory realities within which men are everywhere contained". The hard realties that he submits were part of his cultural analysis as the 1960s moved into the 1970s included but were not confined to violence, human nature, nationalism, identity, revolution, urbanization, status, death and how certain cultures manage to create meaning out of such things.

Ortner effectively demonstrates the significant role of historical context in the development of social theory however she is careful to caution that its emphasis can work to obscure important distinctions and deeper problems that systems and structuralist approaches have been able to identify. Even more, Ortner suggests that the relationship between history and culture should be viewed from the context that it is not merely the record of what has happened and how it has affected people but that it is also the outcome of people's actions

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