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Una nuova prospettiva: focus sull’uso individuale del capitale sociale

Una nuova prospettiva: focus sull’uso individuale del capitale sociale

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Una nuova prospettiva: focus sull’uso individuale del capitale sociale

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  1. Una nuova prospettiva: focus sull’uso individuale del capitale sociale Corso di Laure Magistrale in Sociologia

  2. Nan Lin Social capital

  3. History and definition • Social capital: investments in social relations with expected returns in the marketplace. • Bourdieu, 1980; 1983/1986; Lin, 1982; 1985a; Coleman, 1988; 1990; Flap, 1991; 1994; Burt, 1992; Putnam, 1993; 1995a; Erikson, 1995; 1996; Portes, 1998. • Individuals engage in interactions and networking in order to produce profits. • Social capital in the notion of the neo-capital theory: capital captured through social relations. In this approach, capital is seen as a social asset by virtue of actors' connections and access to resources in the network or group in which they are members.

  4. Why does social capital work? • Why embedded resources in social networks enhance the outcomes of actions? • 1. The flow of information is facilitated. In the usual imperfect market situations, social ties located in certain strategic locations and/or hierarchical position (and thus better informed on market needs and demands); • 2. These social ties can exert influence on the agents (e.g. recruiters or supervisors in the organisations) who play a critical role in decisions (e.g. hiring or promotion) involving the actor. Some social ties due to their strategic locations (structural holes) and positions (e.g. authority or supervisory capacities)...; • 3. Social ties conceived by organisations as certification of the individual's social credentials, some of which reflect the individual's accessibility to resources through social networks and relations - his or her social capital; • 4. Social relations are expected to reinforce identity and recognition. • Another element, control, reflecting the network's location and hierarchical position, can be considered central to the definition of social capital itself.

  5. Two perpectives • Relative to the level at which return or profit is conceived: • A. Focus on the use of social capital by the individuals: how individuals access and use resources embedded in social networks to gain returns in instrumental actions (e.g. finding better jobs) or to preserve gains in expressive actions (similar to human capital?). Focal points for analysis: 1) how individuals invest in social relations; 2) how individuals capture the embedded resources in the relations to generate a returns. (Lin, Flap), Burt: network locations represent and create competing advantage. Locationsthat linked nodes and their occupants to information and other resources unlikely to be accessible otherwise constitute valuable capital for the occupants at these "structural hole" positions, and at other locations and for other occupants accessing them. • B) Focus on social capital at the group level: 1) how certain groups develop and maintain social capital as a collective asset; 2) how such a collective asset enhances group members' life chances. (Bourdieu, Coleman, Putnam). • There is converging consensus (Portes, Burt, Lin) that social capital, as a theory-generating concept, should be conceived in the social network context: as resources accessible through social ties that occupy strategic network locations (Burt) and/or significant organisational positions (Lin).

  6. Operationaldefinition • Operationally, social capital can be definedas "the resourcesembedded in social networks accessed and used by actors for actions". Twoimportantcomponents: • 1)itrepresentsresourcesembedded in social relations ratherthanindividuals (social embeddedresources); • 2) access and use of suchresourcesreside with actors (ego iscognitivelyaware of the presence of suchresources in her or his relations and networks and makes a choice in evoking the particularresources).

  7. Controversies • 1. Wether social capital is collective goods or individual goods (Portes 1998 critique). The difficulty arises when social capital is discussed as collective or even public goods, along with trust, norms and other collective or public goods. What has occurred in the literature is that some terms have become alternative or substitutable terms or measurement. Divorced from its roots in individual interactions and networking, social capital becomes merely another trendy term to employ or deploy in the broad context of improving or building social integration and solidarity...I will argue that social capital, as a relational asset, must be distinguished from collective assets and goods such as culture, norms, trust, and so on; • 2. Related to the focus on social capital's collective aspect is the assumed or expected requirement that there is closure or density in social relations and social networks. • 3. Coleman " social capital is defined by its functions": tautology • Coleman question (1990): "wether social capital will come to be as useful a quantitative concepts in social science as are the concepts of financial capital, physical capital, and human capital remains to be seen".

  8. Resources, networks, hierarchy and homophily • Social capital (definition): resources embedded in a social structure that are accessed and/or mobilised for purposive actions. • Three critical components: 1) resources; 2) being embedded in asocial structure; 3) action. • Three tasks for the theory: 1) explaining how resources take on value and how the valued resources are distributed in the society - the structural embeddedness of resources; 2) showing how individual actors, through interactions and social networks, become differentially accessible to such structurally embedded resources - the opportunity structure; 3) explaining how access to such social resources can be mobilise for gains - the process of activation.

  9. Resources and their social allocation • Resources: material or symbolicgoods. • Three principleassumed for valuedresources: • 1) in any human group or community, differentialvalues are assigned by consensus or influence to resource to signaltheir relative significance; • 2) allactors (individuals or collectivegroup) willtake actions to promotetheir self-interest by maintaining and gainingvaluedresourcesifsuchopportunities are available; • 3) maintaining and gainingvaluedresources are the twoprimarymotives for action, with the formeroutweighing the latter.

  10. How resources are embedded in the collectivity • A) The nature of a social structure: 1) a set of social units (positions) that possess differential amounts of one or more types of valued resources (embeddedness of resources linked to the social position: the occupant of a position may change, but the resources are attached to the position) and that 2) are hierarchically related relative to authority (control of and access to resources), 3) share certain rules and procedures in the use of the resources, and 4) are entrusted to occupants (agents) who act on these rules and procedures. Four elements defining the social macrostructure as a system of coordination for the maintenance and/or acquisition of one or more types of valued resources for the collectivity. • B) The hierarchy in a social structure: the higher a position in the hierarchical structure, the better information it provides of the structure's resources; • C) The pyramidal shape of the hierarchical structure: the higher the level in the command chain, the fewer the number of positions and occupants; • D) Complex social structures and resource transactions: the principle of homophily ("like-me hypothesis"): "social interactions tend to take place among individuals with similar lifestyles and socioeconomic characteristics".

  11. Azione vs struttura • Risorse che sono radicate nella struttura sociale (Coleman: risorse socio-strutturali), che sono accessibili tramite reti e relazioni sociali (opportunità e vincoli: Elster) e della quali se ne può quindi far uso (azione individuale e collettiva: Weber) per perseguire i propri fini individuali e collettivi. • Il dibattito su azione vs struttura nel processo di capitalizzazione sociale, ovvero il processo mediante il quale le risorse strutturali si trasformano in capitale sociale. • La questione: la capitalizzazione sociale esprime un'azione finalizzata (purposive action: Granovetter, Burt, Lin) da parte dell'attore o riflette semplicemente l'opportunità strutturale (Bourdieu, Coleman, Putnam) a disposizione dell'attore?

  12. Theory of social capital (postulates) • 1. The structural postulate (pyramidal hierarchies): the higher the level in the hierarchy, the greater the concentration of valued resources, the fewer the number of positions, the greater the command of authority, and the smaller the number of occupants; • 2. The interactions postulate (the homophily principle): the greater the similarity of resources characteristics, the less efforts required in interaction; • 3. The network postulate: in social networks, directly or indirectly interacting actors carry varying types of resources (most of the resources are embedded in others...or are embedded in structural positions each actor occupies or is in contact with); • 4. The definition: these structurally embedded resources are social capital for the actors in the network; • 5. The action postulate: the actors are motivated to either maintain (expressive actions) or gain (instrumental actions) their resources in social actions - purposive actions. Expressive action is the primary form of action.

  13. Theory of social capital (propositions) • 1. The social capital: the success of action is positively associated with social capital; • 2. The strength of position: the better of position of origin, the more likely the actor will access and use better social capital; • 3. The strength of strong ties: the stronger the tie, the more likely the social capital accessed will positively affect the success of expressive action; • 4. The strength of weak ties: the weaker the tie, the more likely ego will have access to better social capital for instrumental action; • 5. The strength of location: the closer the individuals are to a bridge in a network, the better social capital they will access for instrumental action; • 6. The location by position: the strength of a location (in proximity to a bridge) for instrumental action is contingent on the resource differential across the bridge; • 7. The structural contingency: the networking (tie and location) effects are constrained by the hierarchical structure for actors located near or at the top or bottom of the hierarchy.

  14. Ronald BurtBrokerage and closure

  15. Informal relations and social capital • Social capital:the advantage created by a person's location in a structure of relationships. • Crescita di importanza delle (maggiore dipendenza dalle) relazioni informali e discrezionali dovuta all'indebolimento delle catene verticali delle relazioni di autorità (strutture a matrice che costringono a rapportarsi a livelli superiori multipli e/o alle pressioni orizzontali); lavoro sempre meno definito dai livelli superiori e sempre più negoziato tra colleghi che non hanno autorità l'uno sull'altro). • When authority is unclear, people turn to friends and colleagues for support. Accountability flows through the formal organisation of authority relations. All else flows through the informal - advice, coordination, cooperation, friendship, gossip, knowledge, trust. Formal relations are about who is to blame. Informal relations are about who gets it done. • Informal relations have always been with us. They have always mattered. What is new is the range of activities in which they matter, and the emerging clarity we have about how they create advantage for certain people at the expense of others.

  16. Il valore della posizione • Social capital explains how people do better because they are somehow better connected with other people. Certain people are connected to certain others, trusting certain others, obligated to support certain others, depending on exchange with certain others. • One's position in the structure of these exchanges can be an asset in its own right. That asset is social capital, in essence, a concept of location effects in differentiated markets. • Ripresa da Bourdieu (SC risorse derivanti dalla struttura sociale) e da Coleman (SC una funzione della struttura sociale che produce vantaggi) e da Putnam (SC come fiducia, norme e reti che migliorano l'efficienza della società in quanto facilitano l'azione di coordinamento. • Tutti e tre concordano sulla metafora del capitale sociale, secondo la quale la struttura sociale definisce un tipo di capitale che per individui o gruppi può creare un vantaggio nel perseguire i propri fini. • People and groups who do well are somehow better connected.

  17. Social focus • Il valore di una relazione non è definito nell'ambito della relazione (e neppure dal volume di relazioni...) ma dal contesto sociale in cui è inserita • Social focus: fattore di aggregazione delle persone in un'attività con il risultato (atteso o meno) di facilitare le relazioni tra le persone (Feld): omofilia (amici di scuola; occupazione; livello di reddito; regione geografica; attività economica; organizzazione; divisioni; prodotti o team). Anche tempo (stessi turni di lavoro...). Small world structure. • Le persone si specializzano nell'ambito del proprio cluster (a più alta densità di relazioni: tavole di densità; con ridondanza di informazioni) e si integrano grazie ai "ponti" tra i cluster.

  18. Structural holes • Gaps between clusters (fig. 1.1) are holes in the structure of information flow (non significa che le persone all'interno dei rispettivi gruppi non siano consapevoli dell'esistenza di altri gruppi, solo che sono concentrati sulle loro proprie attività e non possono dedicare attenzione a quelle degli altri gruppi) • Il valore potenziale dei buchi strutturali risiede nella loro capacità di separare le fonti non ridondanti di informazione, cioè le fontI che sono aggiuntive e non overlapping. • A bridge is a (strong or weak) relationship that spans a structural hole. • A working definition of structural hole: the relationship between two people is a hole-spanning bridge when there is no effective indirect connection between the people.

  19. Brokerage • Un buco strutturale costituisce un contesto di potenziale valore per l'azione; • Brokerage: the action of coordinating across the hole with bridges between people on the opposite sides of the hole; • Brokers: the network entrepreneurs, the people who build the bridges. • The social capital of structural holes comes from the opportunities that holes provide to broker the flow of information between people, and shape the projects that bring together people from opposite sides of the hole. • Letteratura: da Simmel (tertium gaudens) e Merton a Granovetter (legami deboli).

  20. Indici, criteri e misure • Criteri di network che definiscono un cluster sociale: coesione (un insieme di persone connesse quali un gruppo di progetto di una grande organizzazione); equivalenza strutturale (un gruppo di persone che hanno relazioni simili con gruppi esterni, quali una categoria funzionale in un'impresa o un'attività nell'economia). • Tavole di densità (fig. 1.1) • Network constraint (index C): misura di concentrazione che varia da 0 a100, ovvero quando tutto il tempo e le energie di network di una persona sono dedicate ad un solo contatto;

  21. Quattro fatti stilizzati • The first two facts describe the mechanism and returns to network brokerage, which is about the value of increasing variation in a group. • Informal relations form a small world of dense clusters separated by structural holes (fig. 1.1). People whose networks bridge the holes are brokers rewarded for their integrative work, rewarded in the sense of more positive individual and team evaluation, compensation higher tan peers, and faster promotions (fig. 1.8). • Stylized fact #1:brokers do better. La performance migliora grazie all'azione di brokeraggio, soprattutto ad alti livelli (cioè con minore network constraint). • Stylized fact #2: improved vision ("vision advantage") is the mechanism responsible for the returns to brokerage. (Le informazioni sono più omogenee tra i broker, che sono più orientati alla creatività e alla ricerca di soluzioni per implementare buone idee, fig. 2.3). (Creativity and learning). Idee contagiose (discussione critica; opinion leaders e brokerage) e adaptive implementation: social skills!).

  22. Quattro fatti stilizzati: network closure • The third and forth facts describe the mechanism and returns to network closure, which is about the value of decreasing variation in a group. • Social capital defined by mixtures of brokerage and closure. • Stylized fact #3: performance is highest for closure within a group combined with brokerage beyond the group. • Fiducia necessaria per realizzare il valore relativo al ponte creato sul buco strutturale e la chiusura del network necessaria per assicurare tale fiducia. "The more closed the network, the more likely that misbehavior will be detected and punished." • Closure: porre una persona sotto controllo per ridurre il rischio fiducia. Reputation è l'ingrediente attivo di tale controllo.

  23. Quattro fatti stilizzati: reputazione • Reputations are defined by people monitoring and discussing individual behaviour, and by so doing, mutual friends and colleagues constitute an adaptive control on behaviour. • Meccanismo della reputazione: mediante il quale la chiusura abbassa il rischio fiducia. Dove la fiducia è un vantaggio, la chiusura è capitale sociale. • Bandwidth hypothesis: extends reputations to the surrounding network of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Two people embedded in a network of interconnected mutual friends and colleagues are more likely to trust one another. • Echo hypothesis: gossip responsible for echo effects, shared stories, reputation entrepreneurs, (etiquette), conversation tone, reinforced predispositions. A more insidious form of control, making closure more powerful (teorema di Thomas: "if men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences"), Merton: self-fulfilling prophecy. • stylized fact #4: closure's reputation mechanism reinforces the status quo. Closure reinforces network structure, amplifying relations to extremes of trust and distrust, and slowing decay in new relations.

  24. Lin, Fu, Chen: “Social capital in comparative perspective” (2014) • Social capital as a significant and global research enterprise in social science; • Social capital: resourcesembeddedin social relations and social networks; • Theory of social capital: focuses on the access to and mobilization of resources embedded in social relations and social networks; • Research to explore: factors affecting access and mobilization; development of standardized measurements for access (the name or position generator techniques) and mobilization (contact status); their differential consequences; • Comparative perspective: macroinstitutional dynamics affecting the access and mobilization of resources embedded in social networks and social relations (political economic regimes: command versus market; cultural factors: family centrality versus diverse social ties); and overtime.

  25. Lin, Lee, Ao: “Contact Status and Finding a Job. Validation and Extension” (2014) • The long tradition of research on the use of social relations and resources embedded in social relations (social capital) in the labor market (Granovetter) • A major focus has been the utility of “contacts” in job searches: evidence over four decades, two general findings: • The mere use of contacts in the job search does not show any advantage in job attainment (e.g, occupational status or income); • Among those who use contacts, contact status as a measure of social capital has consistently shown some advantage in obtaining better jobs, after controlling for education and other relevant demographic variables. Contact status maybe spurious in its effect in part because of occupational homophily (similarity of occupations between the job seeker and the contact) Theoretically, the matching should be between the contact’s occupation and the job seeker’s previous occupation

  26. Ao: “Homophily and Heterophily in the Position-Generated Networks in the U:S. and China” (2014) • The strength of tendencies toward homophily or inbreeding for the formation of in-group ties; • The extent of heterophily or social distance differentiation for the formation of out-group ties; • Tarde: “Social relations, I repeat, are much closer between individuals who resemble each other in occupation and education” (1903); • Lazarsfeldand Merton: “a tendency for friendships to form between those who differ in some designed respect” (1954). Two types of homophily: • Status homophily: major socio-demographic dimensions (ascribed characteristics: race/ethnicity, sex, age; acquired characteristics: religion, education, occupation or behavior patterns) • Values homophily: the wide variety of internal states presumed to shape our orientation toward future behavior. • Degree of homophily: varies different characteristics • Extent of homophily: varies for each respondent

  27. Ao: “Homophily and Heterophily in the Position-Generated Networks in the U:S. and China” (2014) • The task of identifying networks members is not as simple as asking respondents, “Who do you know?” • The existing approaches impose different constraints on the number of ties, content of ties, intimacy with ties, geographical location and time frame in which ties are evocated. • Among the exiting techniques, two have been consistently constructed and extensively used in past studies: the name-generator and the position-generator techniques; • To date, no studies have directly examined the patterns of homophily and heterophily using position-generated network data.

  28. The namegenerator technique • asking the respondent to list his or her network members by posing one or more questions; • 1985 GSS (General Social Survey): “From time to time, most people discuss important matters with other people. Looking back over the last six months – who are the people with whom you discussed matters important to you? Just tell me their first name or initials” (Marsden, 1987, 1988). • Then a series of questions followed to acquire more specific information about the first five names: sex, race/ethnicity, education, age, religious preference, relationships type, relationship duration and closeness.

  29. The position generator technique • Asking each respondent: “Do you know anyone among your relatives, friends, or acquaintances that has one of the following jobs? (‘Knowing’ means that you and the person can recognize and greet each other. If you know several person that have a particular job, please name the person that comes to mind first)” (Lin and Dumin, 1986; Lin, Fu and Hsung, 2001). • A certain number of jobsthen followed (from a full list of all occupations) • If the respondent knows someone with a particular position, a series of follow-up questions are asked concerning the characteristics of the position occupant (e.g., sex, race/ethnicity) and the relationship between the respondent and the position occupant (e.g., how long they knew each other and the closeness of the relationship). • The PG technique adds the resource element into the instrument, not just the relationship; • available social resources are directly inferred by the prestige or class location of the occupations that are sampled in the instrument; • access to positions with higher prestige scores or higher class location means better and more valuable resources

  30. The differences between the two network data generators (NG versus PG): homophily and heterophily. • The weakness of the NG lies in that it ignores to a large extent the heterophily principle. The network data from the NG tend to reflect stronger ties, stronger role relations and geographically limited ties: a biased ample of one’s actual social network (mostly homophilous ties: friends and relatives); a limited number of names generated (3-5); limited range and scope; • The PG is designed to take into account both the homophily and heterophily principles. The network data collected from the PGtend to reflect a more diverse social ties in terms of tie strength, role relations and number of ties, composed of both homophilous (friends and relatives) and heterophilousties (friends of friends, acquaintances), thus a representative sample of one’s actual social network. • In sum, the NG network data measure one’s core network; the PG network data measure one’s extended network.