Internet can enhance social capital among its users?

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Social capital is not a new concept. It can be referred to as 'the extent, nature and quality of social ties that individuals or communities can mobilize in conducting their affairs'. (Zinnbauer, 2007:9). There are two complementary uses of social capital which are social contact and civic engagement. Network capital refers to the relations an individual has with their friends, relatives, neighbours and work colleagues; and participatory capital refers to engaging in politics and voluntary work and activities within the individual's own community (Wellman and Quan-Haase, 2001). The internet can be understood as a universal system of networks that serves millions of people every day. This essay will look at different theorists and their way of explaining social capital and also asses how an individual's social capital can be increased and improved through the internet. Social capital has a much broader understanding than has been portrayed so far. Many different theorists define social capital in a different way. There are three main ones, one of them is Coleman. Coleman (1988) defines social capital as 'The resources accumulated through the relationships among people'. He explains it as something that is made up of various different entities, therefore it can be understood as a function. It is seen as something productive and as a way of meeting specific needs and wants which would be impossible to achieve without it. He believes that, compared to other types of capital, social capital is an inseparable part in the structure of relations between and among individuals and among (Coleman, 1988). He also argues that social capital appears due to change in the relation an individual has with another who can provide someth... ... middle of paper ... ...pital', American Journal of Sociology, 94(), pp. 95-120. Josh Pasek, Eian More and Daniel Romer (2009) 'Online Social Networking Meets Offline Social Capital', Realizing the Social Internet?, 6(3), pp. 2-16. Larissa Larsen, Sharon L. Harlan, Bob Bolin, Edward J. Hackett, Diane Hope, Andrew Kirby, Amy Nelson, Tom R. Rex, and Shaphard Wolf (2004) 'Understanding the Relationship between Social Capital and Civic Action', Bonding and Bridging, 24(), pp. 64-77. Martti Siisiäinen (2000) Two Concepts of Social Capital: Bourdieu vs. Putnam , University of Jyväskylä : Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy . Pierre Bourdieu (1986) The Forms of Capital, New York, Greenwood: J. Richardson (Ed.) Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education. Robert Putnam (2000) Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, New York: Simon & Schuster.

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