Social Isolation Impact on Social Capital
Social capital is defined as the “features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit” (Putnam, 9), which supposedly creates positive effects for the society. If the social networks in the society are strengthen, the bonds maximize their security since there are strong connections, including family bonds, neighborhood bonds, and friends that could help each other in term of employment search, housing, education. On the other hand, social isolation may also be caused by the development of telecommunication and transportations. This creates an obstacles to create a consistent face-to-face network. In their articles, Rankin and Quane argue the relationship between social isolation, which states the lack of connection with others in the society, and poverty rates and socioeconomic status. They find the fact that “families are more likely to participate when they reside in the poorest neighborhoods” (Rankin, Quane, 6). On the other hand, Putnam researches about the erosion of social capital which could lead to social isolation. Despite the difference in outcome and hypothesis of their research studies, Rankin and Quane’s research show the limit of Putnam’s finding.
Firstly, Rankin and Quane find a surprising study result that there is high level of engagement with the community among poorer neighborhoods. Since their resources are limited, poorer people turn to neighborhood community for help. Furthermore, poor people need connections in order to survive, while rich people do not care because they are “in the degree of affluence which reduces aid needed from other” (Coleman, 17). This certain behavior of t...
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...s states that, “The closer and stronger our tie with someone, the broader the scope of their support for us and the greater the likelihood that they will provide major help in a crisis” (McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brashears, 1).
In conclusion, Rankin and Quane’s findings are conflicted with Putnam’s finding. Rankin and Quane investigate social capital in broader terms which include class, educational level, socioeconomic status. On the other hand, Putnam only considers the organizations which do not differentiate personal status in terms of socioeconomic class. Furthermore, social isolation can be seen in anywhere not only in “ “new mass membership organization” (Putnam, 11). People also need to explore “network composition” (Rankin, Quane, 5) to see where it actually occurs. Therefore, the surprising finding by Rankin and Quane show the limits of Putnam’s research.
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