Also follow us @
http://blogging.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/mcrsociology/
LECTURE 3.
SOCIAL CAPITAL, OCCUPATIONAL
STRUCTURE AND STRATIFICATION
Last week: focus on the loss/survival/modification of communitarian relationships. Personal
networks VS individualization ...
Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002)
French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.
In his view, social capital is an individ...
Combined with economic and cultural capital it is used by élites to mark symbolic boundaries
of class distinction.
Implici...
However, somewhere else he takes distances from social network analysis by criticizing its
focus on concrete relationships...
James Coleman (1926-1995)
American sociologist, theorist and empirical
researcher, based chiefly at the University of Chic...
These positive assets are better achieved when people relate to each other in closed
networks, and counterbalance the comp...
Robert David Putnam (1941-)
Political scientist at the Harvard University
Putnam’s idea of social capital bears some simil...
The role of bonding and bridging ties is to favour the emergence of trust and collective
norms within primary groups as we...
THE NETWORK PERSPECTIVE
The resource approach in the study of social capital focuses on the returns that individuals
obtai...
Lin and Dumin (1986): Position generator, a data collection tool designed by to specifically
examine access to occupations...
Van der Gaag and Snijders (2003): Resource generator
Similar to the position generator, the resource generator measures th...
Lin (1999): relationships between embedded resources in social networks and socioeconomic
attainment.
Status attainment ca...
Theory
Image of the macro-social structure consisting of positions ranked according to certain
normatively valued resource...
Research on the relationships between social resources and status attainment examines two
processes

Access to social capi...
Mobilized social capital
Mark Granovetter (1974): interviewed 282 professional and managerial men in
Newton, Massachusetts...
Studies replicated all across the world
Germany
Netherlands
Italy
Spain
Taiwan
Singapore
A major extension of the research...
Smith S. S. (2005) “Don’t put my name on it”: Social Capital Activation and Job‐Finding
Assistance among the Black Urban P...
In-depth interviews and survey data of 105 low-income African-Americans from one
Midwestern city:
Those in possession of j...
MULTILEVEL FRAMEWORK OF SOCIAL CAPITAL

Individual-Level Properties
Reputation: social capital activation is at least in p...
Status: Social capital activation is likely also contingent on the status of both job contacts
and job seekers. According ...
Dyadic Properties
Strength of tie: Independent of the status and reputations that individuals have developed
outside of th...
Properties of the Network: Social Closure
In addition to properties of the individual and the dyad, social capital activat...
Properties of the Community: Concentrated Disadvantage
Social capital activation is also conditioned upon structural prope...
Don’t forget the Non-Assessed Essay Plan:

You must submit a (typewritten) non-assessed essay plan of
maximum 2 pages, out...
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Lecture 3

  1. 1. Also follow us @ http://blogging.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/mcrsociology/
  2. 2. LECTURE 3. SOCIAL CAPITAL, OCCUPATIONAL STRUCTURE AND STRATIFICATION
  3. 3. Last week: focus on the loss/survival/modification of communitarian relationships. Personal networks VS individualization thesis. Another stream of studies that investigate the importance of social relation if the study of social capital: interest in measuring the advantages, and sometimes the disadvantages, that social capital provides Classic authors: Bourdieu, Coleman, Putnam The theory of social capital assumes a link between the micro level of individual experience and the macro level of institutional organization (Field 2003). Focus on to the micro texture of social interactions
  4. 4. Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002) French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher. In his view, social capital is an individual asset that can be strategically converted into other forms of capitals, namely economic and cultural. It specifically consists in “the sum of the resources, actual or virtual, that accrues to an individual or group by virtue of possessing a durable network of more or less institutionalised relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition” (Bourdieu 1992: 119). MAIN ELEMENTS: CONNECTIONS AND RESOURCES Measured as: - the importance of having a famous surname recognised by upper classes as a mark of belonging - the affiliation to some elitist associations, like golf clubs or not for profit foundations.
  5. 5. Combined with economic and cultural capital it is used by élites to mark symbolic boundaries of class distinction. Implicit in Bourdieu definition there is a conflicting view of society, where different social groups struggle against each other to define boundaries and mark segregations. Social capital reveals the dynamics of power relations in social life. Historical roots of the theory of conflict : Marx, Weber, Simmel, Chicago School, Frankfurt school) The idea of network is suggested, in terms of the establishment of durable relationships with influential others, but it is used by Bourdieu in a metaphorical way, as he does not adopt any structural measurement of these relationships. “The volume of the social capital possessed by a given agent thus depends on the size of the network of connections he can effectively mobilize and the volume of the capital (economic, cultural or symbolic) possessed in his own right by each of those to whom he is connected” (Bourdieu 1986: 249).
  6. 6. However, somewhere else he takes distances from social network analysis by criticizing its focus on concrete relationships. Social network analysis is accused to neglect the underlying forces (objective relations) which are considered the source of such concrete relationships. In Bourdieu’s view, a theoretical description of social organization can be only achieved by abstracting from the individual features (in terms of combinations of capitals required to occupy a structural position) to a macro perspective where those features are weighted against each other. By observing the theoretical structure of relations between positions social scientists can identify the “trans-historical invariants, or sets of relations between structures that persist within a clearly circumscribed but relatively long historical period” (Bourdieu 1992: 78)
  7. 7. James Coleman (1926-1995) American sociologist, theorist and empirical researcher, based chiefly at the University of Chicago Coleman defines social capital as the by-product of relationships and measures it according to its function. “Social capital *…+ is not a single entity but a variety of different entities having two characteristics in common: they all consist of some aspects of social structure, and they facilitate certain actions of individuals who are within the structure. *…+ social capital is productive, making possible the achievement of certain ends that would not be attainable in its absence” (Coleman 1990: 302). Coleman evaluates social relationships as means to establish reciprocal commitment and to favour the emergence of collective norms, shared values and mutual trust. VS theory of conflict and within the tradition of functionalism, which views societies as systems which parts depend on each other and function together toward equilibrium. Historical roots: Durkheim, Parsons, Merton
  8. 8. These positive assets are better achieved when people relate to each other in closed networks, and counterbalance the competitive utilitarian nature of human behaviour. Social capital is the theoretical instrument that allows explaining collaborative behaviours within the framework of rational choice theory, otherwise limited by the instrumental and egoistic view of human actions. Individuals interact with others to gain personal advantages in most of their formal relationships; in primary groups instead, like family or close friends, they develop collaborative behaviours which are the unintentional by-product of closed networks and strong ties. Again, social networks and ties are not structurally measured, but they are only used metaphorically: primary groups like family or friends are expected to be structured in highly cohesive networks, and relationships are supposed to be strong, but they are not effectively measured in terms of density or strength.
  9. 9. Robert David Putnam (1941-) Political scientist at the Harvard University Putnam’s idea of social capital bears some similarities to the one of Coleman’s in that both authors see it as emerging from the associative life. But while in Coleman’s view social capital lies exclusively in strong, reciprocal and intimate relationships, Putnam enlarge this view by looking at several loci of interactions, from informal groups like family and friends, to the formal participation to associations, where individuals have the opportunity of relating to strangers. He distinguishes between - Bonding social capital, that emerges from relationships to similar alters. Examples of bonding social capital include ethnic fraternal organizations, church-based women’s reading groups, and fashionable country clubs - Bridging social capital, which connects to people across diverse social cleavages. Examples include civil rights movements, many youth service groups, and ecumenical religious organizations (Putnam 2000: 22).
  10. 10. The role of bonding and bridging ties is to favour the emergence of trust and collective norms within primary groups as well as across different groups, which then improve the efficiency of society. By looking at the overall distribution of these different types of relationships in the US, Putnam pessimistically concludes that social capital is declining, and forecast negative consequences for the endurance of the social fabric. CRITICS: Putnam measures social capital by using 14 different indicators, from participation to associations, to newspaper readers and voting behaviours. 1. If these indicators were all measuring social capital, they should be correlated. Putnam: although the measures are not always correlated, all of them, across several datasets, have been declining since the 60s, indicating that if we may not be able to measure social capital directly, we can still observe the effects of its decline. 2. The distinction between bonding and bridging capital, based on the differentiation of people they connect, is vague: the assumption that youth service groups include people from cleavage more diverse that women’s reading groups is not justified. 3. Similarly to Bourdieu and Coleman, Putnam uses the concept of network in a metaphorical way, without providing any structural measurement of the density, closeness, durability and robustness of bonding and bridging ties.
  11. 11. THE NETWORK PERSPECTIVE The resource approach in the study of social capital focuses on the returns that individuals obtain through their relationships to others. The work of Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam can be read in those terms, as the authors investigate the collective assets that social groups can count on and that is provided by their personal connections. But as Lin (1999) highlights, such authors focus on the advantages that social capital provides to collectivities, being them social classes for Bourdieu, communities for Coleman, and civic society for Putnam. In network studies instead, the attention is on the individuals: social capital is not vaguely measured via multiple and aggregate indicators, but it is operationalized in terms of the effective ties that people interlace, and the potential access to resources that these ties provide.
  12. 12. Lin and Dumin (1986): Position generator, a data collection tool designed by to specifically examine access to occupations through social ties. The instrument looks like a normal survey questionnaire: from a list of 20 occupations, respondents are asked to identify whether any of their relatives, friends, or acquaintances had such occupations. The theoretical framework out of which the position generator is developed bares many resemblances with Bourdieu’s theory, insomuch as it assumes a pyramidal and hierarchical social structure, where the higher the position in the structure, the fewer the occupants. But while in Bourdieu positions in the social structure are defined in terms of the combinations of capitals required to occupy them, the position generator operationalize them as in occupations’ rank. It also assumes that weak ties are important for low status people, while strong ties are better for high status people, because the latter, being already at the top of the pyramid, cannot establish high upward reaching ties.
  13. 13. Van der Gaag and Snijders (2003): Resource generator Similar to the position generator, the resource generator measures the potential access to social resources instead of their effective mobilization, and their distribution across a population; but unlike the position generator resource generator investigates how social capital concretely help people to attain their goals, and which part of it is responsible of which effect. It assumes that social capital is a multiplex concept, similarly to Putnam. But Putnam suggests that because of its multiplex nature, social capital can only be indirectly observed by the common tendency of its indicators to collectively increase or decline. In the resource generator instead the empirical measurement of social capital is obtained by correlating the measured items. Implicit in this aggregation is that “positive correlations between resource items in some group of items indicate that individuals who access one of these items also have a high probability of accessing other items from that group” Eg: in the Netherlands four distinctive domains: prestige and education related social capital, entrepreneurial social capital, skills social capital, and personal support social capital.
  14. 14. Lin (1999): relationships between embedded resources in social networks and socioeconomic attainment. Status attainment can be understood as a process by which individuals mobilize and invest resources for returns in socioeconomic standings. Socioeconomic standings refer to valued resources attached to occupied positions. These resources can be classified into two types: • Personal resources possessed by the individual who can use and dispose them with freedom and without much concern for compensation. • Social resources are resources accessible through one's direct and indirect ties. The access to and use of these resources are temporary and borrowed. For example, a friend's occupational or authority position. The friend may use his/her position or network to help ego to find a job. These resources are "borrowed" and useful to achieve ego's certain goal, but they remain the property of the friend or his/her friends.
  15. 15. Theory Image of the macro-social structure consisting of positions ranked according to certain normatively valued resources such as wealth, status, and power. This structure has a pyramidal shape in terms of accessibility and control of such resources: The higher the position, the fewer the occupants; and the higher the position, the better the view it has of the structure (especially down below). (a) the social resources proposition: social resources (e.g., resources accessed in social networks) exert effect on the outcome of an instrumental action (e.g., attained status) (b) The strength of position proposition: social resources, in turn, are affected by the original position of ego (as represented by parental resources or previous resources) (c) the strength of ties proposition: that social resources are also affected by the use of weaker rather than stronger ties Convergence of social resources theory and social capital theory: it focuses on the instrumental utility of resources.
  16. 16. Research on the relationships between social resources and status attainment examines two processes Access to social capital-resources accessed in ego's general social networks. In this process, human capital (education, experiences), initial positions (parental or prior job statuses), and ego's social ties (e.g., extensity of ties) are hypothesized to determine the extent of resources ego can access through such connections (network resources). Measured by name generators, position generators and resource generators (see before) Mobilization of social capital in the process of status attainment. The use of social contact and the resources provided by the contact in the job-search process. It is hypothesized that contact status, along with education and initial positions, will exert a significant and important effect on attained statuses of the job obtained. Strength of ties may be measured either with a perceived strength (e.g., intimacy of relationship) or a role category (e.g., kin, friends, and acquaintances).
  17. 17. Mobilized social capital Mark Granovetter (1974): interviewed 282 professional and managerial men in Newton, Massachusetts. The data suggested that those who used interpersonal channels seemed to land more satisfactory and better (e.g., higher income) jobs. Theory of weak ties: weaker ties tend to form bridges that link individuals to other social circles for information not likely to be available in their own circles, and such information should be useful to the individuals Lin and his associates (Lin et al 1981, Lin et al 1981): Data from a representative community sample in metropolitan Albany, New York, of more than 400 employed males. The study confirmed that contact status exerted effects on attained status, beyond and after accounting for parental status and education effects. It also confirmed that contact status was affected positively by father's status and negatively by the strength of ties between ego and contact. Ensel (1979) extended the investigation to both men and women in a study of employed adults in the state of New York. While confirming that contact status significantly affected attained status, he found that male seekers were much more likely to reach higher-status contacts than were females. Further, women were more likely to use female contacts in job searches while males overwhelmingly used male contacts. When women did use male contacts, their disadvantage in reaching higher-status contacts as compared to men was significantly reduced.
  18. 18. Studies replicated all across the world Germany Netherlands Italy Spain Taiwan Singapore A major extension of the research paradigm has examined the propositions in different political economies, such as state socialism. China Next step: examine accessed and mobilized social capital in a single study. To what extent accessed social capital facilitates and mobilizes social capital: that is, whether having more accessed social capital increases the likelihood of mobilizing better social capitalNot all persons accessed with rich social capital are expected to take advantage or be able to mobilize social capital for the purpose of obtaining better socioeconomic status. An element of action and choice should also be significant. The East Germany study (Volker & Flap 1996) measured both accessed and mobilized social capital. It was found that the highest occupation prestige accessed in the position generator methodology was significantly and positively related to the status of the contact person used in the 1989 job search.
  19. 19. Smith S. S. (2005) “Don’t put my name on it”: Social Capital Activation and Job‐Finding Assistance among the Black Urban Poor. American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 111, No. 1, pp. 1-57 Social isolation from mainstream ties and institutions is the basis upon which the black urban poor are presumed to lack social capital that facilitates job finding it is argued that absent access to personal Recent evidence suggests, however, that their social isolation has been exaggerated. These studies provide convincing evidence that the networks of the black urban poor are larger, more diverse and wide ranging, and much less detached from the mainstream than conventional wisdom indicates If social isolation has been overestimated, what is the source of the black urban poor’s social capital deficiency? Qualitative research suggests that even when connected to ties who can provide job information and influence, the black urban poor often have difficulty mobilizing these ties for job-finding assistance
  20. 20. In-depth interviews and survey data of 105 low-income African-Americans from one Midwestern city: Those in possession of job information and influence overwhelmingly approached jobfinding assistance with great skepticism and distrust. Over 80% of respondents in the sample expressed concern that job seekers in their networks were too unmotivated to accept assistance, required great expenditures of time and emotional energy, or acted too irresponsibly on the job, thereby jeopardizing contacts’ own reputations in the eyes of employers and negatively affecting their already-tenuous labor market prospects. Findings indicate that social capital deficiencies of the black urban poor may have less to do with deficiencies in access to mainstream ties than previously thought. Instead, the inefficaciousness of job referral networks appears to have more to do with functional deficiencies—the disinclination of potential job contacts to assist when given the opportunity to do so, not because they lack information or the ability to influence hires, but because they perceive pervasive untrustworthiness among their job-seeking ties and choose not to assist.
  21. 21. MULTILEVEL FRAMEWORK OF SOCIAL CAPITAL Individual-Level Properties Reputation: social capital activation is at least in part facilitated by attributes of the individuals involved in the potential exchange. Specifically, given competing alternatives— whether or not to assist and with whom to do so—reputation is critical for determining action (Granovetter 1985). I have a little cousin. She’s 15 or 16 years old, and when I was working for the university—you know, they have the students that do work, a couple of hours for lunch and a couple of hours for dinner—and I know she’s a good worker, so I told her that they were hiring, and I talked to my supervisor, and he told me to tell her to come in, and she filled out the application, and she started working that day. She was working at [a fastfood chain], but she had been at [the fast-food chain] for a long time, so I knew that she would work, especially by her being young. I knew she would go to work every day, and she gets upset when she can’t be on time, because her mom’s got problems. So, I told him about her, because I knew she was somebody who was going to be there.
  22. 22. Status: Social capital activation is likely also contingent on the status of both job contacts and job seekers. According to Gould, status is “the prestige accorded to individuals because of the abstract positions they occupy rather than because of immediately observable behavior” Whereas reputation is a signal of quality and an indication of future behavior that is based largely on prior actions and behaviors, status is a signal of quality and an indication of future behavior that is based largely on the positions that occupants hold. Terrance Blackburn, a 22-year-old high school graduate, refuses to vouch for job seekers after getting burned by several referrals, a pattern that ruined his reputation in the eyes of his employer. When justifying why he would not help a previous referral again, he explained, “Because I got a bad reputation from that guy. You know, my manager said, ‘You bringing me all these people and they don’t want to work.’ So, no, I wouldn’t stick my neck out there. I’m going to get my head chopped off”
  23. 23. Dyadic Properties Strength of tie: Independent of the status and reputations that individuals have developed outside of the context of the relationship, trust and trustworthiness can develop between potential exchange partners in such a way that facilitates instrumental aid I helped [my best friend] get a job through [a health care center] I used to work. She was not too familiar with more technical medical things, far as personal life care. Like she is not comfortable with bathing a person’s private areas and things of that nature, so they try to get her things that didn’t require that. But at times some of her assignments required that she bathe this person or clean their ostomy bags, and things of that nature. She’ll call me. For example, we are going to go out for the evening or whatever, and she had to do a client, and she told me who it was, and I already done that client, and I knew what this entailed. So, what I did, I said, “I will meet you over there, and I will give her a bath and shower, you can cook and we’ll be out of there in half the time.” I helped in that manner.
  24. 24. Properties of the Network: Social Closure In addition to properties of the individual and the dyad, social capital activation is also theorized to be affected by properties of the network. Specifically, Coleman (1988, 1990) proposed that actors are not likely to activate social capital unless embedded in networks characterized by social closure. Ebeddedness in networks characterized by social closure provides actors with community-backed assurances that potential exchange partners will honor obligations or face appropriate sanctions, such as shunning or social exclusion. Sally Lowe, a 24-year-old high school dropout and single mother of a toddler, was very concerned about job seekers’ reputations, especially after having been burned by a previous referral, the sister of her son’s father. After this experience, she reported, “I’m still going to help people, [but] I’ll get into your background a little more and all that. Just talk, openly talk to them, and open the conversation, you know. Talk about myself, and hey, if you got something similar to it, open your mouth and let me know. Let me know what’s going on with you, because I’d rather know if you’re my friend, or you’re my buddy, I’d rather know how your life was and how your life is now, than to be trying to go and guess, you know. What this pattern indicates is that contacts are largely determining the trustworthiness of others in isolation, to a great extent, outside of the context of a vibrant or intricate information network. What rarely showed up in these data were references to knowing or determining others’ reputations by chatting, gossiping, or sharing information with others in their network or community. Instead, communication most often occurred within the dyad.
  25. 25. Properties of the Community: Concentrated Disadvantage Social capital activation is also conditioned upon structural properties of communities, specifically the community’s SES, the extent of its ethnic heterogeneity, and the amount of residential mobility into and out of its borders. All three structural factors are theorized to affect both the density of network relations— the extent to which networks can be characterized as closed—and the links between local institutions within communities.
  26. 26. Don’t forget the Non-Assessed Essay Plan: You must submit a (typewritten) non-assessed essay plan of maximum 2 pages, outlining what your key argument will be and how you intend to structure it, as well as the theorists you intend to discuss, and an indication of the readings you will base this essay on. This essay plan must be handed in during the lecture on 25th February 2014 (week 5, 2 weeks time). Essays’ topics are in the course outline
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