The book provides key definitions of social capital, describing its functionality, the surrounding theoretical issues, and its relationship with social structure. Examining capital in its various forms, Bankston discusses the complications of defining social relationships in a financial resource analogy as investments in future outcomes, and proposes an alternative of an original structural model that approaches social capital as a process. Chapters then explore the major applications of social capital theory: to families, communities and education; to formal organizations and informal networks; to class, race, ethnicity and inequality; and to the nation-state.
This cutting-edge book is invaluable in clarifying ambiguities surrounding the concept of social capital to students and scholars of the social sciences. Its practical applications will also prove useful to policy makers and public policy institutes.
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