The volume is divided into three parts. The first segment clarifies social capital as a concept and explores its theoretical and operational bases. Additional segments provide brief accounts that place the development of social capital in the context of the family of capital theorists, and identify some critical but controversial perspectives and statements regarding social capital in the literature. The editors then make the argument for the network perspective, why and how such a perspective can clarify controversies and advance our understanding of a whole range of instrumental and expressive outcomes.
Social Capital further provides a forum for ongoing research programs initiated by social scientists working at the crossroads of formal theory and new methods. These scholars and programs share certain understandings and approaches in their analyses of social capital. They argue that social networks are the foundation of social capital. Social networks simultaneously capture individuals and social structure, thus serving as a vital conceptual link between actions and structural constraints, between micro- and macro-level analyses, and between relational and collective dynamic processes. They are further cognizant of the dual significance of the "structural" features of the social networks and the "resources" embedded in the networks as defining elements of social capital.
Nan Lin is professor of sociology, Duke University.
Karen Cook is Ray Lyman Wilber Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Stanford University.
Ronald S. Burt is Hobart W. Williams Professor of Sociology and Strategy, University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.
A unique combination of formal model building and empirical methodology is used to derive and test hypotheses about the effects of networks on trust. The models combine elements from game theory, which is mainly used in economics, and social network analysis, which is mainly used in sociology.
The hypotheses are tested (1) by analyzing contracts in information technology transactions from a survey on small and medium-sized enterprises and (2) by studying judgments of subjects in a vignette experiment related to hypothetical transactions with a used-car dealer.
As a result, the book can be a guide for graduate students who want to develop their skills in building micro-macro models. In addition, the book provides specialists of the different substantive research areas with up-to-date new developments in their research area.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Journal of Mathematical Sociology.