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Background[ edit ] The term social capital was in intermittent use from aboutbefore becoming widely used in the late s. He observed that Americans were prone to meeting at as many gatherings as possible to discuss all possible issues of state, economics, or the world that could be witnessed.
The high levels of transparency caused greater participation from the people and thus allowed for democracy to work better. The French writer highlighted also that the level of social participation social capital in American society was directly linked to the equality of conditions Ferragina, ; ; I do not refer to real estate, or to personal property or to cold cash, but rather to that in life which tends to make these tangible substances count for most in the daily lives of people, namely, goodwill, fellowship, mutual sympathy and social intercourse among a group of individuals and families who make up a social unit… If he may come into contact with his neighbour, and they with other neighbours, there will be an accumulation of social capital, which may immediately satisfy his social needs and which may bear a social potentiality sufficient to the substantial improvement of living conditions in the whole community.
The community as a whole will benefit by the cooperation of all its parts, while the individual will find in his associations the advantages of the help, the sympathy, and the fellowship of his neighbours pp.
John Dewey used the term in his monograph entitled "School and Society" inbut he offered no definition of it. Jane Jacobs used the term early in the s. Although she did not explicitly define the term social capital, her usage referred to the value of networks. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu used the term in in his Outline of a Theory of Practice,  and clarified the term some years later in contrast to culturaleconomicand symbolic capital.
The concept that underlies social capital has a much longer history; thinkers exploring the relation between associational life and democracy were using similar concepts regularly by the 19th century, drawing on the work of earlier writers such as James Madison The Federalist Papers and Alexis de Tocqueville Democracy in America to integrate concepts of social cohesion and connectedness into the pluralist tradition in American political science.
John Dewey may have made the first direct mainstream use of social capital in The School and Society inthough he did not offer a definition. The power of community governance has been stressed by many philosophers from antiquity to the 18th century, from Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas and Edmund Burke Bowles and Gintis, Such a set of theories became dominant in the last centuries, but many thinkers questioned the complicated relationship between modern society and the importance of old institutions, in particular family and traditional communities Ferragina, They observed a breakdown of traditional bonds and the progressive development of anomie and alienation in society Wilmott, In the words of Stein The appearance of the modern social capital conceptualization is a new way to look at this debate, keeping together the importance of community to build generalized trust and the same time, the importance of individual free choice, in order to create a more cohesive society Ferragina, ;  Ferragina, .
It is for this reason that social capital generated so much interest in the academic and political world Rose, Robert Putnam has used the concept in a much more positive light: Mahyar Arefi  identifies consensus building as a direct positive indicator of social capital.
Consensus implies "shared interest" and agreement among various actors and stakeholders to induce collective action. Collective action is thus an indicator of increased social capital. Edwards and Foley, as editors of a special edition of the American Behavioural Scientist on "Social Capital, Civil Society and Contemporary Democracy", raised two key issues in the study of social capital.Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years.
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