• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Dark Side of Social Capital

Extracts from this document...


Civic Networks and Social Capital The Dark Side of Social Capital Spring 2008 Introduction The concept of social capital has merely been accounted as positive since it "makes us smarter, healthier, safer, richer, and better able to govern a just and stable democracy (Putnam 2000: 290). Those who reckon only the bright side of social capital, omit its downsides. This paper focuses on the dark side of social capital, and more precisely tries to answer the question: "In which measure does the dark side of social capital affect civil society?" In order to answer my research question, I will start by defining social capital, keeping in mind that there is no clear consensus in conceptualizing it. Furthermore, I will have a closer look to the backwards of social capital. Even if the components of social capital are beneficial for the individuals or groups, if misused, they can bring disorders in the social order. Throughout the end of the essay I will try to exemplify these disorders with empirical studies taken from the literature. Nevertheless, by providing the reader with various pragmatic findings I aim to prove whether the dark side of social capital has an effect on the general public or not. To conclude with, I will express my opinion upon the existing measurements of the harmful side of social capital and I will give a negative or positive answer to the main question of this paper. Social Capital as a concept Social capital is a concept that has generated various interpretations. ...read more.


Furthermore, inside a closed group, one's dissent from the general will may have repercussions for the member. Support for some members of an organization (close friends or family) can put pressure on a member. Extending to the business level, support for members of the group can lead to a scarcity in resources. Therefore, a misuse of social capital can somehow restrict freedom and put constraints on a group's members. Consequently, misusing social capital generates its dark side which has repercussions for the society, as we will see in the following paragraph. The negative effects of social capital on civil society As Adler and Kwon (2000) state "social capital sometimes can be profoundly dysfunctional and counter-productive" (p.106). However, how much does the dark side of social capital affect civil society and how its effects can be measured are some questions on which not many scholars harped. An interesting research is provided by Gabbay and Zuckerman (1998), who "demonstrate that corporate research and development (R&D) scientists generally have greater expectations of future mobility when their work relations exhibit low contact density" (p.191). They claim that in organizations where a high flow of information is needed, if more "brokerage" is involved, innovation and creativity will be chained. To prove their hypothesis, they first rely on three theoretical frameworks-contingency and resource dependency theory, technological information communication and structural holes theory. Practically, scientific researchers in 223 R&D laboratories of 29 major American corporations in 8 industries are subjected to a survey conducted in 1985-1986. The survey pointed out features about the scientists' "experiences and orientation to work". ...read more.


When testing their hypotheses, the authors encountered measurement problems which were an impediment in coming to a clear and concise answer. Concerning negative effects of networks, "models of the four criminal outcomes suggest relatively weak main [...] effects [...] when considered without a control for social cohesion"(p. 46). However, the only positive effect of networks highlights their twofold function in "inhibiting and facilitating neighborhood crime" (p.46). By taking into account these three different models I tried to emphasize the practical approach concerning the dark side of social capital and the way it affects the society. It is clear to me that there is a negative part of social capital shaped by the misuse of its functions and components. Nonetheless, I could not provide clear measurements to show an important negative effect of these backwards such that they hinder the general beneficial nature of social capital. Conclusion The aim of this essay was to answer the question: "In which measure does the dark side of social capital affect civil society?" In order to come to a response, I started with discussing various definitions of social capital, showing the complexity of the concept. Further on, I focused on the downsides of social capital. I touched upon the misuse of its functions which can turn networks, trust, cooperation and reciprocity into backwards. In the following paragraph I tried to support my research question with three researches conducted by Gabbay and Zuckerman (1998), Baker & Faulkner (1993) and Browning, Dietz and Feinberg (2000). In the end, I could not show a negative impact of these downwards that can hamper society's development. Although I did not have a positive answer to my question, this does not mean that the dark side of this concept can be omitted. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Social Theory section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Social Theory essays

  1. A research project into the perceptions of graffiti by certain individuals and groups can ...

    In terms of this perception, graffiti was often seen as a lower form of vandalism and mainly as being an urban problem. As with many urban issues there were a numbers of solutions, but it was not on the whole seen as a major problem, and there was no passionate opposition to it.

  2. Discuss both the 'how' and 'why' of addiction, focusing on the main models that ...

    Also psychological models do not present us with an absolute cut-off point for addiction at which we may place our level of concern, as the disease model seems to suggest. It is acknowledged that people may have problems at any level of consumption, and that these problems may be interpersonal, legal, financial, scholastic, work-related, psychological or physical.

  1. Free essay


    Foucault (1981, In Jordan 2002, p195) argues that expression or disclosure of intimate feelings hasn't changed but it is instead the new discursive sites such as chat shows that are putting intimacy into discourse. He relates disclosure in public to that of confessions in a church or to an authoritative

  2. Eating Disorders are merely a Product of our time and culture

    Researchers showed that a history of sexual, physical or even psychological abuse (e.g. bullying) could lead to the development of eating disorders. Abuse at early age, involving force, and by a family member may bear a stronger relationship to eating disorders (Everill & Waller, 1995).

  1. Posttraumatic Growth: The Preferred Outcome

    - 'Changes in Outlook' - Questionnaire (Joseph, et al 1993, 1997), have since become accepted measures of posttraumatic growth. The three components involved in posttraumatic growth: the trauma, the person, and the outcome, have also been widely researched and are thus considered in turn.

  2. An account of the Uncertainty Anxiety Management, Communication Accommodation, Intercultural Adaptation and Network Analysis ...

    Anxiety is an emotional response to uncertainty that is characterized by feelings of apprehension about what may happen during an interaction (Gudykunst 2003:169). A first encounter is a communicative interaction that is new to the communicator (Guirdham 1999:208). UAM theory claims that a communicator's levels of uncertainty and anxiety in

  1. New Social Movements most effectively describe a specific movement-type emerging in the late 1970s; ...

    5.2 My first question asks to what extent the identity constructed by actors in New Social Movements has changed with the emergence of a greater number of particularist movements claiming recognition in public space? Can movements such as those that claim rights for ethnic minority groups or AIDS sufferers, who

  2. Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of social capital

    the significance of human relations, networks and organisational forms for the quality of life and of developmental performance. Brousell (2009) suggests that social capital is important because it is thought to increase the productivity of individuals in the society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work