Dominique Joye, “Social capital and social networks: challenges for an international comparison with the ISSP”: ICS, May 19th, 14.30.

Dominique Joye presented. Here’s the abstract:

“There are many reasons for the ISSP to develop a network module. First a historical one: two modules (1986, 2001) were already dedicated to this topic. Second there is a growing interest in sociology for considering “lives in contexts”, i.e. the way we are influenced by the personal communities we are living in. The life-course paradigm, among others, has underlined the importance of “social embeddedness”, i.e. the web of social relations and the support and resources individuals can access through them (Bourdieu 1983; Lin 1982). From this perspective “social resources” or “social capital” should be considered as supplementing economic and cultural capital. But the most important reason is perhaps more global: recent studies about social changes have insisted on the rise of individualism and, at the same time, the reduction of various forms of welfare provision in many countries. In such a context it is even more important to have access to resources through one’s personal relations. The crucial question is, of course, if these resources can (partly) take over functions previously provided by the welfare state and what happens to people who have only limited or no networks? Such a general question is particularly well suited to be investigated in a comparative perspective.

Our last inspiration for this proposal comes from the methodological advances in the measurement of social relations that make it feasible to collect various dimensions of social relations and social embeddedness in a cross-national context. Since Fischer et al.’s (1977) development of multiple name generators and Burt’s (1985) suggestion for a one item name generator instrument for the GSS there have been many methodological advances in the measurement of social relations and social capital. New instruments which are less affected by survey mode and interviewer behaviour have been developed and many general social surveys have used novel networks modules.”

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