Players, members, spectators and bystanders: benefits for non-participants

Bill Jordan

in Welfare and well-being

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9781847420800
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304210 | DOI:
Players, members, spectators and bystanders: benefits for non-participants

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This chapter discusses how social capital theory benefits non-participants. The first part of the chapter discusses how the by-product of social capital and interactions in groups and associations benefit even those who do not participate in these activities. It analyses the nature of these external activities and how gains accrue to non-participants. The second part discusses the distinctions that can be made between different types of social capital which accounts for the variation in their external effects. Whereas ‘bridging’ social capital stems from interactions between people with heterogeneous social profiles, ‘bonding’ social capital is produced by interactions among homogenous populations, at a local level. Putnam acknowledges that the latter may give rise to negative externalities, for instance when the groups concerned are criminals or terrorists. This section examines the basis for this distinction. The third part discusses the role of trust in these effects. Trust is not always included within the definition of social capital, but it is one of the most reliable factors in statistical correlations between frequency of interactions and positive social outcomes. The extent to which this can be elucidated in terms of externalities is analysed and examined in this section. The last part of the chapter explores the distributional effects of groups and associational interactions, and how these relate to external effects. It is argued that these two are often confused in the social capital literature.

Keywords: social capital theory; social capital; trust; negative externalities; social outcomes; associational interactions

Chapter.  6754 words. 

Subjects: Health, Illness, and Medicine

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