Metody pomiaru kapitału społecznego jako podstawowego zasobu społeczeństwa obywatelskiego
Methods of measuring social capital as an essential resource of civil society
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The concept of social capital is becoming a more and more popular instrument which enables transdisciplinary approach to integrative phenomena of socioeconomic nature. The article discusses the methods of measuring of social capital. It focuses on two perspectives in determining the indicators of measuring social capital — through examining the social structures’ variables and through analyzing the social processes taking place as a result of these variables. Using a structural analysis of networks we can measure such social structures’ variables as: the size, density, heterogeneity of networks, the strength of ties within the framework of the network, the individual positions of the actors, access to individual networks of contacts (their openness), criteria for membership within the network, the degree of hierarchy and formalization of their structures. On the other hand, using the “actor-oriented perspective,” which is based on relationships in studying social capital, we can explore the essential components of social capital, such as: trust and social norms (with particular reference to the standards of reciprocity). Social capital can be researched through the social structures that create it, as well as in a descriptive manner, focusing on the nature of the relationship between actors within the network. The selection of research methods depends on specific cognitive needs. The choice of tested variables is determined by the social context of research as well as by the subject of study.
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