Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action / Edition 1

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"In Social Capital, Nan Lin explains the importance of using social connections and social relations in achieving goals. Social capital, or resources accessed through such connections and relations, is critical (along with human capital, or what a person or an organization actually possesses) to individuals, social groups, organizations, and communities in achieving objectives."--BOOK JACKET.
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Editorial Reviews

Lin (sociology, Duke U.) presents his theory of social capital, in which resources imbedded in a social structure are accessed and/or mobilized in purposive action. Wedding his theory with classical and neoclassical notions of capital, he suggest s that resources can be seen as material or symbolic goods. The way in which meaning and significance are assigned to those goods are at the heart of his analysis. He argues that social exchange is characterized by a similar rationality as economic exchange. The theory is applied to certain societal transformations (such as the rise of women's studies departments in academia) to test its validity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"Lin succeeds in clarifying a muddled body of work on social capital ... [this book] makes its own unique contribution by exploring diverse issues related to the social capital idea." International Journal of Social Welfare

"Social Capital is a magisterial analysis of how social networks are a key to individual achievement and social inclusion. Nan Lin shows that those who depend only on market transactions ignore at their peril the social relationships that underlie and shape deals. Those who read this book will increase their human capital by learning how to increase their social capital." Barry Wellman, University of Toronto

"This long-needed and richly detailed volume, by one of the original theorists of social capital, organizes and advances on the key intellectual challenges and accomplishments of the field of structural sociology. Immensely readable and relevant to today's most interesting sociological questions regarding economic life, Lin's book succeeds in bursting open new doors to the theoretically and substantively important consequences of social capital." Brian Uzzi, Northwestern University

"In Social Capital Nan Lin takes on the long overdue task of meshing incoming network theory with social stratification and mobility theory - in both cases with guidance from empirical research. Aptly, Lin demonstrates the 'strength of weak models': by avoiding technical specifications he not only makes the book accessible to the non-numerate but also suggests how his themes can bear on different disciplinary interests and venues." Harrison White, Columbia University

"Social Capital integrates Nan Lin's two decades of work on social resources and instrumental action. It carefully distinguishes the capital residing in social networks from economic, human, and cultural capital. Drawing on his original research in both the United States and East Asia, Lin presents compelling empirical evidence showing provocative theoretical extensions about the role of social capital in the formation of both networks and reputations, and argues that developments in information techmology have led to a dramatic rise in the formation of social capital." Peter V. Marsden, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521521673
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Series: Structural Analysis in the Social Sciences Series, #19
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 292
  • Sales rank: 1,226,691
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Theories of Capital: The Historical Foundation 3
2 Social Capital: Capital Captured through Social Relations 19
3 Resources, Hierarchy, Networks, and Homophily: The Structural Foundation 29
4 Resources, Motivations, and Interactions: The Action Foundation 41
5 The Theory and Theoretical Propositions 55
6 Social Capital and Status Attainment: A Research Tradition 78
7 Inequality in Social Capital: A Research Agenda 99
8 Social Capital and the Emergence of Social Structure: A Theory of Rational Choice 127
9 Reputation and Social Capital: The Rational Basis for Social Exchange 143
10 Social Capital in Hierarchical Structures 165
11 Institutions, Networks, and Capital Building: Societal Transformations 184
12 Cybernetworks and the Global Village: The Rise of Social Capital 210
13 The Future of the Theory 243
References 251
Index 267
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