Chapter 2: How does social capital work?
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A normative definition of social capital emphasizes the cultural characteristics that promote productive cooperation among people, with trust appearing as the most commonly mentioned element of culture. A future orientation and delayed gratification, cultural elements of all forms of capital, may also be parts of social capital from the perspective of norms and values. Social networks, consistent patterns of ties among a set or people, constitute another way in which social capital has been defined. Here, the capital derives from the ability of individuals to form community for the purpose of achieving goals of individuals within the set or goals of the community as a whole. The third major way of defining social capital that I have identified is in terms of engagement. This clearly overlaps some with the network concept, but engagement concentrates on the extent to which individuals are committed to a collectivity, rather than on the design of the collectivity. These are not competing ways of seeing interpersonal relations as assets for realizing beneficial outcomes, but parts of how relations can function as resources for investment.

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