The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics
Edited by Gert Tingaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen
Chapter 1: The Troika of Sociology, Political Science and Economics
Gert Tinggaard Svendsen and Gunnar Lind Haase Svendsen Many common eﬀorts succeeded in accomplishing that task which many more isolated eﬀorts were not able to accomplish. (Carl von Linné, translated from the Swedish in Ulrik, 1867) 1.1 The troika of social capital The Russian word troika (‘threesome’) denotes a sleigh or wagon pulled by three horses abreast. A simultaneous, harmonious and steady pull by all three horses sends the sleigh ﬂying without exhausting the horses. In contrast, if one horse pulls too hard, or if one pulls less than the others, the sleigh will lose momentum and, at worst, overturn. The diﬃcult act of driving a troika implies exact coordination, discipline and understanding to ensure smooth and skilful handling. We ﬁnd that ‘troika’ is an appropriate metaphor for the three disciplines that have mostly ‘pulled’ social capital research, namely sociology, political science and economics. The main idea in this book is that the most important synergy eﬀect of a balanced team of horses hitched in troika is to account for tangible as well as intangible assets or ‘forms of capital’ at the same level of analysis (cf. Bourdieu, 1986), thus overcoming the artiﬁcial demarcation between economic and non-economic areas of research. This means that intangible forms of capital, for example, cultural and social capital, should be accounted for alongside the more traditional, visible capitals such as physical and economic capital. In such an approach, culture is seen as no less economic than economics, and vice...
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