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A Paper On Social Capital In My Community

918 words - 4 pages

In this essay I will discuss three major points concerning social capital. First, I will state whether my community is rich in social capital, then provide evidence of why it is or isn't. Second, I will explain the factors that are responsible for the continuance or decline in social capital. And third, I will talk about what realistic policies I would pursue to foster or sustain social capital in my community. Let me begin by explaining what social capital is. Social capital can be simply defined as connections among individuals. It refers to institutions and relationships that shape the quality of a society's social interactions. Interaction enables people to build strong communities and to commit themselves to each other. Some examples of interaction would be serving on city council, PTA's, community groups, sports teams, etc.Social capital is based on the interaction, connection, and levels of trust individuals have with each other. Without programs or activities that provide interaction, connection, or the building of trust, then the social capital of that community decreases. But the availability of programs doesn't always determine social capital. Instead, the people in that community must be willing to take part in any activities or programs that are available.The social capital in my particular community, the city of Springfield, is in decline. For example, involvement in politics such as voting has declined over the past four years. In one study done it showed that in 2000, Springfield had a voter turnout of about 23,000, a number that used to be in the upper 30's just four years prior to that. The percentage of people who participate in religion has also decreased from 59% in 1990 to 42% in 2000. Participation in religion contributes to the decline in social capital because the church itself is like acommunity which has celebrations and festivals. So if people are less involved then that means that less people are engaging in those activities that are there to create social networks and interactions thus leading to a social capital decline. A decline in social capital isn't always as a result of lesser activities or programs available but of more of other things. Let me explain myself here. People are more likely to stay inside of their homes nowadays due to the increase mainly of technology. Everyone now has web access so they can buy anything they need without ever leaving their homes and now more and more people are beginning to work out their homes. Since less people are leaving their homes for shopping, work, or anything that involves getting outdoors, less people are interacting and thus decreasing your chances of building relationships and institutions with others which then would result in a...

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