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The Concept Of Social Capital Essay

1852 words - 7 pages

The concept of social capital has been used to represent the extent of social cohesion that is found in communities and it entails the processes between individuals or groups, which create networks, social trust and customs, and necessitate co-operation and co-ordination for mutual gain. Social capital is a significant determinant of health in older people and has been the focus on the ageing population in policymaking. Healthy ageing strategies are nowadays essential during public policy formulations, because the subject has become a main concern for economic sustainability and public health. Health policy makers can exploit the social capital benefits and include an assessment of the living conditions of elderly patients in the community into routine clinical care and assessment.
The major difference between Coleman’s and Bourdieu’s explanations lies in why and how social processes build up. According to the definition given by Bourdieu, it can be argued that social processes are controlled by the fundamental economic organizations, whereas Coleman’s definition claims social processes are formed by the people’s free will. Bourdieu (1985) argues that the existence of profit is the reason behind the solidarity making group existence feasible in the first place. Consequently, he argues that the creation of social capital is underlined by the structural economic organization. However, according to Coleman (1988), social capital is formed by purposeful and rational individuals who create it with the sole purpose of making the most of their individual opportunities. Consequently, he sees the concept of social capital as a type of contract, which is normally made between people unrestrained by the fundamental economic factors. In this case, social capital possesses a rationalist economic flavor in which people get to choose freely to create networks, which they use to further their self-interests.
The current theorists have built their arguments and derived their definitions of social capital from Coleman’s ideas, which mainly focuses on social inclusion and trust across the entire society. For instance, social capital can be defined as social relations of shared benefit, which are characterized by customs of reciprocity and trust. Today, the concept of social capital is generally used to represent the extent of social cohesion that is found in communities (Graczyk, 2002). It also entails the processes between individuals or groups, which create networks, social trust and customs, and necessitate co-operation and co-ordination for mutual gain. Social capital concept also concentrates on the positive facets of inter-relationships between humans and ignores their less attractive attributes. In addition, the concept puts these positive effects in the wider framework of capital and concentrates further on non-monetary capital as a foundation for influence and power.
Bearing in mind that older people have extra time to participate in social activities as...

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