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78 Examples of Social Capital

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Social capital are the relationships, goodwill, fellowship and common understandings that exist between people that has economic value or value to quality of life. This is about the relationships that exist between people and the institutions, organizations, groups or events that help to build these relationships. The following are common examples of relationships that represent social capital.
Activist organizations
Advocacy groups
After-school programs
Alumni networks
Art groups
Business contacts
Church groups
Civic organizations
Community farms and gardens
Community groups
Community policing groups
Community theater groups
Companies i.e. the social environment of a firm
Cooperative businesses
Cooperative efforts e.g. open-source software communities
Coworking spaces i.e. as a social and professional environment
Creative collectives
Cultural festivals and events
Cultural groups
Dog runs and other places where neighbors meet
Entrepreneurial networks
Environmental groups
Family ties
Farmers markets
Fraternal organizations
Friends and friend networks such as friends of friends
Hobby clubs
Homeowners associations
Investment clubs
Knowledge-sharing networks
Labor unions
Language exchange groups
Local business associations
Local government networks
Maker spaces
Meetups and interest-based events
Mentoring relationships
Musical groups
Mutual aid networks
Neighborhood associations
Neighborhood cooperatives
Neighborhood watch groups
Networking at industry events
Networking at professional events
Nonprofit organizations
Online communities and forums
Online interest groups
Parent-teacher associations
Performance groups e.g. a dance troupe
Philanthropic organizations
Political affiliations
Political engagement i.e. volunteering to support a political campaign
Professional associations
Professional networks
Religious affiliations
Repair cafes
School clubs & enrichment activities
Shared workspaces
Social clubs
Social media connections
Sports teams
Support groups
Tenants associations
Trade associations
Travel groups
Universities & colleges i.e. the social environment and relationships attached to these institutions
Volunteer organizations
Youth organizations

Detailed Examples

Social interaction between people and trust that is extended based on membership in a community. For example, a dog park where everyone is generally friendly such that it represents a source of social fulfillment, information exchange and relationship building for dog owners in a neighborhood.
Groups that demonstrate cooperative behaviors. For example, a neighborhood that works together to convince a city to make their street a living street.

Social Capital vs Cultural Capital

Social capital shouldn't be confused with cultural capital. Cultural capital are things like language and norms that help people to cooperate.

Social Capital is "Positive"

It is often stated that social capital is "positive" or that it is based on "positive" interactions between people. This isn't strictly true. All social processes can build relationships, even if they feel intensive or negative. For example, a relationship of respect may develop between political adversaries at work such that they may support each other in the long term.
As with all capital, social capital does not always produce positive results. Social capital helps you to get things done as a society. If your strategy is flawed, social capital can produce negative results. For example, a strongly unified society may launch a war that only produces negative results for all sides. A deeply divided society could produce better results than a united society with a bad plan.

Value of Social Capital

Social capital can improve the value of assets, products and services. For example, a house in an friendly area with a strong sense of community may be worth more to its owner. Likewise, social capital has significant business value whereby people who know may people may bring customers, revenue, partnerships and important sources of information to a firm.


Social capital is the value of social relationships to a community, institution, organization or individual. This value can be financial or some other benefit such as improved quality of life.
Overview: Social Capital
The relationships, goodwill, fellowship and common understandings that exist between people that has economic value or value to quality of life.
Related Concepts
Next: Cultural Capital
More about social capital:
Epic Meaning
Living Street
Quality Of Life
Social Capital
Social Significance
Social Skills
Socioeconomic Status
Super Culture
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Hanifan, L. J. (1916) "The rural school community center", Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 67: 130-138.

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