Research discussed in time magazine indicates that girls are more likely to form close knit friendships with a small number of people, whilst boys have larger collections of looser friendships. This seems to be hard wired into the genetic makeup and correlates nicely with the heavily male dominated area of entrepreneurs, which requires wide ranging connectivity.
This all neatly comes back to social capital theory, of course, where strong or weak bonds exist. After reading all the social capital text, i’m starting to see everything in terms of SC, so to rephrase the first paragraph, girls are better at forming bonding SC whilst boys are better at bridging SC.
All extreme generalisations of course!
I’m currently working my way through the second edition of Social Capital by John Field, which is in the Routledge Key Ideas range. Chapter one covers the history of the term and idea, mentioning the work of Hanifan (1916), through Dewey to the three contempory writers who have shaped most of the modern thinking on the concept – Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam.
Bourdieu’s work seems to be routed in problems deriving from the European class system and social hierarchy. Social Capital is used by those that have it to reinforce their position.
Coleman suggests that SC is a by product of people acting from their own self interests (rational / game theory). Interesting point here about side effects and the way that social capital is raised – as in Web 2.0 applications
Getting to Putnam soon.
Currently working on a literature review of Social Capital – obviously a massive area, so will attempt to narrow it down to recent applications in the specific area of learning and web 2.0. Hopefully the volume of literature will not be too overpowering.
Gale helpfully suggested starting with this:
A Bayesian Belief Network Computational Model of Social Capital in Virtual Communities
Bit irritating to discover that a lot of what I was thinking about covering is knocking about already, although the reference list (and the fact that it was published mid 2007) helps.