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Social Capital

Social capital is the investment in social relationships with the expectation of returns. It is similar to other forms of capital, such as physical and human capital, apart from social capital's location in social relationships as opposed to material goods or individuals. Sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and James Coleman originally conceptualized social capital in the 1980s. Bourdieu defined social capital as the cumulation of actual and potential resources located within a network of relationships between actors with shared attributes. Coleman developed a similar conceptualization and stated that social capital exists within a social structure of relationships and is available to actors with the intention of achieving specific aims. Bourdieu's and Coleman's pioneering effort led contemporary contributors, such as political scientist Robert Putnam and sociologist Alejandro Portes, ...

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