Almost all empirical research reveals that social capital is a factor that enhances public goods, but scholars are divided into two strands of thought. According to the first strand, the enhancement of public goods does not need any network of social relations while, according to the second, enhancement depends on the existence and good functioning of relational networks, to the point that it consists in the creation of social networks. Which one is right? In order to clarify the issue, one should ask: can a social relation have any added social value? If so, how can we conceive of the added social value of social relations, and how can we measure it? The Author claims that the added social value of social relations can be observed in those processes through which social capital and public (relational) goods (re)generate or elide each other. These processes can be analyzed as morphogenetic cycles that work in temporal sequences and are not circular or recursive. By adopting this perspective, we can see and measure the added social value of social relations in primary and secondary networks, leading to the emergence of public goods. The relational approach can give abundant evidence as to how and why different public goods are produced and/or enhanced depending on the different added social value of the social relations that constitute them.
The Added Value of Social Relations
Donati P. (2013) "The Added Value of Social Relations " Italian Journal of Sociology of Education, 5(1), 19-35. DOI: 10.14658/PUPJ-IJSE-2013-1-2
Year of Publication
Italian Journal of Sociology of Education
Serial Article Number