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A Crash Course in Social Capital

So, what is social capital? Jeremy Shearmur describes social capital as loosely as situations where people choose to voluntarily associate with each other and where membership in that group serves as a free resource to those members. Why is it important ? I feel that social capital is important because it helps to express aspects of community and belonging. I suppose that it is because we are social creatures and I suggest we are social creatures because of the greater benefits of being part of a community than of being solitary.

Social capital is a phrase being explored and studied across the world. Vivid importance has been attached to there being social capital in culture and it has been suggested that it is vital for stable growth economies, happy communities, healthy communities, efficient administrations, and effective learning environments. Read more

It's Who You Know

An interesting book is Social Capital; Key Ideas by John Field (ISBN-10: 0415433037), Director of the Division of Academic Innovation and Continuing Education at the University of Stirling. Social Capital is a term which has been popularised by the American political scientist Robert D. Putnam, who defined it as:

features of social organisation, such as trust, norms and networks, that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions

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Business and Community

We live in interesting times. When attending a conference on how businesses can become involved in their communities, I was impressed at the interest that the business community has in ‘putting something back in’.

So many questions are being asked as the economy goes through all of it’s changes and adjustments. For many it is a time when belts are tightened and prospects seem uncertain. We are being asked these questions by our circumstances and being pressed to come up with solutions. Read more

Where to Begin

I have been thinking about what to make the first entry of my Ragged University Blog. Since the start of this project I have enjoyed the fact that it compels me to find out about all the people in the world who have been great teachers, learners and thinkers. Learning about learning if you like. But what an infinite task. Do I take the great famous names still studied today for their contributions? Do I look to marvelously motivated people who invented or innovated ?

Do I look for the people who have taken the time to develop me as a person, advising me and giving that all important constructive criticism and support ? Do I look at the awe-inspiring collaborations of countless individuals who form great institutions and libraries enriching, the whole of society ?…. Read more