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Giving Behaviours and Social Cohesion

How People Who ‘Give’ Make Better Communities

Lorna Zischka

‘Giving’ time and money to the community indicates the existence of relationships that draw people together, and ‘who people give to’ indicates how inclusive these relational networks are. Using UK data for the analysis, Zischka argues that a person’s willingness to ‘give' is not only influenced by social cohesion; it also helps to generate social cohesion. For thriving communities, we therefore need to consider our ‘giving’ as well as our ‘getting’.
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Chapter 2: Social capital: a framework for understanding interpersonal relationships

Lorna Zischka

Extract

Interpersonal relationships are described using the social capital conceptual framework. Problems encountered with defining and measuring social capital are outlined; problems which haveprevented this important factor from gettingmuch attention in policy choice. Whilst social capital is often defined in terms of trust-building social norms and networks, this chapter makes the case that ‘personal prosocial attitudes’ are important too. It goes on to propose thatalthough relationships are complex, the impact they have on the way a person allocates his or herresources are easier to measure. The resource transfers that are specific to civic (informal) sectordrivers are giving flows. The giving of time and money is not carried out for a prearranged return,and is thereforeparticularly dependent on the social norms, social networks and personal attitudes we are interested in identifying. Thus ‘giving’ acts as a measurable barometer of howprosocial or antisocial informal relations are.

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