How People Who ‘Give’ Make Better Communities
Chapter 3: Joining the dots between ‘cohesive relationships’ and ‘generosity’
Giving behaviours that are easy to identify in surveys include: having volunteered, having donated to charity and having hosted someone for food or drink in your home. This small selection represents a much wider range of prosocial behaviours, since the whole range depends on pretty much the same drivers. Moreover, the drivers of giving are found to overlap closely with the three elements of relationships: social networks, social norms and personal attitudes. This means that by monitoring giving, we may well learn something about the prosocial character of informal relationships. A hypothesis is put forward that individual prosocial inclination, identifiable in giving behaviours, is partly influenced by, and partly influences the wider social environment. Through an interactive process of response and counter-response between individuals and their wider social environment, social cohesion with all of its associated quality-of-life benefits may incrementally change.
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