chapter  8
17 Pages

The Internet Implications for Social Capital: Stock, Changes and Tie Strength

WithWENHONG CHEN

Drawing on a long tradition dating back to Durkheim, Simmel and de Tocqueville, the social capital literature has provided solid evidence on the impacts of social capital in various social domains such as cognition, social mobility, diff usion, organizational behavior and entrepreneurship. Compared with the attention paid to the impacts of social capital, formation and changes in social capital over time remain relatively underresearched (Flap and Völker 2004; McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Cook 2001). Although bounded and shaped by their networks, individuals are-with varying degrees of success-the architects of their own networks (Emirbayer and Mische 1998). Network formation is a joint product of macrolevel social structure and microlevel factors that constrain actors’ preferences, choices and strategies. Accordingly, how people’s social capital changes over time is a muddy and uncertain process (Portes and Landolt 1996).