Informal social capital and ICTs
There is currently great interest in the topic of social capital, and the literature has grown dramatically during the past decade. Sparked more than anything by Putnam’s 1995 article Bowling Alone (Putnam, 1995) and his subsequent book (2000), the use of this concept has been applied to a wide range of situations during the last decade, including the potential for Third World development (Fox, 1996), community governance (Bowles and Gintis, 2000), social and economic outcomes (Woolcock, 2001), self-rating of health (Kawachi et al., 1999) and children’s maths skills (Morgan and Sorensen, 1999). The question for this chapter is: do ICTs play into the way social capital is experienced in society? If so, what types of social capital (participation in formal groups, informal groups or in friendships) are in play?