Family Relations as Social Capital

Sara Mazzucchelli, Giovanna Rossi, Roberta Bonini

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


The paper will discuss about the contemporaneousness of the family, focusing on the relational approach as methodological framework. This model is based on the concept of the family as a specific social relation where crucial differences among gender, generations, and lineage can be found. The specificity of the family relationship can be observed using the social capital (SC) perspective. The analytic dimensions of SC are: network as structural dimension, which refers to networks with different levels of consistency, size and density; trust as the expectation of a social actor that others make a beneficial or harmless action towards him/her, made under conditions of uncertainty; reciprocity where the actor knows that giving something he/she will receive something in return not only at an instrumental level, but also a symbolic and relational level; and an inclination to cooperative behaviour acting as a shared behaviour without external or social control mechanisms. In this framework the family social capital (FSC) is a quality of the social relations which derives, even if not intentionally, from the ties among family members. It is a mutual orientation among family members, based on gift and expectation. FSC is contingent and depends on the interaction of complex factors which cannot be predicted. It is a quality of family relations. It refers in particular to the dimension of mutual orientation. It is responsible for the creation of reliable bonds, based on gift and reciprocity, which in turn are able to produce cooperation-oriented behaviour. It’s a tie regarding both nuclear family members (nuclear FSC), extended family members (parental net) and is also connected to the community network (friends, neighbours). Recent researches carried out in Italy have shown how the relational approach allows us to understand both the link between family members (bonding SC) and the context outside family relationships (bridging SC).
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteFamilies and Kinship in Contemporary Europe. Rules and Practices of Relatedness
EditorRiitta Jallinoja, Eric Widmer
Numero di pagine13
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011


  • bonding social capital
  • bridging social capital
  • family
  • parental net


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