Conceptualizing social capital in relation to children and young people: is it different for girls?

This paper describes a research project that explored the relevance of Putnam's (1993) definition of social capital (as consisting of social networks, norms of trust, reciprocity, civic engagement and participation in communities) with children and young people in disadvantaged areas. Also, the paper presents data from an empirical sociological study that attempted to explore the meaning and relevance of different aspects of "social capital" for 12-15 year olds living in two deprived areas of a town in SE England. It is based on young people's descriptions of their everyday lives, and focuses on four elements: accounts of parents and the centrality of mothers; gender differences in accounts of the meaning and nature of friendship; gender differences in experiences of neighbourhood spaces and local facilities; and gender differences in young people's aspirations for the future.

Childhood; Social capital; Gender


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