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RTF 380G - Social Capital and Social Networks

INSTRUCTOR: Chen

UNIVERSITY REGISTRAR (for course times & locations)

DESCRIPTION: The seminal work of Robert Putnam on the decline of social capital in the US has generated a growing multidisciplinary literature. Social capital can come in many forms (trust, civic engagement, community attachment, and social networks) and has become one of the most contested concepts in social sciences. What makes social capital unique is its relational nature. Social network analysis provides a critical lens and powerful tools to understand the causes and consequences of social capital. Social network analysis focuses on how connections and structural positions affect fundamental issues such as cognition, creativity, cultural capital, social status, information flow, political coalition, interlocking directorates, social movement and social change. Scholars and pundits have been debating on the implications of new communication technologies and digital media for network structure and social capital at the individual and community levels.

This course is designed to balance theories, methods, and applications, drawing on literatures from sociology, communication, media studies, and management. It begins with key concepts and theories of social capital and social networks. In the second part, we explore the relational and structural embeddedness of actors, communities, and organizations. In the third part, we focus on how to collect network data and do network analysis.