Seminar: Social Capital - Reconnecting with the importance and value of social relationships

Friday March 1st at 6pm ET
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Free Seminar and Q&A Session


The concept of social capital has exploded in popularity since the 1990s to become one of the most popular concepts in the social sciences and has even entered politics, business, and public health arenas, to name a few. It is even becoming part of everyday language. The popularity of the concept of social capital demonstrates the apparent need for a concept to emphasize social dimensions that have typically been marginalized by the dominant paradigm of individualism and economic rationalism. The fact that social factors have been framed as 'capital' is an indictment of our modern system and values. Throughout human history, the importance and value of social relationships have been intuitively understood and nurtured. However, in the excessively individualistic, self-interested, and radically rational 20th century, the importance and value of social factors have been consistently underestimated, undervalued, and underprioritized.

By the 1990s, as evidenced by social capital's popularity, a concept was needed to reconnect with the importance and value of sociality and communicate this fact to decision-makers. However, the concept is not without its flaws, challenges, and weaknesses. Unfortunately, many explanations of social capital do little to change the dominance of asocial or non-social thinking. Even the transformative approaches can find it challenging to communicate the somewhat intangible value of prosocial action to people who are used to undervaluing it. Join Tristan Claridge for an exploration of the promise of social capital and the struggle to recognize social value through the concept of social capital.

About the Speaker:

Tristan Claridge has been researching and applying social capital for over 20 years. He is the Director of the Institute for Social Capital and the current President of the International Social Capital Association. Tristan is a geographer and environmental scientist with a passion for social processes and how social value is identified and communicated. Tristan has a deep and grounded understanding of social capital and its application, having worked on the concept from theoretical and practical perspectives. He draws on lessons from economics, sociology, political science, psychology, urban planning, and any other discipline that contributes understanding to the concept. In addition to his practical work with the concept, Tristan has been an active contributor to the academic debate about social capital. He has written over 200 open-access articles on social capital and related topics and is actively engaged in ongoing research.