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Service Club Membership and Forms of Social Capital among Swedish Community Elites
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2012 (English)In: Journal of Civil Society, ISSN 1744-8689, E-ISSN 1744-8697, Vol. 8, no 1, 63-90 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social clubs and other voluntary settings have repeatedly been pointed out as sites where social elites encounter each other and enjoy the opportunity to cultivate their within-elite personal relations under informal circumstances. Since elites’ personal connections represent a non-trivial aspect of their entrepreneurial opportunity structures, i.e. how they are able to get things done, it is essential to understand the significance of voluntary activities for elites’ personal networks. We lack, however, unequivocal knowledge about this. The aim of the present article is therefore to empirically explore how service club membership—one particularly prevalent form of voluntary activity among community elites—potentially affects such actors’ personal networks. The study is theoretically informed by a network-based conception of individual-level social capital, and distinguishes between brokerage and closure forms of social capital-producing mechanisms. Empirically, the study draws upon data collected through personal interviews with 248 local elites (politicians, corporate leaders, civil servants, etc.) in four mid-sized Swedish municipalities, and focuses particularly on the potential effect of Rotary Club membership among the elites. The results suggest that Rotary Club membership may have an optimizing impact on local elites’ personal networks, in terms of the relative prevalence of brokerage opportunities and tendencies towards social closure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2012. Vol. 8, no 1, 63-90 p.
Keyword [en]
Brokerage, closure, elites, Rotary, service clubs, social capital, social networks
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75876DOI: 10.1080/17448689.2012.665654OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-75876DiVA: diva2:524487
Available from: 2012-05-02 Created: 2012-05-02 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Essays on Elite Networks in Sweden: Power, social integration, and informal contacts among political elites
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Essays on Elite Networks in Sweden: Power, social integration, and informal contacts among political elites
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this dissertation is to present work on a number of salient characteristics of elite relations in Sweden, studied from a social network analytic perspective. Elite integration, the distribution of elite power, and the significance of elites’ informal relations represent the three main themes explored in the original studies that comprise the thesis. Studies 1-3 concern elite relations at the local, i.e. municipal level of political decision-making, while research on parliamentary political elites is reported in Study 4. Studies 1-3 draw upon original complete network data collected through personal interviews with 248 local elites (politicians, corporate leaders, civil servants, etc.) active in four mid-sized Swedish municipalities. The question of local elite integration is investigated in Study 1, while the question of women elites’ potential access to structural power is studied in Study 2. These studies conclude that local elites are well integrated around structural cores of politicians and civil servants, and that women elites are on average not structurally disadvantaged due to their sex. Research concerning the role local elites’ involvement in associations like Rotary clubs is reported in Study 3. The results suggest that membership in such semi-exclusive voluntary settings may have an optimizing impact upon the elites’ personal networks, as far as their individual level social capital is concerned. In the final study (Study 4) focus is shifted to national political elites when a social network analytic perspective is utilized to study social cohesion within multiparty opposition coalitions recently formed in the Swedish Riksdag. The study concludes that the right wing-liberal Alliance coalition formed prior to the 2006 general elections was socially better integrated and more cohesive than the socialist-environmentalist coalition formed during the subsequent parliamentary cycle.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2012. 59 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; N.S., 52
Keyword
Sweden, elites, social networks, social capital
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75877 (URN)978-91-86071-91-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-06-01, hörsal 3, hus B, Universitetsvägen 10 B, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: Submitted. Paper 4: Submitted.

Available from: 2012-05-10 Created: 2012-05-02 Last updated: 2015-06-16Bibliographically approved

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