Service Club Membership and Forms of Social Capital among Swedish Community Elites
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
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.
Brokerage, closure, elites, Rotary, service clubs, social capital, social networks
Research subject Sociology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75876DOI: 10.1080/17448689.2012.665654OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-75876DiVA: diva2:524487