What Structures Network Structure? How Class, Culture, and Context Matter in Creating Social Capital
AuthorSchultz, Jennifer Lee
AdvisorBrieger, Ronald L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractA considerable body of research shows that network structure can either assist or hinder one's access to social capital. Though the effects of particular structural arrangements of relationships are well known, there is comparatively little research on how a person might come to have one structural arrangement of ties over another. This study asks: What structures network structure? What cultural templates guide persons in their practice of friendship and in managing, maintaining, and adapting their personal communities over time? What contextual factors influence the duration and intensity of social relationships? Respondents were asked to make a list of "people who are important to you" and to describe the relationships individually while labeling each person on a social map. Interviews were coded using content analysis software in order to assess emergent cultural themes and the settings from which social relationships were drawn. Interview data confirmed respondents' use of cultural templates in the practice of friendship, which may affect one's ability to acquire and/or lose social capital. Interview data demonstrated how material resources may impact the vigor with which persons engage with social settings. Finally, some respondents reported important voluntary relationships that are at once high-commitment and low-contact. Frequently this type of tie arose when a relationship had outlived its original social context. This finding challenges the idea that contact and commitment usually go together in voluntary relationships.
Degree ProgramGraduate College