May 28, 2012 [Originally broadcast on 1/23/2012] — It may not be a term you throw around very often or give much thought to, but social capital figures prominently in our lives. It’s there when we attend a gallery opening… exercise with neighbors… call an old friend…or volunteer at the local library. Social capital refers to the social structures we build to seek the things we value. Family life, time spent with friends and co-workers, and volunteer activities are all sources of social capital. They’re connections we make that are vital to one’s sense of well-being. While many think we have less social capital than ever before, research tells us it’s still there; and while it is shifting a bit, it’s not in danger of being depleted or in need of a bail out.
Dr. Dan Gottlieb explores social capital as the currency that enhances our quality of life. The discussion includes recent trends and ways to cultivate connections to strengthen communities and — in the process – ourselves. Dan’s guests include Brian Jones, PhD., and Jody Horntvedt, M.Ed. Brian Jones is a professor of sociology at Villanova University. His book Social Capital in America: Counting Buried Treasure (2010) is now out in paperback. Jody Horntvedt is a Community Vitality Leadership and Civic Engagement Educator at the University of Minnesota Extension.