Academic journal article International Education Studies

Description and Recognition the Concept of Social Capital in Higher Education System

Academic journal article International Education Studies

Description and Recognition the Concept of Social Capital in Higher Education System

Article excerpt

Abstract

The current research is intended to describe and recognize the concept of social capital in higher education based on theoretical method in which a descriptive - analytical approach . Description and Recognition of the data, gathered from theoretical and experimental studies indicated that social capital is one of the most important indices for development and growth of higher education which has three components : social confidence, social integration and social participation. Social capital is obtained from educational institutes since preschool to higher education levels. Higher education is considered as a powerful producer of social capital. Thus, existing social capital is considered as the major precondition of creating opportunity, incentive and capability of individuals in higher education which influences knowledge creation through opportunity and combining capability and knowledge. Functions of higher education and social capital have mutual effects. In order to promote social capital, the elements of higher education must be formulated based on the components of social capital and needs of community.

Keywords: social capital, social confidence, social participation and social integration, higher education

1. Introduction

Social Capital is one of the most important characteristics of the growth and development of any society. Nowadays, social capital has reached to a new position in sociology and political science. Social capital is that traditional solidarity of a society within which individuals devote themselves in social projects to follow their personal interests. In addition, the effect of changes in socio-cultural conditions on social capital differs in various societies (Sharepour, 2001).

Studies have been conducted during last two decades on the concept of social capital have included a great majority of new theoretical products in sociology , thus researches on social capital have been developed either qualitatively and quantitatively. Furthermore, the issue of social capita goes further from a mere sociological concept and enters other filed of humanities that one of them is higher education. The concept of social capital was introduced as a scientific and academic subject in early 20th century and was argued in social sciences text in 1980. Honifan presented the basic concept of social capital in an article from Virginia in the United States. Honifan knew the social capital as the assets that exist in people's daily lives, such as goodwill, camaraderie and friendship, sympathy and social relationships among individuals and families making up a social unit. Sociologist Ivan Light used the term of social capital in the 1970s, to describe the inter-city economy problems. In the 1980s, sociologist James Coleman used this term in a broader sense and on the other hand, Putnam researches were led to the formation of informal social capital and its usage in many interdisciplinary sciences. Higher education as an educational institution has a most important role to promote social capital in graduates. (Tavassoli, 2005)

The main aims of present research are, an attempt to describe and recognize the concept of social capital and provide theorists' viewpoints like Putnam, Coleman and Bourdieu and finally components, and functions of social capital will be considered. Then the concept of social capital in higher education system and the relationship between social capital and higher education system will be discussed.

The present study has investigated to answer the following questions:

1- What is the concept of social capital?

2- What is the concept of social capital in higher education system?

1.1 The Concept of Social Capital

The concept of social capital in recent years according to the conducted researches has been suggested in many different areas such as social science, political science, economics, management and ... . In fact, the concept of social capital can be understood by carrier relationships based on the trust in the community and applied to a set of resources arising in the nature of social relations, which make life more pleasant and more desirable. …

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