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Engagement in the local community and civic socialisation: an analysis of neighbourhood and household context using the British Household Panel Survey -PhD thesis-


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This thesis sets out to examine the notion that social context
throughout the life course plays an important role in the development of
social capital. It explores this using the British Household Panel
Survey (BHPS), a longitudinal data set, using data from England and
Wales. It argues that social capital can be thought of as being composed
of different dimensions which develop differentially over time. It
frames the research within the context of the local community and
examines three distinct dimensions of social capital: participation in
local groups, neighbourhood attachment, and interpersonal trust.
Frameworks are developed within which each is hypothesised to develop at
different times and within different contexts. Different expectations
are outlined which suggest how they should develop within a view of
social capital based on Putnam (2000) and his predictions concerning
social participation and trust. These are contrasted with theories and
findings form the literature on political socialisation and Uslaner’s
(2002) conception of trust as a deep rooted moral trait. It is shown
that participation in local groups, neighbourhood attachment and
interpersonal trust, do develop at different stages and in different
contexts. Moreover, it is shown that growing up in a highly trusting
environment may predict participation and engagement later in life.


Social Capital and Life Course Analysis



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