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A Study of New Communication Technologies and Civic Engagement : A Time to Reconceptualize the Research Constructs?
Unformatted Document Text:  15 level of nation state (Inglehart 1990). Indeed, countries where higher levels of trust (interpersonal as well as trust in political institutions) have been observed are generally more prosperous than countries low in trust (Inglehart 1990; Abramson & Inglehart 1995). Nonetheless, this tells us very little about whether individuals high in trust are more prosperous and happier than those less trusting within certain societies, as being trusting is presumably not equally advantageous in different societies and cultures. We can assume that on an individual level, interpersonal trust becomes more advantageous as people with similar characteristic become more numerous in a society and the number of the distrustful dwindles. Thus, it would be interesting to shed more light on why and how numbers changed historically in favor of trusting citizens in one of the more prosperous societies, with special emphasis on cultural and institutional conditions fostering this change (it is likely that Protestant Reformation played a very important part in this process). Having answered a question “How a country becomes a nation of joiners?” would certainly help us understand the reverse process and solve the Putnam’s puzzle. We also need to reconceptualize social capital to include all those activities that account for a considerable chunk of time of younger generations and that have been strangely excluded from scholarly research. Current indicators of social capital may fit well when we are dealing with long civic generation (or even the baby boomers), but they do not fully capture the social realities of the generation X. It is unlikely that playing video games with friends, going to rave parties, or visiting a record/CD exchange is less worthy that joining a bowling league or going to a bridge club or boy scout meeting.

Authors: Skoric, Marko.
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level of nation state (Inglehart 1990). Indeed, countries where higher levels of trust
(interpersonal as well as trust in political institutions) have been observed are generally
more prosperous than countries low in trust (Inglehart 1990; Abramson & Inglehart
1995). Nonetheless, this tells us very little about whether individuals high in trust are
more prosperous and happier than those less trusting within certain societies, as being
trusting is presumably not equally advantageous in different societies and cultures. We
can assume that on an individual level, interpersonal trust becomes more advantageous as
people with similar characteristic become more numerous in a society and the number of
the distrustful dwindles. Thus, it would be interesting to shed more light on why and how
numbers changed historically in favor of trusting citizens in one of the more prosperous
societies, with special emphasis on cultural and institutional conditions fostering this
change (it is likely that Protestant Reformation played a very important part in this
process). Having answered a question “How a country becomes a nation of joiners?”
would certainly help us understand the reverse process and solve the Putnam’s puzzle.
We also need to reconceptualize social capital to include all those activities that
account for a considerable chunk of time of younger generations and that have been
strangely excluded from scholarly research. Current indicators of social capital may fit
well when we are dealing with long civic generation (or even the baby boomers), but they
do not fully capture the social realities of the generation X. It is unlikely that playing
video games with friends, going to rave parties, or visiting a record/CD exchange is less
worthy that joining a bowling league or going to a bridge club or boy scout meeting.


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