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Social capital is the cumulative of the actual or probable resources that are connected to a long-lasting network possession of more or less established relationships of mutual association and acknowledgment. The definition of the notion is based on the function it plays. Social capital does not exist as an entity that stands on its own. It is rather a range of various matters. They have two main characteristics in common. First, both entities are made up of a feature that is related to the social structure. They also facilitate particular actions of persons who are found within that peculiar structure (Lin, 2008).
The purpose of this study is to understand the notion of social capital and its relation to the migration of persons.
Whereas physical capital denotes the physical entities and human capital talks about the properties of persons, the social one is the connections among people. These bonds mainly entail social networks and the norms of mutuality and dependability that arise from the relations between these individuals. Social capital is, therefore, closely linked to what other people refer to as civic virtue. The difference is that a civic virtue is considered to be most powerful if it is entrenched in a sensible network of mutual social relations. This leads to the conclusion that a community with many good but isolated persons is not automatically rich in capital that is social (Lin, 2008). Social capital denotes the establishments, norms, and associations that influence the quality and extent of the society social interactions. Social capital, however, is not merely the summation of the establishments that underpin a community. It is rather the adhesive that binds them together (Massey, Alarcón, Durand & González, 1990).
It has been argued that the center of social capital is the importance given to the relationship. It assists people in committing themselves to other persons in the community. It ultimately becomes a collective set of virtues, expectations and values within society as one entity. Social capital has been regarded as a valuable idea of organization. This has been linked to the increasing proof that social unity is crucial for the economic prosperity of a society. It is also important for the existence of sustainable development.
Social capital may be categorized into two distinct segments. The first division is the general social capital refers to those social resources that are found in a wide set of life domains. This covers the needs of the average individual in the modern, industrial society. This mainly comprises of a potentially vast, wide-ranging assortment of resources that are likely useful ones, such as access to practical assistance, attention, physical strength, influence, food, and health care. The creation of measures for general social capital, therefore, ought to start with clear hypothetical classifications. The second division is the specific social capital. It occurs where the precisely the right person or resource is required to achieve a particular result. This is the kind of social capital taps into the skill and experience that is beneficial and required by a definite life domain. This tends to lock out the measures that would be employed and transformed not by the general populace, but rather, by an individual.
Social Capital and Migration
It has been highlighted by theorists that social capital is crucial to the acquirement and accruing of other capital forms. This has particularly been related to the migration of people. Migrant networks are comprised of interpersonal relations that link migrants, former immigrants, and nonimmigrants to one another. This link is set through relations of friendship, shared community, kinship and origin (Massey, Alarcón, Durand & González, 1990). Network associations result in a rise in the prospects of international migration. This is due to their capacity to lower the expenses and dangers of movement. They also result in increasing in the expected net revenues to migration. Having a connection to a person who has already migrated produces social capital. This social capital is one that persons can draw upon in order to gain access to key kinds of financial capital. This financial capital includes high foreign wages, which offer the likelihood of accruing savings in a foreign country and sending the salaries and allowances home (Fraga & Garcia, 2010).
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Social capital results in the persistence of migration through the creation of conditions that enable and encourage the migration of other people. These conditions include decreased costs, easy and improved transmission of information, reduced risks and the increased potential in the flow of income in the future.
The emergence of established communities in the United States is an important step in the growth of the migrant networks. Several families settling changed the process of migration through the direction of streams to work sites in certain United States cities and towns. A socioeconomic organization nurtured around the families, drawing succeeding migrants in ever growing numbers to precise destination points. Jones refers to this process as channelization (Lin, 2008).
Eventually, the network of migrants tends to be self-sustaining due to the social capital that they have availed to the potential migrants. Personal contacts with friends and relatives avail access to the migrants to jobs, financial assistance and housing in the United States. With the extension and elaboration of the web of interpersonal links, the social capital continues to be availed to prospective migrants all over the home community (Lin, 2008).
For setting a strong social capital, there is a need to have bridging. This is the most essential concept since it allows for more material and data to be passed between persons. This results in greater assurance for individuals and groups to become more involved with each other. Eventually, this creates associations that benefit both the individual and the society.
Social capital has been a key contributor to international migrations. It has been made possible through the formation of networks resulting from the daily interpersonal relations that are inherent to human groups. These networks promote the coming together of persons affiliated to a particular group thereby supporting the movement of people, information and goods in a back and forth way between the existing migrants and future migrants. The ability to be converted is considered to be the principal nature of social capital. It is capable of being transformed into other kinds of capital such as financial one. Social capital is accessed through affiliation to social organizations and interpersonal networks. It is then transformed into other capital forms in order to advance or maintain the position of these social institutions in society.