Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Worlds of Social Capital

A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Trust and Social Networks

Prof. Dr. Markus Freitag, Richard Traunmüller


Within the framework of social capital theory the works of Bourdieu (1983), Coleman (1990) and Putnam (1993, 2000) spurred an intensive debate on the prerequisites and effects of social integration in the social sciences. According to this view, social integration becomes social capital if its different aspects – such as trust, norms of reciprocity and networks – are utilized to foster cooperation and mutual benefits among people. Whereas the positive impact of social capital is well documented, the origins of differing forms of social integration so far remain theoretically vague and are in large parts unexplored by empirical research.

Against this background the project aims at mapping the various worlds of social integration in terms of social trust and network cultures and investigating their cultural and institutional foundations. The primary goal of the research project lies in the systematic and innovative analysis of available cross-cultural datasets, thereby drawing a fine grained picture of existing patterns of social order at different societal and regional levels and identifying the mechanisms of their generation. The adopted research strategy is characterized by a predominantly comparative and quantitative approach as well as an interdisciplinary linkage to other areas of social sciences. A whole range of advanced statistical methods – such as multilevel modelling – are applied.



Richard Traunmüller: Religion und Sozialkapital. Ein doppelter Kulturvergleich. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2012.