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Social Capital, Social Identities by Hans Bernhard Schmid, Christoph Henning, Dieter Thomä

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Dieter Thomä, Christoph Henning, and Hans Bernhard Schmid

Introduction

The term “social capital” brings together two seemingly incompatible terms. Human sociability is combined with economic capital. An internal feature of human behavior is paired with an external resource. In this respect, the term “social capital” is comparable to paradoxical terms like “friendly stone” or “human machine”.1 The latter, the human machine, aptly serves as an example for a semantic synthesis of opposites that cuts both ways. On the one hand, if this term is used to describe a machine, the machine appears humanized; on the other hand, if it is used to describe a person, the person appears technicized. We can transfer this dual effect to the term “social capital”: ...

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