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Il differenziale di capitale sociale e fiducia fra uomini e donne. Una rassegna degli studi e una prima analisi dei dati di survey


In spite of the great interest aroused by the notion of social capital in the scientific community, in publications, including popular ones, and in the world of journalism, and in spite of the amount of research and publications produced over the years, the topic of the relationship between social capital and gender seems to have been rather neglected for a long time (Molyneux, 2002). In the reference authors on the concept of social capital, from Coleman (2005) to Bourdieu (1980) from Granovetter (1998) to Putnam (2004), it is difficult to find, if not a thematisation, at least a reference to a gender difference in relation to the endowment of social capital. Nor, however, can it be assumed that they consider the issue of gender indifferent to the endowment of social capital, its activation and its forms. As early as 1988, Campbell had already shown the differences in male and female relational networks: women's networks were, both numerically and in terms of prestige, poorer, with consequences in terms of the very 'productivity' of social capital. Assuming that networks help to find work, female ones helped to find it later than male ones. Another researcher, Burt (1998), had shown that the benefits of being at the centre of 'structural holes', i.e. having a wealth of relationships linking different groups that have no other channels to communicate, benefits men but risks slowing down the career path of women for whom, on the other hand, integration in strongly hierarchised networks headed by a single male person constitutes a competitive advantage. In short, the evidence of the relevance of gender for a complete conceptualisation of social capital is almost contemporary to the focus of the concept itself and yet, it is only in recent years that the issue seems to have acquired a significant centrality in research and studies.