Education as Social Capital

Education plays a large role in our lives. As we go through our educational journey, it’s important to understand that we can use education as a way to build our social capital. Social capital refers to resources that are embedded in our interpersonal relationships or institutions. Social capital can vary among people and institutions, but is still a form of resources received throughout our lifetime. I believe that education has a great potential for building social capital because schools have many of the necessary facets that play a large role in the success of a student such as community and academic success.¬†While education in schools are very important to the creation and implementation of social capital among adolescents, education among children and their parents are important for social capital as well. When thinking about how this social capital will work in education, it’s important to think about how each of the four levels of sociological analysis can aid in social capital.


On the societal level, social capital in education can help create opportunities for people to make a difference in some forms of society. On the institutional level, schools educate their students on different topics and this can give students the benefit of not only social capital, but human capital because people can be great resources and helpful in student success. Putnam discusses how different forms of social capital can play different roles in peoples’ lives. For example, students can be hanging outside of school with other students and this is classified as informal social capital being created among a community of students, while if a student is at a parent teacher conference, then this would be formal social capital. One the interpersonal level, this means interacting with one another whether it be students interacting with other students about educational opportunities, teachers directly educating their students, and even symbols that students use to effectively utilize their education. One the intrapsychic level, this is more about what beliefs that these students hold about their education and what they think they can do to make their education different or better. Social capital can contribute greatly to the success of students and can affect many aspects of a persons’ life eve after education has been completed.

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