What Is Social Capital?

  • Markku T. HyyppäEmail author


In this book, social capital is reviewed from the standpoint of public health and epidemiology. Only glimpses of the rich and argumentative scholar reasoning are presented in the first part of book, together with a brief overview of the long history of the concept of social capital. Originally applied in the area of education, the concept was later on theoretically defined by sociologists, to finally become a useful instrument in several disciplines. Social capital has been driven through sociology and traveled from sociology through economics to health sciences, and is now acknowledged as an important determinant of health. But who discovered social capital? Intuitively, many scholars from Antiquity to the twentieth century have pointed in their texts to the significance of human social connections in a manner that resembles current, somewhat heterogeneous opinions about social capital. For instance, in his political and social theories, Aristotle presented ideas with similarities to social capital. However, he and his followers did not mention social capital in its contemporary sense.


Social Capital Social Practice Suicide Rate Social Trust Practical Wisdom 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Health and Welfare, Population StudiesTurkuFinland

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