Understanding Personal Networks as Social Capital

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


The main aim of this chapter is to compare the social capital structures produced by personal networks in Portugal, Switzerland, and Lithuania. On the one hand, we hypothesise that the type of social capital is primarily associated with the composition of personal configurations. On the other hand, we also expect that social capital structures are shaped by the constraints and opportunities associated with different welfare regimes, social policies, and level of social development in each country. Findings show that both Portuguese and Lithuanian networks are characterised by a bonding type of social capital, although in Portugal the interdependencies rely on the exchange of emotional support, whereas in Lithuania the interdependencies stem from face-to-face interactions. Switzerland, in contrast, is characterised by a bridging type of social capital.


Personal networks Personal configurations Social capital Bonding and bridging types of social capital Comparative analysis Portugal Switzerland Lithuania 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Social SciencesUniversity of LisbonLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.Life Course and Inequality Research CentreUniversity of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  4. 4.Sociological Research LaboratoryMykolas Romeris UniversityVilniusLithuania

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