HOME Forums Member Discussion Forum Rural community social capital

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    The Angus-Reid Institute recently published summary information from a study of community belonging commissioned by the Community Foundations of Canada. You can find the Angus-Reid summary via http://angusreid.org/community-belonging/. I have a few comments about it.

    1. I appreciate the rural-community-size breakdown and the differences with which they are associated. I haven’t checked out the full report to see how they made this breakdown.
    2. The national, provincial, regional, municipality breakdown is a useful one for our purposes. I was intrigued with the result that the smaller the unit, the more the belonging (in general) – except for the national level where the identity is relatively high. This is useful to compare with our NRE data that indicate that peoples’ assessment of being able to get things done is highest at the smallest level and weakest at the national level.
    3. The Québec results (few joiners) should be cautiously interpreted in the light our NRE findings that most of these studies (this included) focus on associative-based types of connections (Reimer, Bill, Lyons, Tara, Ferguson, Nelson, and Polanco, Geraldina, (2008) “Social capital as social relations: the contribution of normative structures” Sociological Review, 56:2, pp 256-274). Our research found that in Québec (rural at least) the levels of associative-based social capital were relatively low, but this was compensated for by relatively high communal-based levels. Community supports and attachments, therefore, came within different normative structures – and were invisible to the associative focus of these types of surveys. Peoples’ connections to their community and region were more likely to be through family than community groups. Chances are, they relate to very different dynamics of social cohesion. It will be interesting to see how this changes as migration levels change.

    For other interesting results, check out the CFC’s Vital Signs website: http://www.vitalsignscanada.ca/en/home.

    Bill Reimer

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