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Stolle, D., Rochon, T. (1998). Are All Associations Alike? Member Diversity, Associational Type, and the Creation of Social Capital. American Behavioral Scientist 42 (1), 47-65.

Associational memberships have become the indicator of choice for examining the formation and destruction of social capital. Memberships in associations are believed to create generalized interpersonal trust, which can be used as a lubricant that makes possible a variety of forms of social interaction and cooperation. Clearly, not all types of associations will be equally effective in their relative capacity to create generalized, or public, social capital. Each indicator of social capital that we examine is positively related to associational membership. However, some association memberships, particularly in cultural groups, are correlated with a wide range of forms of social capital. The diversity of an association also has an effect on the connection between social capital and association memberships. Homogeneous associations are less likely to inculcate high levels of generalized trust and community reciprocity among their members. These results indicate the need for further specification of the social capital theory.


Stolle, Dietlind

Dietlind Stolle is Associate Professor in Political Science at McGill University, Montréal, Canada. She conducts research and has published on voluntary associations, trust, institutional foundations of social capital, ethnic-racial diversity and its consequences on social cohesion, and...

Rochon, Thomas R.

Thomas R. Rochon became the eighth president of Ithaca College on July 1, 2008. He holds a doctorate and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan, where he graduated with high distinction. Prior to his selection as the president of Ithaca College, Rochon served...

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