A New Approach to the Social Capital and Social Networks of Australian Families

Sheila Watkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


In today's Australin society family is active and engaged and it is through this connected nature that it is able to provide a type of value to its members. This value is seen as social capital. The ability of the family to generate social cpaital through its networks makes the family an interactive social entity, underpinning its position as part of the structure of society with some social networks more able to supply benefits than others. This paper presents the findings of an empirical study on the value of social networks to seventeen families living in Sydney, Australia and what might account for the variance between benefits. It contends that: 1) network particiaption varies with limited interactions affecting how families are able to leverage their networks; 2) resource exchange is either facilitated or constrained by the locations and communities in which families are embedded; 3) network exchange is compromised because the family is generally thought of as a privae unit. In this view, self-reliance is seen as the sole providence of a family. This limits network exchange because it is seen as impacting on the independence of the family.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Australian Sociological Association, Conference
EditorsS. Velayutham, Ebert. N., S. Watkins
Place of PublicationSydney
PublisherThe Australian Sociological Association
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780646546285
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventAustralian Sociological Association Annual Conference (2010) - Sydney
Duration: 6 Dec 20109 Dec 2010


ConferenceAustralian Sociological Association Annual Conference (2010)


  • Family
  • Social Capital
  • Social Networks
  • Independence
  • Engagement


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