Book Chapter

Social Capital and the Social Relations of Occupational Structure



Griffiths D & Lambert P (2015) Social Capital and the Social Relations of Occupational Structure. In: Li Y (ed.) Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Social Capital. Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 204-224.

This chapter reviews the use of social capital data in analyses of the occupational structure, and the use of occupational data when studying the social capital held by individuals. For the first scenario, we focus on approaches which have been applied in sociology since the 1960s to analyse statistical patterns in the social interactions between members of different occupations, an approach traditionally perceived as measuring ‘social distance', rather than as an analysis of social capital (for example Stewart et al., 1980). We describe how social distance analysis is used to measure occupational advantage, and relate this to other methodologies and to other relevant literature on social capital. For the second scenario, we consider the tradition of social capital research which has used occupational data as indicators of relative social advantage, exploring the development of ‘position generators' as a mechanism for estimating the occupational resources available to others. We then use data on occupational connections within an individual's social networks that we have obtained from a household survey in order to illustrate the two approaches

Social capital; Position generators; Occupational structure

Title of seriesHandbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Publication date31/12/2015
PublisherEdward Elgar
Publisher URL…n-social-capital
Place of publicationCheltenham
ISBN978 0 85793 584 7
eISBN978 0 85793 585 4

People (2)


Dr David Griffiths

Dr David Griffiths

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Professor Paul Lambert

Professor Paul Lambert

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Research centres/groups