Advances in Applied Sociology

Volume 2, Issue 2 (June 2012)

ISSN Print: 2165-4328   ISSN Online: 2165-4336

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.63  Citations  h5-index & Ranking

Social Capital as Dehumanizing Terminology

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DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.22019    3,831 Downloads   6,785 Views  Citations


This paper argues that the term “social capital” is an inappropriate terminology that is unsuited for theory or scientific empirical research. The arguments challenge the metaphor and definition by revealing the phrase to be dehumanizing, oxymoronic, anachronistic, and demeaning, which makes it incorrect, and even immoral, for proper use. It is also argued that the term is 1984-ish vis-à-vis Doublethink and Newspeak. It is recommended that the metaphors for “social capital” and its related term, “human capital,” should be dropped from use. It is further recommended, for the purpose of increased clarity for theory building and for empirical research, and to avoid using dehumanizing terminology, that it is more appropriate to retain the term “social networking” as the general name for the process; such that, when attempting to measure related social networking concepts, researchers should specify operationally defined variable names that are more suited to proper scientific measurement of the research domains. For example, if “friends” are studied as helpers in a social network, that term may be used as a variable name, but under no circumstances should one’s friends, or other people, be referred to or regarded as “capital.”

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Taormina, R. , Kuok, A. & Wei, W. (2012). Social Capital as Dehumanizing Terminology. Advances in Applied Sociology, 2, 143-148. doi: 10.4236/aasoci.2012.22019.

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