EXPANDING SOCIAL CAPITAL IN THE DIGITAL AGE: PARADOXES

  • The authors:
    Tatyana Leshkevich
    Anna Motozhanets
  • Issue: July 24-26th, 2019
  • Pages: 220-227
  • Section: SOCIAL CAPITAL AND PRESTIGE OF PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION
  • URL: http://conference-ifl.rudn.ru/220-227/
  • DOI:
    10.22363/09669-2019-220-227

Abstract. The article studies the process of expanding social capital in the
digital age. Special attention is given to three main determiners. Firstly, in
the context of digitalization expanding social capital is connected with the
implementation of intelligent systems. Secondly, the phenomenon of
“network cooperation” provides innovative opportunities to develop social
capital. Thirdly, using Big Data might become a rich resource. However,
when studying these factors, we have to confront a number of paradoxes.
The article reveals and classifies paradoxes with regard to the process of
social capital development in the digital age. The authors claim that the first
paradox is related to two opposing processes: massive implementation of
intelligent systems, on the one hand, and “desolation” on the labour market,
on the other. The second paradox is connected with the fact that many
specialists who possess professional knowledge and valuable personal
experience tend to be old-fashioned in their judgements and lack computer
skills. On the other hand, excellent digital skills, which younger people are
quick to acquire, enable them to “borrow” fragmentary and superficial
knowledge rather than develop a profound expertise. The third paradox is
related to a “computer metaphor”, which is based on the analogy between
human brain and intelligent systems, whereby human consciousness is
viewed as an integral model of the world and one’s own self, that follows
the principle of maximum probability for a given scenario. The forth
paradox arises from the fact that together with ample opportunity for
interactive communication the Internet increases loneliness.
The article discusses the phenomenon of “network cooperation” as a factor
of social capital development. The authors differentiate between various
kinds of “network cooperation”. “Crowdsourcing” involves voluntary
cooperation of Internet users, who often remain anonymous. “Noosourcing”
is a kind of network cooperation based on professional communities. The
authors claim that the lack of physical “face-to-face” contact within the new
“network sociality” does not prevent the development of social capital.
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DOI: 10.22363/09669-2019-220-227
It is argued that Big Data technology can contribute to the expansion of
social capital in a rapidly changing digital environment. Big Data helps
collect and structure diverse information, revealing the results of human
activity and bringing “invisible forms” of social capital to light. The article
raises the question of Big Data “social maturity” and demonstrates that the
value of Big Data is not limited to collecting quantitative characteristics. Its
value is also related to processing information, which contributes to
adaptive, managerial and functional effectiveness. Thus, there arises a need
for a new type of subjectness – “data scientist”, who would create a subjectoriented information platform on the basis of Big Data analysis and value
system.
The authors come to the following conclusions. The new digital world has
given rise to “network sociality”. Social networks serve as the basis for
social capital. Developing digital skills becomes the main priority of
education, since information is viewed as the main strategic resource.
Techno-socialization becomes the “meeting place” for an individual and the
modern civilization. The younger generation tends to acquire innovative
digital technologies faster than traditional cultural heritage. Due to the
massive use of online technologies, the Internet is becoming the main
resource for social capital development. Furthermore, when evaluating the
Big Data it is worth mentioning that their “maturity” should be related to
anthropological perspective rather than post-human future. Quantitative
analysis cannot be sufficient since it is the reflexive consideration of the Big
Data that may ensure the transition to a new stage of modern development.
Finally, when analysing the functional aspect of social capital it is important
to consider the gap between the digital world and hybrid physical reality
which integrates various life practices.
Keywords: digital era; social capital; “network cooperation”; “data
scientist”

Tatyana Leshkevich1, Anna Motozhanets2
1
Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia,
e-mail: leshkevicht@mail.ru
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8623-3854
2
Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia,
e-mail: annamt@bk.ru

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