Scaling Up Connections: Everyday Cosmopolitanism, Complexity Theory & Social Capital

Jenny Onyx
Christina Ho
Melissa Edwards
Nina Burridge
Hilary Yerbury


One of the key questions of contemporary society is how to foster and develop social interactions which will lead to a strong and inclusive society, one which accounts for the diversity inherent in local communities, whether that diversity be based on differences in interest or diversity in language and culture. The purpose of this paper is to examine three concepts which are used in the exploration of social interactions to suggest ways in which the interplay of these concepts might provide a richer understanding of social interactions. The three concepts are everyday cosmopolitanism, complexity theory and social capital. Each provides a partial approach to explanations of social interactions. Through focussing on social networking as a significant example of social interactions, we will demonstrate how the concepts can be linked and this linking brings potential for a clearer understanding of the processes through which this inclusive society may develop.

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