Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life

Paperback | October 19, 2010

byMario Luis Small

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Social capital theorists have shown that some people do better than others in part because they enjoy larger, more supportive, or otherwise more useful networks. But why do some people have better networks than others? Unanticipated Gains argues that the practice and structure of the churches,colleges, firms, gyms, childcare centers, and schools in which people happen to participate routinely matter more than their deliberate "networking." Exploring the experiences of New York City mothers whose children were enrolled in childcare centers, this book examines why a great deal of these mothers, after enrolling their children, dramatically expanded both the size and usefulness of their personal networks. Whether, how, and how much themother's networks were altered - and how useful these networks were - depended on the apparently trivial, but remarkably consequential, practices and regulations of the centers. The structure of parent-teacher organizations, the frequency of fieldtrips, and the rules regarding drop-off and pick-uptimes all affected the mothers' networks. Relying on scores of in-depth interviews with mothers, quantitative data on both mothers and centers, and detailed case studies of other routine organizations, Small shows that how much people gain from their connections depends substantially oninstitutional conditions they often do not control, and through everyday processes they may not even be aware of.Emphasizing not the connections that people make, but the context in which they are made, Unanticipated Gains presents a major new perspective on social capital and on the mechanisms producing social inequality.

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Social capital theorists have shown that some people do better than others in part because they enjoy larger, more supportive, or otherwise more useful networks. But why do some people have better networks than others? Unanticipated Gains argues that the practice and structure of the churches,colleges, firms, gyms, childcare centers, a...

Mario Luis Small is Associate Professor of Sociolgy and the College at the University of Chicago. He is author of Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in Boston Barrio (Chicago 2004) which was awarded the 2004 C. Wright Mills Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems and the 2005 Robert E. Park Award for ...

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Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life
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Kobo ebook|Jul 2 2009

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:October 19, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199764093

ISBN - 13:9780199764099

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Table of Contents

PrefacePart I: Personal Ties in Organizational Settings1. Social Capital and Organizational Embeddedness2. Childcare Centers and Mothers' WellbeingPart II: Social Ties3. Opportunities and Inducements4. Weak and Strong Ties5. Trust and ObligationsPart III: Organizational Ties6. Ties to Other Entities7. Organizational Ties and Neighborhood EffectsPart IV: Beyond Childcare Centers8. Extensions and ImplicationsAppendices: A Multimethod Case StudyAppendix A: The ProcessAppendix B: Quantitative DataAppendix C: Qualitative DataNotesIndex