Putting the Pieces Together


· Social Capital Research

Measuring Social Capital in Italy

I spent 2 hours discussing social capital, how to measure it and comparing my research project with the National Institute of Statistics (Isat) recent survey collection. Many thanks to Franco, Julianna and Alessandra Righli for a fruitful and informative discussion on Isat, the promotion of statistical literacy in Italy and sharing their data. I have utilized Alessandra’s article on measuring social capital in Italy so this was a unique opportunity to speak with her about Isat’s research. Additionally, I spoke with Susanna Peddes, managing director of the Statistical Literacy project, who was unable to attend to the meeting. She conferenced in via phone and explained the structure of Isat (they have an office in each city) and the literacy project which is to make young people aware of statistics and be able to think critically. Isat is in the midst of restructuring how data is collected which will be disclosed by the time the students and I visit Italy in May. Interesting to note is the relationship between Isat and primary/secondary schools. Italy’s legislation imposes secondary schools to engage businesses and companies for statistical projects which helps promote statistical literacy. Therefore, they are contacted by teachers and schools to provide school projects and assignments and they have several e-learning games for students.

The majority of my conversation with Alessandra was about the Institute’s attempt to measure it by focusing on specific domains of social capital (trust, networks and connections) and Isat’s recent Project on Fair and Sustainable Well-being. The survey used indicators that monitor the well-being of Italians regarding the social relations domain. I am not a “stats” person but I do enjoy assessing and applying collected data. Therefore, reviewing their survey results related to young adults, a population I am using as well, was intriguing. Most of the results showed a decline of social capital amongst the three age groups and a difference between North and South Italy. I noticed we used similar survey questions about peers, politics, trust and parental involvement. I was pleased to realize I could compare my population with Italian young adults. The meeting ended with a discussion of the May visit, discussion points, etc. I am looking forward to our visit in May!

Preparing for May 2017

Finally, I spent the morning with the SAI office discussing the May trip which will include days in Rome and Sardina. Lisa Guido, SAI Director of European Trips, spent time on the island this summer and provided an in-depth overview of the culture, people and businesses that are members of Sardex. Our conversation confirmed that visiting the island, specifically Cagliari will provide several experiential learning experiences as students meet with businesses that are members of the Sardex circuit.