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Marshall Center alumni networks strengthen multinational security cooperation.

Building Social Capital

October 2014, Number 05.04

“Political scientist Robert D. Putnam (1995) argues that social capital fosters cooperation based on shared norms. He defines social capital as social networks based on shared norms and trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefits. “Social capital,” Francis Fukuyama (2002) explains, “is what permits individuals to band together to defend their interests and organize to support collective needs” (p. 26). It improves collective trust and social cohesion and positively correlates with economic growth, international trade, macroeconomic stability, and political and civic involvement (Beugelsdijk and Schaik, 2005).

Given its relevance, a question naturally arises: How can social capital develop in the security context? Previous research has looked at international education in the military environment as a transmitter of democratic values and norms and as a facilitator of professional networking (Kennedy, 1998; The Economist, 2011). However, existing literature features no empirical research on the development of social capital in the context of global security.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to establish an academic understanding of social capital in the security context and to explore the extent to which international education of security professionals develops social capital...”

Excerpt from Eliza Maria Markley, “Building Social Capital,” per Concordiam: Journal of European Security Defense Issues 5, No. 4, 2014: 54-57.

Dr. Eliza Maria Markley is a visiting professor of sociology at Kennesaw State University in the United States. In a 17-year career with the Romanian Army, Markley served in positions at home and abroad dealing mostly with media and communications. She earned a doctorate in international conflict management. She is a 2002 graduate of the Marshall Center’s Leaders of the 21st Century course, and in 2012 returned to the center as a visiting scholar.

This article reflects the views of the author and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.