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SOCQUIT report: ICT strengthens social capital

The latest report by EU project SOCQUIT confirms that ICT has a positive effect on social capital.

SOCQUIT is a Specific Support Action (SSA) under Framework Programme 6, which provides support for policy, research, and industry on social aspects of information society technologies (IST). The project explores the effects of new IST services on social capital and quality of life. One of the main project goals is to develop a decision-support software tool, which shows the effects of IST on the development of social capital and quality of life. The new SOCQUIT report contains a literature and data review, including a conceptual framework and implications for IST. It provides an analysis of the policy background and the literature on social capital and quality of life. Based on this analysis, the report presents a preliminary outline of the model that will form the core of the SOCQUIT decision-making tool. The report analyses the development and interdependencies of quality of life and social capital in Europe, based on a comprehensive literature review. Building on this analysis, the report examines how information and communication technologies (ICTs) influence quality of life and social capital. In addition, the document offers a first conceptual framework for the development of SOCQUITs decision-support tool. The literature review indicates that ICTs supplement and, thus, strengthen social capital. This is particularly true in the case of mobile communication, which seems to enhance bonding social capital, that means, it ties the individuals within a group closer to each other. They use communication technology to get in touch with their friends on a rather spontaneous basis. This form of easy, unpremeditated contact has a positive effect on the individuals sense of inclusion. Another result is that the economic and employment potential of ISTs turned out to be less important for the perceived quality of life than the potential IST effects on social capital or leisure.The report can be downloaded from the SOCQUIT deliverable download portal at,http://www.eurescom.de/socquit/Portals/socquit_deliverable_portal.asp ,Further information on SOCQUIT is available at http://www.eurescom.de/socquit/