, Volume 33, Issue 4, pp 625-644,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 07 Oct 2010

Virtual Civil Society: The New Frontier of Social Capital?


Although many scholars agree that social interactions within traditional social groups build social capital, there is less consensus on the benefits of virtual interactions for political engagement. Our research examines how interpersonal social group activity and virtual activity contribute to two dimensions of social capital: citizen norms and political involvement. We rely on data collected in the 2005 Citizenship Involvement in Democracy survey conducted by the Center for Democracy and Civil Society at Georgetown University. This survey provides unique detail on participation in both social groups and virtual interactions. Our findings suggest that social group activity and virtual interactions both foster many of the same positive aspects of social capital.