Neighborhood social capital as differential social organization: Resident and leadership dimensions

Robert J. Sampson, Corina Graif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


This article treats social capital as a multidimensional phenomenon along which neighborhoods are differentially organized. The authors assess this notion by linking two original surveys carried out in Chicago based on community residents (N = 8,782) and positional leaders (N = 2,822) representing six organizational dimensions. These data are used to examine both the dimensionality and structural predictors of neighborhood social organization. Results show that the social capital of Chicago communities encapsulates four distinct dimensions at the residential level and two at the leadership level. Moreover, dimensions of leadership-based social capital are for the most part inversely related to resident-based social capital and differentially predicted by concentrated disadvantage, residential stability, and racial/ethnic diversity. Based on multidimensional scaling and clustering of the communities, the authors derive a conceptual typology highlighted by four distinct groups-Cosmopolitan Efficacy, Urban Villages, Institutional Alienation, and Conduct Norms. The authors discuss implications and suggest new directions for exploration of community differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1579-1605
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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