Social Atomization and Social Capital
recondite at tuta.io
recondite at tuta.io
Sat Jun 6 21:35:40 PDT 2020
What do you guys think about the loss of social capital through atomization of society via tech?
Trying to figure out the ways that atomization is being sold to the masses as a perk, like working from home, but where it actually makes it easier to control them
Here's a section of the piece I'm working on.
##Atomization and Social Capital##
The relationshipbetween social atomization and social capital is something thathasn’t been so firmly established, if at all. Surely, at firstglance they seem to be similar, almost exactly the same but they’renot. Atomization, in a sociological sense, is the breaking down ofsociety into smaller pieces; in scientific terms to atomize somethingis to spray it, like gasoline into the cylinder of a car. Diffusionis a synonym to both uses.
Social capital,though, is a much slippery term. I think it is most succinctlydefined as: the networks of relationships among people who live andwork in a particular society, enabling that society to functioneffectively.
We have entered aburgeoning era in western society where there is less and less socialcapital needed between people for the society to continue tofunction. For example, most of us don’t need to trust a farmer todeliver food that isn’t poisoned because in the US we have the FDAwhich sets qualifications for producers to meet so that the food inthe grocery store doesn’t harm anybody. There are numerous agenciesand technologies that have the sole purpose of existing in order tolessen the amount of trust that we need in each other. I don’tthink this is a bad evolution in society, to the contrary, I thinkit’s a net benefit for all involved.
Therefore, thedeclining amount of social capital needed in our society for it tofunction is good for our economic production and physical well-being(at least at face value, but that’s a topic for another time.) Onthe other hand, what this allows for is further societal atomizationwithout any harmful effects to economic production and/or physicalwell-being. The danger instead is shifted to our personal lives.Belonging to a community that has no other interest other thangetting together with people that have similar ideologies, the amountof people growing a family, public recreation, and many otherpro-social activities are all declining.
The most recentdevelopment is in the workplace. Many workers have been operatingremotely since the onset of the pandemic and the organizations theywork for have been realizing that productivity has not beendramatically affected. Jack Dorsey recently announced that mostTwitter employees would not be required to come into the office evenafter the pandemic slows, and in general the ability to work fromhome is being sold to us as a perk. But in the long run “Workingfrom Home Post-Coronavirus Will Give Bosses Greater Control ofWorkers’ Lives” as mentioned by Luke Savage in his article of thesame name as well as essentially abolish casual co-workingsocialization and further diminish social capital in the work place.
Frankly, we don’tneed these social aspects in life to have our basic necessities metbut it’s well known that most are beneficial, sometimes critical,for psychological growth and well-being.
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