‘Neighbourhood is if they come out and talk to you’: Neighbourly connections and bonding social capital

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Sociology, 2018, 54 (4), pp. 557 - 573
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© The Author(s) 2017. Neighbourly relations have been theorised as ‘friendly distance’ in contrast to connections which are theorised as strong or intensive ties. The article explores the neighbourly relationships between residents of a peri-urban regional area outside Sydney in Australia. Strong interview themes emerged regarding the ways in which residents who were well connected within their locality talked about their neighbours, and this was in direct contrast to those living with a chronic condition – these people expressed a lack of connection with their neighbours. The major theme, ‘not in each other’s pockets’ reflects the negotiated nature of neighbour interactions, while the theme ‘neighbourhood is if they come out and talk to you’ speaks of isolation. The interactions of neighbours may in many cases constitute bonding capital as important weak or casual ties. These may not be available to the chronically ill or socially isolated or adequate without linking and bridging capital.
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