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Dear SOCNETters,

as part of my PhD dissertation project, I am designing a full-network study of a group of coworkers who exchange multiple resources. The aim would be to provide an empirical test in a natural setting of two competing theories of the emergence of solidarity among strangers: the Affect Theory of Solidarity (works by Lawler, Yoon and Thye) and the Reciprocity Theory of Solidarity (works by Molm, Collett and Schaefer). I am turning to you as I’m experiencing some difficulties in the operationalization of solidary behaviour in dyadic terms. I haven’t found any empirical work which directly measures the behavioural dimension of social solidarity through network data. So far, I have decided to:

  1. Measure “solidary behaviour” in terms of “helping behaviour” in situations of need, which is one of the behavioural dimensions suggested by Lindenberg in his chapter in Fararo & Doreian (eds.), “The Problems of Solidarity” (1998).
  2. Do this through 3-4 name-generators which identify coworkers to whom the respondent would turn to in the event of situations of need for instrumental and emotional support.

I still have doubts on the validity of expectations of help/support to measure the behavioural dimension of social solidarity. Moreover, I would very much profit from suggestions on accurate name-generators: is an indirect measurement of Alter's behaviour (expectation of being helped) better of collecting data on actual events of getting help/support from Alter in the past? 

I wonder if there’s some past work which could be pointed to me, both theoretical and (more importantly) on measurement.

Thanks in advance for your help,

I am looking forward to your replies.

Federico Bianchi

PhD Candidate, Economic Sociology and Labour Studies
Department of Economics and Management,
University of Brescia.
GECS - Research Group on Experimental and Computational Sociology
NASP - Network for the Advancement of Social and Political Studies
Via San Faustino, 74/B - 25122 Brescia (Italy)
+39 333 4977852
skype: federicobianchi87

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