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Abstract

Social capital is a very influential concept in social science in understanding contemporary societies. It is found to directly and indirectly influence many aspects of social life, such as quality of life. It is also increasingly explored in relation to Information and Communications Technology (ICT). However, little is known about the relationship between ICT and social capital. The study of the relationship is still in its early stages and has not produced consistent results. This paper sets out to provide an analytical review of the literature focusing on the relationship between the two in order to understand how ICT affects social capital and vice versa. It begins by presenting a review of social capital and then builds a framework to classify and organize ICT related social capital studies. Using this framework, we provide an analysis of existing studies in the area. On the basis of this analysis, we identify three gaps in the ICT related social capital research: an imbalance in the levels of analysis between the collective and the individual levels, a lack of theoretical explanation of why and how social capital changes due to ICT, and the limited ability of the research findings to be generalized. We then make suggestions for future research.

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