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Knitting the social fabric: A non-stereotypical male activity and the creation of social capital

Hewitt, Julia (2010) Knitting the social fabric: A non-stereotypical male activity and the creation of social capital. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This study interviewed men engaging in knitting, in order to gain an understanding of how social capital may be created by this activity. Different types of social capital were examined in terms of their value to the men. Interaction between the three domains of bonding, bridging and linking social capital were explored. Findings showed that all the participants demonstrated a form of unconventional masculine identity, supporting previous research into patterns of masculinity. It found that high levels of bonding, bridging and linking social capital were created by knitting together and sharing skills and by knitting in public places. Philanthropy was a continuous thread running throughout, which does not sit easily in social capital theory due to its lack of reciprocity. The enigmatic definition of trust proved problematic in terms of valuing each dimension and assessing the manner in which they are inextricably interrelated. The well-being of these men is enhanced by the knitting of their very individual social fabric which has also left fingerprints on countless people and benefitted society as a whole.

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