Life in context – The ISSP module 2017 ‘Social networks and social resources’

Since August 2019 the integrated data of the ISSP 2017 module on ‘Social Networks and Social Resources’ is available to the social science research community. The publication encompasses data from 30 ISSP member countries from all over the world.

Ever since the last fielding of an ISSP module on social networks in 2001, the setting of social relationships and social interaction has massively changed, e.g., through the decrease of welfare provisions and the expanding use of social media. These developments are reflected by the adoption of new topics in the questionnaire, such as ‘perceived integration’ and ‘social interaction in the social media era’. Apart from these innovations, the responsible drafting group lead by the Swiss ISSP member took into account recent theoretical as well as methodological approaches to the study of social networks. Thus, the core of the questionnaire is composed of a position generator measuring the social position of the respondent, as well as a resource generator, which asks about the access to resources covering the various forms of social capital. According to Joye et al. (2019) this allows both to “analyse the general level of social integration and network range” and having at the same time “information about the concrete resources accessible through social relations.” The generator questions were furthermore adapted to the international context of ISSP, e.g., by identifying and applying functionally equivalent occupations and social positions. The focus on Western perceptions condensed in items of the previous ‘Social Network’ modules were critically reflected and adapted to a broader perspective, e.g., the option to access bureaucratic circles via social support, where formal resources would be considered the standard in many Western countries.

The data enables for cross-national comparison as well as cross-time comparison with the preceding modules on Social Networks of 1986 and 2001. You can access it free of charge via the GESIS Data Catalogue (DBK):

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Joye, D.; Sapin, M.; Wolf, C. (2019): Measuring Social Networks and Social Resources: An Exploratory ISSP Survey around the World, GESIS Schriftenreihe, 22). Köln: GESIS-Leibniz Institut für Sozialwissenschaften).