V. P. Babintsev, D. V. Khripkova, K. A. Khripkov, P. K. Velikikh. Formation of the Social Capital of Urban Communities in the Context of Digitalization of the Urban Environment

UDК 332.1:004

doi: 10.15507/2413-1407.122.031.202301.166-181


Introduction. Currently, the development and convergence of virtual digital practices actualizes the need for theoretical and methodological understanding of the transformations of social capital in the urban environment. The purpose of the article is to explore the process of changing the mechanisms for the formation of social capital, based on expert assessments and the results of an analysis of public opinion, as well as conjunctive processes that are being transformed under the influence of the digitalization of urban spaces.

Methodology and Methods. The methodological basis of the study consists of the provisions of the social capital theory, the theory of social conjunction; the concept of digitalization of social reality. The empirical base of the scientific article includes the results of a complex of sociological studies conducted by a team of authors of Belgorod State University in 2020–2022. The research data has made it possible to determine the dispositions of various population groups in relation to the social consolidation of urban communities in the context of the digitalization of the urbanized environment, as well as to identify the specifics of values, attitudes and behavioral motives in the implementation of consolidation practices.

Results. On the basis of empirical data, it has been possible to reveal that the process of forming and building up the social capital of urban communities has serious limitations that do not disappear in the course of digitalization of the urban environment. On the one hand, this process creates opportunities for consolidation based on social digital platforms; on the other hand, network social capital turns out to be very fragile, since it does not involve “live communication” and does not connect the participants of the interaction with reliable grounds.

Discussion and Conclusion. The analysis has made it possible to note that, while creating new conditions for communication and unification of citizens, digitalization also leads to the emergence of new barriers, the most significant of which is the lack of “real life communication”, which prevents the participants of interaction from being bound by reliable grounds. Prospects for further research on the topic under study are related to the development of such criteria that will allow us to assess the sociodynamics of the process of the social capital forming in urban communities, as well as the process of consolidation.

Keywords: social capital, urban communities, digitalization of the urban environment, social conjunction, social trust, territorial identity, urbanized environment

Conflict of interests. The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Funding. This research was funded by the Russian Science Foundation. Project No. 21-18-00150 (https://rscf.ru/project/21-18-00150).

For citation: Babintsev V.P., Khripkova D.V., Khripkov K.A., Velikikh P.K. Formation of the Social Capital of Urban Communities in the Context of Digitalization of the Urban Environment. Russian Journal of Regional Studies. 2023;31(1):166–181. doi: https://doi.org/10.15507/2413-1407.122.031.202301.166-181


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Submitted 28.07.2022; revised 05.09.2022; accepted 14.09.2022.

About the authors:

Valentin P. Babintsev, Dr. Sci. (Philosophy), Professor, Department of Social Technologies and Public Service, Belgorod State National Research University (85 Pobeda St., Belgorod 308015, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2526-7652, babintsev@bsu.edu.ru

Dianna V. Khripkova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Associate Professor, Department of Social Technologies and Public Service, Belgorod State National Research University (85 Pobeda St., Belgorod 308015, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2526-7652, davtyan@bsu.edu.ru

Kirill A. Khripkov, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Senior Lecturer, Department of International Relations, Foreign Regional Studies and Political Science, Belgorod State National Research University (85 Pobeda St., Belgorod 308015, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0635-3187, khripkov@bsu.edu.ru

Pavel K. Velikikh, Postgraduate Student, Department of Social Technologies and Public Service, Belgorod State National Research University (85 Pobeda St., Belgorod 308015, Russian Federation), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9300-1963, velikikh@bsu.edu.ru

Contribution of the authors:

V. P. Babintsev – scientific supervision; formulation of the scientific research problem; formulation of the scientific hypothesis of the study; definition of research objectives; critical analysis of the research results and revision of the text.

D. V. Khripkova – collection and primary analysis of data; development of research methodology; collection, systematization and processing of analytical information; preparation of the initial version of the text; critical analysis and revision of the text.

K. A. Khripkov – collection, systematization and structuring of analytical information; search and systematization of materials in foreign sources; critical analysis and revision of the text.

P. K. Velikih – a review of the literature on the research topic; preparation of graphic materials.

The authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.


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