Sunday, February 19, 2006

"Knowing Your Neighbors" as Social Capital

Again from David Tufte's excellent blog, we get this anecdote comparing how well he knew his neighbors in New Orleans versus how well he knows his neighbors in Utah.
We did not move to Utah for the people or the culture. But in our sample of one, we found that we were invited to people's homes more in the first month of living here than in our total time in either Alabama or Louisiana. Just counting off the top of my head, I have 25 neighbors I know well enough to converse with within the 40 homes closest to me. I'd be hard pressed to for the first names of 25 people in Louisiana I ever met outside of work.
Tufte's experience seems to be at least one counter-example to an often heard claim that Mormons in Utah are cliquish, especially toward non-Mormons (such as Tufte). His real point is about "social capital" and how it is useful and how the lack of it in the South will hinder the reconstruction efforts in New Orleans. His observations certainly go against the stereotypes I've always heard about Southern Hospitality, but since I've never lived down there I'm certainly not qualified to comment.


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  • I have a similar experience here in Michigan. When I lived in souther Idaho (i.e. Utah :)) I seemed to know everyone on the block and beyond. Part of this was because we were members of the same ward of course, but I see generally a less open and riendly atmosphere here.

    By Blogger Eric Nielson, at 2/20/2006 6:48 AM  

  • Almost seven years later! I am non-Mormon but throughout high school in the 1960's and as an older adult in this century, Mormons have always been more friendly than the average person in the community. I was in a ladies's book/discussion group in my (Presbyterian) church and also invited to join a book club that was all Mormon ladies...the Mormon group by far the more genuinely friendly! No, they were not trying to convert me as I had from the onset told them I would "never become a Mormon".

    By Blogger Linda in California, at 1/18/2013 1:54 PM  

  • Thanks for your comment, Linda, and thanks for stopping by!

    By Blogger Bradley Ross, at 1/20/2013 6:05 PM  

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