ارتباط بین ادراک نا امنی، سرمایه اجتماعی و رفاه ذهنی : شواهد تجربی از مناطق جنگی روستایی در کلمبیا
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|4226||2011||9 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : The Journal of Socio-Economics, Volume 40, Issue 1, February 2011, Pages 88–96
Subjective well-being (SWB), the evaluation that people carry out of their lives, has been proposed as an alternative measure of tracking the development of communities instead of economic growth. As part of a more general research question, in which we tested the impact of subjective insecurity on the choice of hybrid organizational modes, we hypothesized that subjective insecurity does negatively correlate with SWB and that subjective and objective insecurities are not significantly correlated. Subjective insecurity consisted of three items: perceptions of political, economic and communitarian insecurity. We proposed that the relationship between insecurity and SWB is moderated by the level of social capital found in the region. Social capital was defined as inter-personal trust as well as the frequency of participation of producers in voluntary associations. We used multiple and multilevel regression models to test the hypotheses. Based on a survey of 742 rural producers in five conflicted areas we found that the perceptions of insecurity do correlate significantly (negatively) with levels of SWB and we also found a significant contribution of social capital to levels of SWB. Significant correlations between demographic variables and SWB corroborated results of previous research. These results have important implications for public policy and future research.
Development studies have suffered from a materialistic bias (Easterlin, 1995 and Easterlin, 2001). For instance, the predominant emphasis on economic growth has neglected other important issues such as peace and security which have been previously studied as public goods, not as commodities, and thus have not been measured as contributing to development. In contrast to seeing societal development as economic growth, other conceptual streams, such as the human development movement (Sen, 1999 and Haq, 1999) refer to development “of, by and for the people”. This approach understands societal development as the promotion and advance of human and social well-being. Subjective well-being (SWB) explores the self-evaluations carried out by people of how satisfied they are with their lives including both positive and negative evaluations. It is a subjective appraisal which includes a cognitive and an affective dimension (Wills, 2009). For instance, individuals measure their SWB in a number of different ways (Kim-Prieto et al., 2005) rating their satisfaction with different life domains in a bottom-up procedure (Cummins, 1996 and Brief et al., 1993). Individuals evaluate their well-being in different setting and contexts including their subjective evaluation of security (Wills-Herrera et al., 2009). In this paper we argue that the perception of satisfaction with security is one of the important life domains which influence evaluations of subjective well-being. We also state that social connections, social capital, plays an important role in influencing perceptions of insecurity. Belongingness to social networks is one of the main facets of social capital. Social capital entails the capital that can be accumulated in social relationships and can be conceptualized as a resource for action (Coleman, 1988). Social capital flows through social connections and individuals’ potential to make connections. Prior to the emergence of the human development concept (Sen, 2006 and Jolly and Ray, 2007), development largely meant progress. Well-being was related to a person's income levels and other non-material values such as belonging to social networks and social connections were not taken into account. Under the human development approach (Gasper, 2005), the definition of well-being includes particular facets or dimensions of life, including feelings of security. Feelings of security can be seen as part of a human security concept which has been proposed as an individual centered process diverging from the security notion derived from the military forces available to protect a specific nation or country (Gasper et al., 2008 and Gasper, 2010). For instance, the commission on human security (Ogata and Sen, 2003) defines it as “protecting the vital core of all humans’ lives in ways that enhance human freedoms and human fulfillment”. So, human security is not limited to the negative dimension of the absence of violent conflict but includes safeguarding opportunities for people to build their strengths and aspirations. We distinguish insecurity as the opposite variable of security. It is a people-centered and multi-dimensional concept. We explore this concept in rural settings of conflictive Colombia where political and social conflict has pervaded the economic activity over the last 50 years. We hypothesize that subjective insecurity is a different variable from objective facts of violent conflict, and state that subjective perception of insecurity is negatively correlated with an individual's well-being. We propose that social capital as personal connections and a sense of belonging to social networks moderates the relationship between subjective insecurity and subjective well-being. Thus: H1. Perceptions of security are a different construct than objective indicators of insecurity and both constructs are poorly correlated. H2. SWB is negatively influenced by levels of perceived insecurity (personal, community and political). H3. Social capital, as membership of voluntary associations, and trust and reciprocity is positively associated with subjective well-being and it moderates the relationship between perceptions of insecurity and SWB. H4. SWB is significantly different for women as compared to men, to highly educated individuals as compared to less educated individuals, to married couples as compared to other marital status, and is positively associated with income. This research is important because it tests with empirical evidence from a conflictive environment, how subjective insecurity as a component of human security influences SWB and how such relationship is moderated by social capital. It is also important because it states that people construct safeguards against violence and conflict through participation in community networks and activities (social capital) which generates feelings of protection for the individual. Results of this relationship have both theoretical and practical implications for public policy.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This research focused on the relationship between subjective insecurity and subjective well-being and the moderating effect of social capital on that relationship. Both models (multiple and multilevel) confirm the hypothesis that perception of insecurity influences negatively SWB. Individuals with lower perception of insecurity have higher levels of SWB. This important result stresses the idea that insecurities are held in people's minds and subjective perceptions, not only objective events, influence the individual well-being of people. Social capital at the individual, municipal and regional level has significant effects on both perceptions of insecurity and SWB in the sense that the higher the level of social capital the lower the influence of insecurities on SWB. This result corroborates previous research in the sense that people use networks or associations as a buffer effect against insecurity through the spreading of information in close networks about events that affect people's fears and insecurities. SWB is influenced in a positive way, by the existence of social networks and the trust and reciprocity levels that exist in the community. These variables reduce the negative effect of insecurity over SWB. This is an important result because it corroborates previous theoretical findings of the positive influence of social connections on well-being (Islam et al., 2009) and suggests that to associate and act collectively is a strategic response to insecurities and violent events at the contextual level. It has also important practical implications for public policy, empowerment of communities and strengthening of voluntary associations at the local level. Three main facets of perceptions of insecurity were found: political, economical and communitarian. These three items combined explain more than 30% of the variance of SWB. Political insecurity includes not only feelings of fear to exert civil rights but also fear to lose one's own life. Communitarian insecurity contributes to explain 5.1% of SWB. In rural zones people feel more well-being when they participate freely in a community and also when they participate in the construction of strong ties within their community. We also note that communitarian subjective insecurity correlated positively with political insecurity. Perceptions of economic insecurity explained 3.8% of SWB. It is a small contribution; a result which is coherent with results found in previous research in the sense that individual incomes do not explain SWB after a certain level of income (Easterlin, 1995). People need to develop social capacities and maintain social relationships above income generation to feel well. Our results confirm another set of previous research in the sense that satisfaction with security is a dimension of the PWI (Cummins et al., 2003). If SWB is measured from a bottom-up approach, with facets, and not as a global measure of satisfaction (Diener et al., 1985), security becomes an important dimension of the SWB construct. Previous research has suggested that SWB may have an individual stable level due to homo-stasis or a treadmill effect (Cummins et al., 2003 and Brickman et al., 1978). This treadmill effect suggests that people adapt to hard conditions of life, showing resilience to overcome conflictive events and situations and accommodate to new conditions of life in conflictive environments. Our results show that, as rural producers have to survive because migrating or displacing is not an option for everybody, people develop strategic responses via social capital and association to conflictive environments. This strategic response may explain why SWB is maintained at a constant level despite negative insecurity conditions. Correlations between subjective perceptions of insecurity and objective hard data of violent events were mixed. Objective hard data of insecurity and violence did not correlate significantly with subjective well-being suggesting that cognitive representations and feelings of insecurity influence people's evaluations of satisfaction with their lives. We propose that an adaptation effect to insecurity takes place in the minds of people living in regions with conflict. People adapt their minds to objective data that signal potential insecurities and develop survival strategies. Future research is needed in order to define how particular survival strategies influence perceptions of insecurity and consequent actions. Political insecurity explained a larger part of the variance found in SWB as compared to economic or communitarian insecurity. This result signals the importance of viewing the Colombian conflict as a political conflict where individuals fear to express their political views or belonging to a political movement. Future research is needed to explain why some objective indicators of insecurity explain some of the subjective insecurities and others not. Regarding the influence of demographic variables on subjective well-being, two interesting effects were found: on the one hand less educated people showed significantly higher levels of SWB and people not formally married showed lower levels of subjective well-being. To find that SWB is influenced by contextual dimensions not only by dispositional factors is an important result that adds to our current knowledge. These results give interesting insights of how demographical variables at multiple levels influence levels of SWB. Older people experience higher levels of SWB which may also signal the process of becoming accustomed to adverse contextual environments. Older people may learn how to adapt to extreme conditions and develop coping strategies to deal with insecurities such as creating associations for producing and distributing agricultural goods. As a synthesis, the findings of this research let us conclude that individual SWB is influenced by perceptions of insecurity and that these perceptions are influenced by their social connections and life experiences. For instance, in environments with high political conflicts it is expected that individuals have difficulties to exert their civil and political rights so that political insecurity may prevail over other kinds of insecurities. Finally, these results highlight the importance of integrating two conceptual streams that have been developed independently. The stream found in human development and human security thinking leaded by Amartya Sen and Mahbib-ul Haq and the recent research in subjective well-being and happiness found in the social-psychological literature (Diener, 2000, Veenhoven, 2000 and Cummins et al., 2003), economics (Easterlin, 2001 and Oswald, 2003) and in Journals such as Journal of Happiness Studies. By the integration of concepts such as human security as part of the multi-dimensional construct of subjective well-being, theoretical and practical implications of these streams of research may be furthered. The relationship between social capital and SWB may also be extrapolated to other contexts. Although some empirical studies have found no differences between rural and urban levels of SWB, in this study we found that social capital (trust, reciprocity and social network) in the Colombian context has a higher impact on rural people than on urban people. Urban people are less dependent of their closest community to survive. The fact that violence facts have a limited influence over perception of insecurity shows that the existence of insecurity perceptions is not limited to violent environments; other causes should be analyzed to explain those perceptions. However the important point is that at the extent of insecurity perceptions are higher in the people life, their feelings of SWB as an integral construct, will tend to be lower. The relationship between social capital and SWB may also be extrapolated to other contexts. Although some empirical studies have found no differences between rural and urban observations in reference to SWB, the rural conditions could represent a limit for the generalization of this result because the social capital (trust, reciprocity and social network) at least in the Colombian context has a higher impact on rural people than it is on urban people. Urban people are less dependent of the closest community to survive. Finally, results in this research have practical implications for public policies such as strengthening communitarian networks as buffer mechanisms against violent events, strengthening trust in associations through more education and training, and strengthening networks for production as a strategy to survive conflictive environments in rural areas Our research has limitations that must be considered: Representativeness of the sample was partial. We could not have a complete inventory of households in the rural areas because survey information at this level is not complete. This creates external validity restrictions. With regards to SWB as a dependent variable we could not use all the items of the PWI because of budget and time limitations in a survey that included more than 50 questions. Therefore we worked with a proxy for SWB. Multilevel analysis was made in its most simple way, with random effect only in intercepts. To deepen our theoretical and practical understanding it is necessary to know in detail the random effect not only for the studied variables at the second and third levels but also in relation to other control variables that were not considered in this research.