The sociability of nations: international comparisons in bonding, bridging and linking social capital
It seems obvious to suggest that a sociable nation would be a good place to live. But how do we identify which nations are sociable and which are not? Anecdotal evidence is powerful but contradictory.
We might embrace the idea that the family and the local neighbourhood make up the backbone of a nation, and point to countries such as Italy and Spain as examples of sociable nations. We can picture rustic images of multiple generations of grandparents, parents and children playing and dining together in village squares, with open and obvious displays of mutual warmth and affection. This can be contrasted against visions of more restrained, isolated and atomized individuals populating the countries of central and northern Europe to complete a stereotype of socially 'warm' Mediterranean and 'cold' northern European countries. However, if we take a broader picture of civil society as the