The basic idea of social capital consists of the belief that individuals’ lives can be made easier and be qualitatively improved by social relationships, or rather by the social resources that these relationships manage to mobilize. So, under certain conditions, personal networks can provide a kind of capital for individuals. This essay examines the characteristics of the personal networks that mobilize social resources in a sample of individuals representative of the population of the city of Verona (Italy). The sample was proportionally stratified by the gender and age (adults from 18 to 65 years old) of the population and comprises a total of 307 cases. By using the social network analysis indicators of social capital, the authors describe the contents and forms of different kinds of social circles (family network, work colleagues network, colleagues in third sector organizations network, friends network, neighbours network) that represent a social resource for individuals. In particular, the authors investigate the distribution among the different social circles of four kinds of social support ties: (i) resources (money, goods, time), (ii) reputation and social credentials, (iii) contacts, (iv) advice and moral support.
Keywords: Social Network Analysis, Social Capital, Third Sector, Social Resource