The much debated concept of social capital, although beset with definitional and measurement problems, provides a useful lens through which to analyse issues of interpersonal relationships and social cohesion in diverse urban communities. To date the literature reveals limited application of social capital theories to the world of children, or to religious diversity. A theoretical framework of different types of capital operating in various social fields suggested by Bourdieu, allows us to see children as social agents operating in a complex social and religious environment.
This paper, based on some findings from 2003–2004 research funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on Children’s Perspectives on Believing and Belonging, discusses the social networks and social capital resources of pre adolescent children in multi-ethnic neighbourhoods in two English cities. Data drawn from in depth interviews with nearly 100 children, aged between 9 and 11 years, from Muslim, Hindu, Sikh and Christian backgrounds, classroom data gathering and participant observation in the schools and neighbourhoods allow us to address these questions from the children’s own viewpoint.
Although the research is almost 20 years old, it shows how for many children, religious affiliation and involvement in the activities of local religious institutions, played a major role in shaping their social networks and their use of time and space. It reveals a complex interplay of religious and ethnic identities, children from all faith backgrounds who varied in the level of their involvement and commitment to organised or personal religion, and lifestyles in which religious organisations continued to play a significant part for the majority of children. While religion in itself is not necessarily a barrier to friendships and bridging social capital, the strong bonding associated with faith communities in neighbourhoods divided along ethno-religious lines may make it difficult for children to sustain cross community relationships.
Animal-borne video cameras equipped with depth and temperature sensors were deployed on 16 reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) in Raa Atoll, Maldives and 12 oceanic manta rays (Mobula birostris) in the Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico. These deployments provided descriptive behavioural data that give vital context to existing biotelemetry data and enabled a comparison of the social dynamics between the two manta ray species. Overall, cruising was the most dominant daytime behaviour recorded for both species. For M. alfredi, cleaning was the second most common behaviour, followed by courtship and feeding. No courtship behaviour was recorded for M. birostris. Across M. alfredi and M. birostris deployments, individuals spent an average of 43 and 8% of recorded time interacting with conspecifics, respectively. Sociability was higher in M. alfredi than M. birostris, however the findings should be interpreted with caution beyond the two deployment populations and times. Crittercams captured multiple courtship events of M. alfredi at depths greater than recreational scuba diving limits and captured previously undocumented interspecific interactions with M. mobular. Crittercam deployments also recorded M. alfredi travelling in groups and hugging the contours of the ocean floor, possibly as a tactic to reduce predation risk and/or improve swimming efficiency, enforcing the importance of this novel technology as a valuable tool to gain new insight into the ecological drivers of habitat use by these species. Lastly, these quantitative and descriptive results provide context for future hypothesis-driven research questions using animal-borne video cameras for mobulid rays.