Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Artemio Ramirez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Janelle Applequist, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Travis R. Bell, M.S.


social networks, relational exchange, social capital, social economy


As society continues to shift into the digital age, the relationship between social exchange and economic activity is becoming increasingly homogenous. The success of digital products are largely sustained upon the leverage of social relationships and the quasi-sharing of material items, services, and digital media. Emergence of the sharing and on-demand economies is evidence of the necessity to understand social exchange as a form of economic transaction. As such, this study attempts to conceptualize and define the concept of social wealth to understand the basis of an economic synthesis. In attempt to theoretically integrate the concept, a mixed methods design utilizing a grounded theory approach serves to set precedence for a future area of study. Data is collected through a series of focus groups before analysis through a linguistic processing program. The data reveals a proposed definition for social wealth in addition to a proposed series of socioeconomic models of how social wealth is produced, accumulated, and transferred.