Geography of development: Development, civil society and inequality - social capital is (almost) dead?
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This article examines social capital controversies in the development field. Social capital's approach to social interaction has not analyzed social differences, such as gender and ethnicity. Some questions are being asked about power difference in development contexts. Relations of gender and ethnicity are primary aspects of social division and difference in participation, political legitimacy and development priorities at all scales of development intervention. More work is needed in specific contexts to examine how gendered actors contribute to, and may be excluded from, different aspects of social capital and subsequent development outcomes for different social groups. Some authors even say that certain types of norms and networks in microfinance projects tend not to contribute to women's empowerment. Recent research shows that local associations are often restricted in their scope due to lack of resources and support and their limited impact on structural factors. Feminist scholars have argued that the mere presence of women in development on its own is not a guarantee of pro-women policies. The debate continues, but it is yet to be seen the importance of diverse actors' multifarious interests within these networks and the varying degrees of overlap with hegemonic policy and political frameworks.
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