Placing social capital

TR Number
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications USA

This paper looks at the relevance and contributions of social capital analysis to human geography and vise versa. The authors start by defining social capital and clarifying and distinguishing concepts, and critiques of Putnam's work. Social capital is simultaneously an economic, sociological, political, and geographical concept, but it must be distinguished from human capital, cultural capital, and networks. Social capital can be relevant to human geographers because of the focus on the relationship between locality and the 'emergent casual power'. Social capital in not reproduced nor is it fixed to a place (it is the interaction between agency and structure). The geography of social capital exists in the: 1) Compositional effects produce spatial variations. 2) Participation varies with location. 3) Voluntary sector develops unevenly. 4) Institutional structures can influence formation of social capital which can affect levels of participation. 5) Uneven development are likely to have an impact on the quality of social relationships and, therefore, on levels of social capital. The challenge now rests in developing spatially disaggregated indicators of social capital. Obtaining disaggregated data on dimensions of social capital is difficult whether one measures participation or trust. Still, social capital is used in explaining economic growth and uneven development. It might be relevant to explain intrastate patterns of uneven development, in understanding effectiveness of government institutions, and health inequalities. Change have moved towards multiple stakeholders approaches involving partnerships between state, private capital and civil society, this so called the "third way" has have placed the focus on social networks and social capital, but the paper cautions us of the dangers of uncritical application of concepts.

Metadata only record
Gender, Social capital, Social policy, Development, Voluntarism, Participation, Welfare
Progress in Human Geography 26(2): 191-210