‘Social capital describes the networks together with shared norms, values and understandings that facilitate cooperation within or among groups’ (OECD, 2001)
I want to put out a call for the rehabilitation of what we understand by ‘social capital’.
Recent criticism of the essential concept of social capital has caused people to cast it aside – considering it a redundant approach. Several influential academics on the left of the political spectrum have written books and articles criticising social capital. Their criticism became particularly virulent at a time when the World Bank formed a social capital strategy in their assistance to developing countries.
In short, the main thrust of the criticism was that the notion of social capital was being used as a substitute for not materially helping populations. Communities were being told that…we know you are poor, downtrodden and disadvantaged but you have ‘social capital’ and you should be using that more.
Continue reading Resurrecting a positive role for the much-maligned notion of ‘social capital’