Table of Contents

Social Capital and Rural Development in the Knowledge Society

Social Capital and Rural Development in the Knowledge Society

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Edited by Hans Westlund and Kiyoshi Kobayashi

Social capital is often considered a key factor for local development. This book analyzes the role of social capital for rural areas’ survival and development in the current age of metropolitan growth – an era in which urban is the norm and where rural areas must adapt to this new situation and build innovative urban-rural relations.

Chapter 13: Social capital for sustainable rural regions: the roles of voluntary association-mediated public service

Hayeong Jeong, Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Hans Westlund

Subjects: development studies, development studies, environment, environmental sociology, geography, human geography, social policy and sociology, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, regional studies, urban studies


Voluntary associations are becoming an integral and necessary resource of public service in encouraging public involvement and partnerships, as well as in promoting community initiatives. Such associations include not only non-profit organizations (NPOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) but also any polymorphic form of organization, such as neighborhood associations and online associations for civic and charitable activities. In many parts of Japan, diverse pilot projects and social-psychological programs have been implemented as new policies for rural planning. In the new policy implementation process, the conversational and participatory nature of voluntary associations has been effective in mobilizing the voluntary provision of public service by raising awareness of civil society’s role, as well as by building better partnerships between diverse sectors, such as public, private, international, academic and civil society organizations. Voluntary associations are therefore being called the “new public” in Japan and are expected to facilitate a new type of partnership between diverse sectors that is different from the traditional public–private partnership (PPP). Here we call this new type of partnership “Voluntary Association-Mediated Public Service (VAMPS)”. How can voluntary associations contribute to providing public service and rural development? This chapter discusses VAMPS as an ‘entrepreneurial approach’ to achieving effective rural policies and its coordination mechanism of internal and external social capital for selecting better policies under strategic complementarity.

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