Table of Contents

Social Capital and Economic Development

Social Capital and Economic Development

Well-being in Developing Countries

Edited by Jonathan Isham, Thomas Kelly and Sunder Ramaswamy

The chapters in this volume explore the challenges and opportunities raised by this concept for researchers, practitioners and teachers. Social Capital and Economic Development is based upon a consistent, policy-based vision of how social capital affects well-being in developing countries.

Chapter 12: Resilient Communities: Building the Social Foundations of Human Security

Nat Colletta and Michelle Cullen

Subjects: development studies, development economics, economics and finance, development economics, environmental economics, environment, environmental economics


Nat Colletta and Michelle Cullen1 The Rwandan genocide erupted in April 1994 with widespread massacres of Tutsi by Hutu that ravaged the countryside, leaving 800 000 dead within three months. This anti-Tutsi campaign wiped out entire families, neighbourhoods and – by attacking staff at universities and hospitals – whole classes of professionals. Rwandan society collapsed: business and agricultural activities ceased, skilled people and the intelligentsia were slaughtered or fled, the infrastructure was deliberately destroyed and government operations, including legal, educational and health activities, completely dissolved (Des Forges, 1999). While Tutsi communities within Rwanda were eliminated, Hutu power groups grew stronger. Through the spread of dehumanizing hate propaganda, the Hutu elite were able to mobilize exclusionary and divisive social capital that bonded Hutu, primarily male unemployed and uneducated youth, to form such groups as the Interahamwe (‘those who attach together’ in Kinyarwanda). While some Hutu willingly participated in the massacres, others were ordered or forced to kill. Within Hutu extremism, ‘bonding’ took the form of exclusive social capital and powered the groups’ success by providing excellent information networks and a sense of solidarity, obligation and civic duty (Prunier, 1997). In stark contrast to this example of social capital gone awry, social capital can ‘bridge’ different groups by enabling cross-cutting and inclusive ties, like those that exist among indigenous Guatemalan women’s groups who have united to sustain peace efforts. By establishing the Office for the Defense of Indigenous Women’s Rights (Defensoria), the government solidified the first post-conflict initiative in Guatemala to incorporate indigenous participation...

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