Well-being in Developing Countries
Edited by Jonathan Isham, Thomas Kelly and Sunder Ramaswamy
Chapter 2: Social Capital in Theory and Practice: Where do we Stand?
2. Social capital in theory and practice: where do we stand? Michael Woolcock1 ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’ This common aphorism sums up much of the conventional wisdom regarding social capital. It is wisdom supported by empirical evidence, but also borne out in our everyday experience: In good times, we draw on the skills, insights and resources of others to pursue individual and common goals; when we fall upon hard times, our friends and family are often our final ‘safety net’. Gaining membership to exclusive clubs requires inside contacts; close competition for jobs and contracts is often won by those with ‘friends in high places’. Less instrumentally, some of our happiest and most rewarding hours are spent talking with neighbours, sharing meals with friends, participating in religious gatherings and volunteering on community projects. The nature and extent of our social relationships have an important impact on our lives but they are especially significant for the poor: with little by way of material assets, modest income or formal education, the poor are left to devise survival and mobility strategies that draw on (or in some cases circumvent) their social capital. This chapter introduces the recent theoretical and empirical literature on social capital as it pertains to economic development, with a particular focus on its significance for teaching and practice. It seeks to address four questions: (1) what is social capital, (2) how do different disciplines conceptualize and measure it, (3) how do any disciplinary similarities and differences...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.