Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development
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Handbook of Social Capital and Regional Development

Edited by Hans Westlund and Johan P. Larsson

The role of social capital in regional development is a multifaceted topic which is studied all over the world using various methods and across numerous disciplines. It has long been evident that social capital is important for regional development, however, it is less clear how this works in practice. Do all types of social capital have the same effects and are different kinds of regions impacted in the same way? This book is the first to offer an overview of this rapidly expanding field of research and to thoroughly analyse the complex issue of social capital and regional development.
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Chapter 18: A Habermas-inspired approach to social capital in regional planning

Roger E. Bolton


This chapter shows how Jürgen Habermas’s ideas are relevant to the theory of social capital, in the context of regional planning. Many scholars in regional planning theory find Habermas’s theory of communicative action attractive, and some have suggested an application to social capital. This chapter goes further, especially in adding a discussion of Habermas’s concepts of the lifeworld and normative action. The author compares his own ‘Habermas-inspired’ concept of social capital to some economists’ theories of individual investment in social capital, and argues that regional planning can benefit by drawing on both sets of ideas.

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