Introduction to Social Capital Research

There has been considerable and increasing interest in social capital theory in recent years, evidenced by its application to various disciplines and numerous subject areas. This interest stems from the appeal of the concept as it integrates sociology and economics, and combines a number of ideas including civic tradition, civicness, civic involvement and social cohesion. Existing studies have suggested that social capital has considerable benefits for a range of economic and sociological outcomes. These purported benefits, and the concept behind social capital, are not new but rooted in the work of early economic and sociologic thinkers. The contemporary authors, who are responsible for bringing the social capital debate to its current popularity, include Pierre Bourdieu, James Coleman and Robert Putnam. Many authors have since contributed to the rudimentary conceptualization of the complex theory.

There is no set and commonly agreed upon definition of social capital and the particular definition adopted by a study will depend on the discipline and level of investigation. There is still debate over the appropriateness of the term ‘capital’ and this has led to a general weakening of the conceptualization. These definitional and ideological problems have resulted in considerable diversity in theory, particularly in discussion of dimensions, levels, types, determinants, benefits, and downsides. The result is a number of conceptualization approaches, each attempting to simplify the complex social world while maintaining validity. The result to date has largely been poor operationalization of the concept that lacks rigor and strong theoretical links to a thorough conceptualization of social capital. Of particular interest to this study is the interaction of social capital and natural resource management. Few authors have previously made this connection with the most closely related work being on environmental management and development.

11 comments on “Introduction to Social Capital Research
  1. Shahadat Hossain says:

    So wonderful a discourse on social capital.

  2. Alvaro Jose de Oliveira says:

    Super interessante e muito Ăștil o site, a forma mais aprofundada e com bellissimo embasamento teorico ajuda aos pesquisadores sobre o tema falar com mais segurança sobre o Capital Social (em Portugues)

    Super interesting and useful website, the more depth and bellissimo theoretical foundation to help researchers on the subject speak more confidently about social Capital.

    alvaroifal@hotmail.com Brasil

  3. Leigh says:

    I have added this site to my favorites as well. Looking at Social Capital Theory and Tribal Relations in the United States Forest Service. Great references and information. Thanks!

  4. Edwin Rocha says:

    This information is clear, direct and useful. I want to see some concrete experiences measuring the indicators of social capital, how it works in the real world

  5. Padmananda Shrestha says:

    On going through the concept of social capital it can be said that only the financial capital is not sufficient but social capital is most for socio economic development of a country

  6. Padmananda Shrestha says:

    On going through the articles of social capital it is confirmed that social capital is much more beneficial and applicable for socio economic development of an organisation, society and country as a whole.

  7. Padmananda Shrestha says:

    I am very much happy having chance to have such knowledge on social capital, which can apply to eliminate the conflicts in society.

  8. I Ketut Suweca says:

    Your articles has been very useful and helpfull as my references to explore the social capital theory. I am in the second semester of a Ph.D program in Udayana University, Denpasar, Bali-Indonesia. Thank you.

  9. Roxanne Reeves says:

    I am just beginning to explore the concept of social capital and am in the first few months of a PhD. programme in Canada. Your sight has been very helpful. How generous of you to share your knowlegde in such an accessible language and way.

    Kind regards,

    Roxanne Reeves
    roxanne_reeves@hotmail.com

  10. LSJ says:

    It’s really great to see such a wonderful website on SOCIAL CAPITAL which is my dissertation topic. It has tremendous benefits for my research. Thanks a bunch. Hope my research will contribute as well.

  11. karamat@forwardpartnership.org.uk says:

    I am extremely pleased to have found your site. it has so much useful material. I am overwhelmed that people like you are so generous in sharing your knowledge with the world wide community. thank you. I have added your site to my favourites

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