Criticisms of Social Capital

Social capital is a concept with the potential to transcend disciplinary boundaries, open new forms of enquiry, and establishes a new problem space for analysis of various phenomena. However, the dominant conceptual approaches to social capital have been widely criticized and have numerous problems.

Economics Imperialism and Social Capital Relationship between social capital and economics

During the 1990s, national governments and international agencies such as the World Bank, OECD, and UNDP discovered social capital, heralding it as the ‘missing link’ in explaining development outcomes and an important factor to build and utilise for improved program performance (Harriss, 2002). This was primarily driven by the World Bank, motivated by mounting criticism …

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The “wicked problems” of social capital theory

Over the last 20 years of researching and applying the concept of social capital I have constantly navigated certain “problems” with the concept. There are several nagging tensions and incongruences associated with the concept that are typically ignored but are impossible to escape and, it seems, to resolve. Critics are quick to point to these …

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Criticisms of social capital theory And lessons for improving practice

Discussing criticisms allows us to focus our attention on the potential weaknesses of the concept & our application of it. Social capital has been perceived as a miracle concept that is able to provide answers to a range of phenomena beyond an economic lens. Its rapid and wide application has made it one of the …

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