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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.

If you are new to social capital theory, you likely have many questions. The below articles will be very helpful to help you gain an understanding of this topic.

Citing this article

This article is part of a thesis submitted to the University of Queensland, Australia. You should reference this work as:

Claridge, T., 2004. Social Capital and Natural Resource Management: An important role for social capital? Unpublished Thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

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15 Responses

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  2. 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.

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  4. 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.

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  6. 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. 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

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  9. 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!

  10. Super interessante e muito útil 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. Brasil

  11. Really excited to have found your site…also looking at this as my dissertation topic. Well done on content, organization, references, research and overall accessibility.

  12. Indeed I must appreciate this side and Mr Claridge, T. for giving me a strong facts that become reference point in my research work. I must try to emulate you by giving same to the global society.

  13. Excelente espacio de aprendizaje para entender la importancia del capital social es su real dimensión. Gracias por ello.

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