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Determinants of Social Capital

The determinants are numerous and varied and there is both a lack of consensus and a lack of evidence to support the propositions. Several influential studies have suggested that social capital’s roots are buried in centuries of cultural evolution (Fukuyama 1995[1]; Putnam et al. 1993[2]).  Other investigators suggest that social capital can be created in the short term to support political and economic development (Brown and Ashman 1996[3]; Fox 1994[4]; Tendler and Freedheim 1994[5]). Aldridge, Halpern et al (2002)[6] suggested that the main determinants of social capital include: history and culture; whether social structures are flat or hierarchical; the family; education; the built environment; residential mobility; economic inequalities and social class; the strength and characteristics of civil society; and patterns of individual consumption and personal values. Pantoja (1999)[7] identified a different set again, including: family and kinship connections; wider social networks of associational life covers the full range of formal and informal horizontal arrangements; networks; political society; institutional and policy framework which includes the formal rules and norms that regulate public life; and social norms and values. The majority of these claims originate in applied theory and stem from much work done on other concepts such as network analysis, civic society, cultural studies, education, psychology, and many others. Even where empirical research has been performed, the findings have questionable validity.


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 Unpublished Thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

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  1. Fukuyama, Francis. 1995. Trust : the social virtues and the creation of prosperity. London: Hamish Hamilton. ^
  2. Putnam, Robert D, Robert Leonardi, and Raffaella Y Nanetti. 1993. Making democracy work : civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ^
  3. Brown, L. David, and Darcy Ashman. 1996. ‘Participation, Social Capital, and Intersectoral Problem Solving: African and Asian Cases.’ World Development 24: 1467-1479. ^
  4. Fox, Jonathan. 1994. ‘The difficult transition from clientelism to citizenship: Lessons from Mexico.’ World Politics 46: 151-184. ^
  5. Tendler, J., and S. Freedheim. 1994. “Trust in a rent-seeking world: Health and environment transformed in northeast Brazil.” World Development 22: 1771-1792. ^
  6. Aldridge, Stephen, David Halpern, and Sarah Fitzpatrick. 2002. Social Capital: A Discussion Paper. London, England: Performance and Innovation Unit. ^
  7. Pantoja, E. 1999. “Exploring the concept of social capital and its relevance for community based development: the case of minin areas in Orissa, India.” South Asia Infrastructure Unit, World Bank. ^

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