Social Capital in Developing Democracies

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In Nicaragua, it was a "bottom-up" process in the development of democracy based on the social capital, where civil society and horizontal connections among citizens were the engine of the political process. As a developing democracy, Argentina offers an interesting opposite scenario. In Argentina, it was a "top-down" institutional process of democratization, where the political institutions have done most of the work and compensated for the absence of initiatives to strengthen the civil society.

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The comparative study of rotating credit associations. Google Scholar , Crossref. Philosophy and Public Affairs, 1. Google Scholar , ISI. Private governments and the public interest. Institute of Governmental Studies. University of Michigan Press. The politics of virtue today: A critique and a proposal. American Political Science Review, 87, - American Political Science Review, 89, - Secondary associations and democratic governance. Politics and Society, 20, - Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94, 95 - Foundations of social theory.

Social capital

Citizen politics in Western democracies. Civic virtue and self-interest. The spirit of community. The paradox of civil society. Journal of Democracy, 7, 38 - The social virtues and the creation of prosperity. The rotating credit association: Economic Development and Cultural Change, 10, - They claim, "resources or networks alone e. Marjoribanks and Kwok [] conducted a survey in Hong Kong secondary schools with fourteen-year-old students with an aim to analyse female and male adolescents differential educational achievement by using social capital as the main analytic tool.

In that research, social capital is approved of its different effects upon different genders. Adaptation and School Performance", Hei Hang Hayes Tang argues that adaptation is a process of activation and accumulation of cultural and social capitals. The research findings show that supportive networks is the key determinant differentiating the divergent adaptation pathways.

Supportive networks, as a form of social capital, is necessary for activating the cultural capital the newly arrived students possessed. The amount of accumulated capital is also relevant to further advancement in the ongoing adaptation process. Min Zhou and Carl L. Bankston [] in their study of a Vietnamese community in New Orleans find that preserving traditional ethnic values enable immigrants to integrate socially and to maintain solidarity in an ethnic community. Ethnic solidarity is especially important in the context where immigrants just arrive in the host society. In her article "Social Capital in Chinatown", Zhou examines how the process of adaptation of young Chinese Americans is affected by tangible forms of social relations between the community, immigrant families, and the younger generations.

Ethnic support provides impetus to academic success. Furthermore, maintenance of literacy in native language also provides a form of social capital that contributes positively to academic achievement. Stanton-Salazar and Dornbusch [] found that bilingual students were more likely to obtain the necessary forms of institutional support to advance their school performance and their life chances.

Social Capital and Democracy - KENNETH NEWTON,

Putnam mentions in his book Bowling Alone , " Child development is powerfully shaped by social capital" and continues "presence of social capital has been linked to various positive outcomes, particularly in education". In states where there is a high social capital, there is also a high education performance. Teachers have reported that when the parents participate more in their children's education and school life, it lowers levels of misbehavior, such as bringing weapons to school, engaging in physical violence, unauthorized absence, and being generally apathetic about education.

In order to understand social capital as a subject in geography, one must look at it in a sense of space, place, and territory. In its relationship, the tenets [ who?

Social Capital and Democracy

The biggest advocate for seeing social capital as a geographical subject was American economist and political scientist Robert Putnam. His main argument for classifying social capital as a geographical concept is that the relationships of people is shaped and molded by the areas in which they live. Putnam argued that the lack of social capital in the South of Italy was more the product of a peculiar historical and geographical development than the consequence of a set of contemporary socio-economic conditions.

This idea has sparked a lengthy debate and received fierce criticism Ferragina, ; Ferragina Anthony Giddens developed a theory in in which he relates social structures and the actions that they produce. In his studies, he does not look at the individual participants of these structures, but how the structures and the social connections that stem from them are diffused over space.

If an area is plagued by social organizations whose goals are to revolt against social norms, such as gangs, it can cause a negative social capital for the area causing those who disagreed with said organizations to relocate thus taking their positive social capital to a different space than the negative. Another area where social capital can be seen as an area of study in geography is through the analysis of participation in volunteerism and its support of different governments.


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One area to look into with this is through those who participate in social organizations. People that participate are of different races, ages, and economic status. Secondly, there are different social programs for different areas based on economic situation. Thirdly, social capital can be affected by the participation of individuals of a certain area based on the type of institutions that are placed there.

Fox in his paper "Decentralization and Rural Development in Mexico", which states "structures of local governance in turn influence the capacity of grassroots communities to influence social investments. Since every area is different, the government takes that into consideration and will provide different areas with different institutions to fit their needs thus there will be different changes in social capital in different areas.

In the context of leisure studies , social capital is seen as the consequence of investment in and cultivation of social relationships allowing an individual access to resources that would otherwise be unavailable to him or her. There is a significant connection between leisure and democratic social capital. The more an individual participates in social activities, the more autonomy the individual experiences, which will help her or his individual abilities and skills to develop. The greater the accumulation of social capital a person experiences, may transfer to other leisure activities as well as personal social roles, relationships and in other roles within a social structure.

It has been noted that social capital may not always be used for positive ends. While pursuing doctoral studies, Lester was the first to create figures and equate negative social capital with negative returns. An example of the complexities of the effects of negative social capital is violence or criminal gang activity that is encouraged through the strengthening of intra-group relationships bonding social capital.

Without "bridging" social capital, "bonding" groups can become isolated and disenfranchised from the rest of society and, most importantly, from groups with which bridging must occur in order to denote an "increase" in social capital.

Bonding social capital is a necessary antecedent for the development of the more powerful form of bridging social capital. As social capital bonds and stronger homogeneous groups form, the likelihood of bridging social capital is attenuated. Bonding social capital can also perpetuate sentiments of a certain group, allowing for the bonding of certain individuals together upon a common radical ideal. The strengthening of insular ties can lead to a variety of effects such as ethnic marginalization or social isolation. In extreme cases ethnic cleansing may result if the relationship between different groups is so strongly negative.

In mild cases, it just isolates certain communities such as suburbs of cities because of the bonding social capital and the fact that people in these communities spend so much time away from places that build bridging social capital.

Social Capital & Government

Social capital in the institutional Robert Putnam sense may also lead to bad outcomes if the political institution and democracy in a specific country is not strong enough and is therefore overpowered by the social capital groups. Even though German society was, at the time, a "joining" society these groups were fragmented and their members did not use the skills they learned in their club associations to better their society.

They were very introverted in the Weimar Republic. Hitler was able to capitalize on this by uniting these highly bonded groups under the common cause of bringing Germany to the top of world politics. The former world order had been destroyed during World War I, and Hitler believed that Germany had the right and the will to become a dominant global power. Additionally, in his essay "A Criticism of Putnam's Theory of Social Capital", [] Michael Shindler expands upon Berman's argument that Wiemar social clubs and similar associations in countries that did not develop democracy, were organized in such a way that they fostered a "we" instead of an "I" mentality among their members, by arguing that groups which possess cultures that stress solidarity over individuality, even ones that are "horizontally" structured and which were also common to pre- soviet eastern europe , will not engender democracy if they are politically aligned with non-democratic ideologies.

Later work by Putnam also suggests that social capital, and the associated growth of public trust are inhibited by immigration and rising racial diversity in communities. In societies where immigration is high USA or where ethnic heterogeneity is high Eastern Europe , it was found that citizens lacked in both kinds of social capital and were overall far less trusting of others than members of homogenous communities were found to be. Lack of homogeneity led to people withdrawing from even their closest groups and relationships, creating an atomized society as opposed to a cohesive community.

These findings challenge previous beliefs that exposure to diversity strengthens social capital, either through bridging social gaps between ethnicities or strengthening in-group bonds. It is very important for policy makers to monitor the level of perceived socio-economic threat from immigrants because negative attitudes towards immigrants make integration difficult and affect social capital. James Coleman has indicated that social capital eventually led to the creation of human capital for the future generation.

Field suggested that such a process could lead to the very inequality social capital attempts to resolve. Even though Coleman never truly addresses Bourdieu in his discussion, this coincides with Bourdieu's argument set forth in Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture. Bourdieu and Coleman were fundamentally different at the theoretical level as Bourdieu believed the actions of individuals were rarely ever conscious, but more so only a result of their habitus see below being enacted within a particular field, but this realization by both seems to undeniably connect their understanding of the more latent aspects of social capital.

According to Bourdieu, habitus refers to the social context within which a social actor is socialized. Thus, it is the social platform, itself, that equips one with the social reality they become accustomed to.


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Out of habitus comes field, the manner in which one integrates and displays his or her habitus. To this end, it is the social exchange and interaction between two or more social actors. To illustrate this, we assume that an individual wishes to better his place in society. He therefore accumulates social capital by involving himself in a social network, adhering to the norms of that group, allowing him to later access the resources e. If, in the case of education, he uses these resources to better his educational outcomes, thereby enabling him to become socially mobile, he effectively has worked to reiterate and reproduce the stratification of society, as social capital has done little to alleviate the system as a whole.

This may be one negative aspect of social capital, but seems to be an inevitable one in and of itself, as are all forms of capital. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Civil society Political particularism Positive rights Social capital Value pluralism.

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These networks are a city's irreplaceable social capital. Whenever the capital is lost, from whatever cause, the income from it disappears, never to return until and unless new capital is slowly and chancily accumulated. American Journal of Sociology. Wellman, Barry and Scot Wortley. Community Ties and Social Support". American Journal of Sociology Rethinking social capital in relation with income inequalities". Les Classiques de Science Sociale. Gert and Mills C.

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