Social Capital As A Theoretical Foundation

886 WordsJul 15, 20164 Pages
Social capital is a widely used theoretical concept to understand how social structures are formed and utilised by people embedded within that particular structure. The research undertaken for this thesis has used social capital as a theoretical foundation as well as a practical methodological tool for furthering the research aims. By using social capital theories, a better understanding of the effects of land demarcation and grabbing will be reached, and the outcomes relating to conflict and cooperation can be better analysed. In this section an overview of what social capital is, and its function in the research will be discussed, specifically looking at different types of social capital, and the role it can play in improving adaptive capacity. In this thesis we use Woolcock and Narayan’s definition of social capital as “the norms and networks that enable people to act collectively” (2000). Critically these norms and networks do not exist within a vacuum, rather within societies and communities, and influenced by neighbouring sets of norms and values, as well as political and other forms of institutions. If we were to conceptualise social capital as a resource, it would be found in the location of the actor, but not within them, rather, between them (Adler, Kwon, 2002), or as Narayan and Cassidy state: “social capital exists only when shared” (REF). Social capital is created, reinforced and upheld by those belonging to a network, and the network itself serves to impose
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