Essay on The Theory of Social Capital

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In Making Democracy Work Robert Putnam uses his description of the concept of “social capital” to inquire directly into the successes and failures of democratic governments, on the basis of his case study of regional governments in Italy. This essay will serve to describe this theory of “social capital”, and whether or not it is applicable to all situations within the government of Italy and her regions. I will then show the limitations of the theory using contradictory evidence from within his work to describe the issues beset by the South. I will then discuss how Robert Dahl's theory of inequality of political resources, in Who Governs, to answering the question of whether or not the “social capital” theory successfully explains the …show more content…
In Making Democracy Work Robert Putnam uses his description of the concept of “social capital” to inquire directly into the successes and failures of democratic governments, on the basis of his case study of regional governments in Italy. This essay will serve to describe this theory of “social capital”, and whether or not it is applicable to all situations within the government of Italy and her regions. I will then show the limitations of the theory using contradictory evidence from within his work to describe the issues beset by the South. I will then discuss how Robert Dahl's theory of inequality of political resources, in Who Governs, to answering the question of whether or not the “social capital” theory successfully explains the conditions for responsive and effective democracy.

II. Definition of “Social Capital”

The theory of social capital, as defined by Putnam, is one which is rehashed over and over in political science, albeit with different names. Putnam's definition, however, is more based on empirical evidence rather than theoretics. At a base level, social capital is best defined as a gauge to measure the mutual cooperation between the electorate and their government. The theory encapsulates the networks created by the civilians and the government, mutual aid, cooperation, and mutual reciprocity between the two parties. The “common good” here is a prevalent aspect of the theory itself. A high level of this social capital indicates high levels of
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