Social Capital has numerous inter-related definitions which reflect the philosophical approaches of the authors. The TSCN website aims to provide some examples of these definitions from well known experts in the field such as Woolcock, Putnam, Bourdieu, Coleman and our resident expert Associate Professor Sue Kilpatrick. In addition, the website provides a practical definition and approach taken by the Department of Economic Development who recently ran Hypothetical Forums on Social Capital.
Associate Professor Sue Kilpatrick
Associate Professor Sue Kilpatrick is the Director, University Department of Rural Health, University of Tasmania, and has a provided a definition which she has enter into the Third edition of the International Encyclopaedia of Education.
Social capital is the norms and networks that enable people to act collectively. It is a set of resources that resides in the relationships among people that allows them to share their knowledge and skills. Social capital is built and accessed through interactions between people and groups.
Wikipedia provides a good overview and critique of the Social Capital term and provides references to a number of experts in the field including Woolcock, Putnam, Bourdieu and Coleman.
Coleman, J S (1988), Social capital in the creation of human capital, American Journal of Sociology, volume 94 (suppl.), pp. S95-S120. Coleman, J S (1990), Foundations of Social Theory, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Woolcock, M (1998), Social capital and economic development: Towards a theoretical synthesis and policy framework, Theory and Society, volume 27, number 2: 151-208.
Putnam, R D (1993), Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy,
New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Putnam, R D (2000), Bowling alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Putnam, R D (2001), Social capital: Measurement and consequences, Isuma vol.2 no.1: 41-52.
As an initiative of the Department Economic Development (DED)’s Partnership Agreement with the University of Tasmania, in particular the ‘Our Economy’ Taskforce, DED conducted hypothetical forums in Hobart, Burnie and Launceston around the notions of ‘social capital’ in relation to regional development and competitiveness.
The aim of this hypothetical Small town, big questions: How a hypothetical Tasmanian community rides the waves of change was to explore issues in building a ‘healthy community’. What are the benefits of a healthy community and how do we create and support them? How can change bring communities together rather than divide them? How can communities adapt to change and other challenges that they may face? How can community networks assist to create a sustainable future for a region? We hope to promote awareness of social capital and how it can apply to regional townships and industries.
DED provided a definition of social capital for the panellists and the audience:
Outcomes of social capital including trust, reciprocity and altruism can produce healthy social, recreational or business community networks. These networks have been shown to build community resilience including the capacity to adapt to change, in the production of innovative actions and shared outcomes.
These forums were particularly successful and highlighted many practical applications of social capital in regional communities.
To learn more about these forums please contact TSCN.