After 20 years that social capital was conceptualised, the current development of this concept seems to be ambiguous. Hence, this paper addresses the following research questions: Does social capital has achieved a common understanding among scholars and practitioners? How is this concept being used among scholars to address development issues? Is it possible to assert that the concept of social capital is consolidated as analytical framework? Thus, the aim of this work is to know the current state social capital as analytical framework to address development issues. Specifically, it is attempted to know the way that social scientists understand and apply the concept of social capital. The author finds out how scholars and policy analysts identify social capital, measure social capital, promote the creation of social capital, and link the concept to different theoretical frameworks. In order to do this, it was carefully examined the most referenced research articles on social capital. The main conclusion is that effective interdisciplinary research based on social capital concept requires a well defined theoretical framework. Therefore, it is necessary to differentiate explicitly Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam’s perspectives. It is not desirable to continue in the anarchical way that has followed the development of this concept over the last 20 years. Just as physical capital is clearly associated to specific characteristics of tools and machines; or human capital is associated to academic credentials and abilities; social capital must be specified in a similar way. It is crucial to create basic “standards” or “codes” of understanding between scholars of different areas or with different backgrounds. Thus, it is necessary to stop using social capital in the multiples ways it has being used.
|Keywords:||Social Capital, Coleman, Bourdieu, Putnam, Social Research, Institutional Economics, Social Networks, Development Studies|
Research Postgraduate, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
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