Social Capital by John Field

Social Capital by FieldI’m currently working my way through the second edition of Social Capital by John Field, which is in the Routledge Key Ideas range. Chapter one covers the history of the term and idea, mentioning the work of Hanifan (1916), through Dewey to the three contempory writers who have shaped most of the modern thinking on the concept – Bourdieu, Coleman and Putnam.

Bourdieu’s work seems to be routed in problems deriving from the European class system and social hierarchy. Social Capital is used by those that have it to reinforce their position.

Coleman suggests that SC is a by product of people acting from their own self interests (rational / game theory). Interesting point here about side effects and the way that social capital is raised – as in Web 2.0 applications

Getting to Putnam soon.

Barry Avery

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