Social capital in social policy - searching for the definition
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Instytut Polityki Społecznej Uniwersytet Warszawski
Publication date: 2020-06-07
Problemy Polityki Społecznej 2003;5:51–65
The article presents the differences in meaning and use f the term „social capital” in the works of J. Colem an, R. Putnam , P. Bourdieu and F. Fukuyama. It show s that this concept refers either to individual or collective resources that facilitate actions aimed to achieve certain objectives (narrow meaning) or to the feature of (local) community culture which is evinced by the spontaneous cooperation between people and organizations (broad meaning). The further section shows varied roles played by social capital: substitution of conventional forms of capital, im proving groups’ social security, influencing the performance of public institutions and economic growth. It is stressed that social capital may, however, have negative functions (exclusive groups, mafia, nepotism ). The article also deals with the problem o f creating and investing in social capital. In the last part the question is stated, how to distinguish betw een „positive” and „anti-social” capital in order to make the concept more adequate for social policy.