Myth Of Social Capital In Community Development

The traditional understanding of "social capital" is fundamentally flawed.
February 5, 2002, 7am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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Writing in the Fannie Mae Foundation's journal, Housing Policy Debate" James DeFilippis suggests that the concept of social capital has gained attention in the past decade as an element of community development practice. DeFilippis argues that the popular guru of social capital, Robert Putnam, has advanced a "fundamentally flawed" understanding of social capital because his concept "fails to understand issues of power in the production of communities and because it is divorced from economic capital." DeFilippis makes the case that Putnam's "Bowling Alone" definition of social capital does not serve the community development field well. Many inner-city neighborhoods have the social networks and interaction that constitute the Putnam view of social capital, yet they are not truly empowered, according to DeFilippis.

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Sunday, February 3, 2002 in Fannie Mae Foundation
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