By John Field
Routledge – 2008 – 208 pages
Series: Key Ideas
The term ‘social capital’ is a way of defining the intangible resources of community, shared values and trust upon which we draw in daily life. It has achieved considerable international currency across the social sciences through the very different work of Pierre Bourdieu in France and James Coleman and Robert Putnam in the United States, and has been widely taken up within politics and sociology as an explanation for the decline in social cohesion and community values in western societies. It has also been adopted by policy makers, particularly in international governmental bodies such as the World Bank.
This fully revised second edition of Social Capital provides a thorough overview of the intense and fast-moving debate surrounding this subject. This clear and comprehensive introduction explains the theoretical underpinning of the subject, the empirical work that has been done to explore its operation, and the influence that it has had on public policy and practice. It includes guides to further reading and a list of the most important websites.
'Open-minded, intellectually curious, and eminently balanced and lively in its approach, John Field's Social Capital (second edition) provides an astute contribution to the ongoing dialogue surrounding the importance of social relationships…Field provides a thorough and finely-nuanced discussion of the complexities of this proposition, and in the process of doing so has accomplished an evenhanded, engaging assessment of a relevant and complex topic.' – Teaching Sociology, 2009
Introduction 1. From Metaphor to Concept 2. Networks in Use 3. A Walk on the Dark Side 4. Future Tense or Present Perfect?: Social Capital in a Changing World 5. Policy and Politics: Social Capital in the Real World. Conclusion
John Field is a Professor in the Institute of Education, University of Stirling, where he served until recently as Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research. He has published widely on socio-economic aspects of lifelong learning, including previous specialist studies of social capital and adult learning. He is Honorary Professor of Continuing Education at Birkbeck College, University of London.