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Shauna Harshman

2005 Research

Abstract: Whose Social Capiatl is It?: Deconstructing the Agendas Hidden in the Language of Social Capital

Mentor: Dr. Stacey Warren, Geography; Dr. Julia Smith, Anthropology

The term Social Capital has experienced a meteoric rise in the lexicon of not only academia, but international development agencies and policy makers alike in the pas twenty years. Part of this rise may be attributed to the definitional flexibility of Social Capital. Part of this rise may also lie in the need to justify the policy and development choices of governments and corporations. The ideology of social capital as played out in the development arena, sees social capital as a cure-all for the problems associated with development. This paper will explore the origins of the ideology and language of social capital, as well as its darker policy implications. In the end I would posit that the value of social capital may be lost if operationalized to serve narrow interests.


58th NW Anthropology Conference--Spokane: March 17, 2005

8th Ann. Research & CW Symposium, EWU, May 18, 2005

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