Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/29762
Title: RE-EXAMINING THREE APPROACHES TO SOCIAL CAPITAL THEORY IN THE FIELD OF DEVELOPMENT: CASE OF THE RURAL PHILIPPINES
Authors: SHIMAOKA YUICHIRO
Keywords: social capital, development studies, the Philippines, rural development
Issue Date: 7-Jan-2011
Source: SHIMAOKA YUICHIRO (2011-01-07). RE-EXAMINING THREE APPROACHES TO SOCIAL CAPITAL THEORY IN THE FIELD OF DEVELOPMENT: CASE OF THE RURAL PHILIPPINES. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The role of social capital had long been underestimated and/or disregarded in the field of development. Since the middle of 1990s, however, social capital has begun to be viewed by various development agencies as the ¿missing link¿ in development, ¿magic bullets¿, ¿capital of the poor¿, and ¿development panacea¿. Consequently, social capital discussion has started to influence the way development projects are formulated. This research is to re-examine three widely employed approaches (i.e., micro-scale approach, society-centered approach, state-society synergy relation approach) to social capital theory in the field of development using the data obtained from fieldwork in a rural municipality of Northern Luzon in the Philippines (or the Municipality). The fieldwork was carried out for seven months in the Municipality, in which both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed such as participatory observation, interviews, and semi-structured questionnaires. Based on the obtained data, the research refutes the widely accepted view of social capital as a ready and reliable source of poor people in their lives due to the following shortcomings in the current social capital discussion. Firstly, the research argues that in an attempt to prove that social capital is a ¿new paradigm of development¿, the current social capital discussion tends to emphasize the positive impacts of social capital while neglecting the negative impacts and its unfavorable characteristics. Such `hidden¿ side of poor people¿s social capital (i.e., negative impacts, unfavorable characteristics) strongly undermines its ability to help them cope with hardships in their everyday lives and/or advance their socio-economic condition. In addition, the current social capital discussion largely posits that social capital operates in a vacuum independent from underlying socio-economic and political context. Thus, the proponents of social capital assume that social capital can be measured, indexed, and compared in different localities, similar to the Human Development Index (HDI). However, the research asserts that social capital works in a context-specific manner and consequently the way it operates depends largely on underlying socio-economic and political context. Lastly, the current social capital discussion overlooks issues of power and politics, for the most part, in which the proponents of social capital assume equally beneficial relationships across individuals with different socio-economic and political attributes. The research argues that issues of power and politics inevitably influence, if not dominate, the way social capital is formulated and utilized by the poor. Hence, the research concludes that, without the abovementioned shortcomings of the current social capital discussion seriously considered, the development practice based on the current understanding on social capital in the field of development may result in much less positive impacts than expected and/or even unexpectedly detrimental impacts to poor people¿s lives.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/29762
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