Social capital? : from pizza connection to collective action: an inquiry into power, culture and civil society

Sergio Lenci

Research output: Working paperAcademic

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This paper focuses on the theoretical analysis of the concept of social capital. It warns against the uncritical use of such a concept which seems to be at the core of current socio-economic and political analysis. It stresses the need to distinguish between different forms of social capital and to rethink the mainstream approach considering it as the product of an historical accumulation due to fortunate cultural anthropological features of certain regions and as something to be created where it is lacking. It further proposes to look at the actual existence of different relational models and at their articulation with top-down, exogenously induced processes of development, which might prevent the constructive deployment of endogenous social capital. Building social capital means first of all recognizing the different models and implementing policies to mediate the tension between technological innovation, political and institutional modernization and cultural resistance, by addressing concepts such as modernity and tradition in a non dichotomic, mutually exclusive way. The paper also discusses a well known book using social capital as the key to explain the different socio-economic performances of regional governments in Italy and proposes a different interpretation of the same story.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages64
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1997
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series


  • ISS Working Paper-General Series


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