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Social services

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Critiquing social capital

6 February 2001

This book by Ben Fine, Professor of Economics at SOAS, London, comprehensively critiques the theory and application of the concept of social capital. This term is now used to discuss a vast range of issues and is often linked to discussions of civil society. Social capital featured prominently in the Poverty World Development Report’s “empowerment” sections. Fine argues that social capital is part of the attempt by World Bank social theorists to become taken seriously by Bank economists. But social capital “compromises with established doctrines, whilst absorbing and neutralizing more radical and coherent alternatives”.

Social Capital Versus Social Theory Ben Fine, Routledge, 2001