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The term 'social capital' is a way of conceptualizing the intangible resources of community, shared values and trust upon which we draw in daily life. It has achieved considerable currency in the social sciences through the very different work of Bourdieu in France, and James Coleman and Robert Putnam in the States, and has been taken up within politics and sociology as a means of explaining the decline of social cohesion and community values in many Western societies.
This concise introduction, the only one currently available, explains the theoretical underpinning of the subject, the empirical work that has been done to explore its operation, and the effect that it has had on policy-making particularly within such international governmental bodies as the World Bank and the European Commission. With genuine cross-disciplinary appeal, this exceptional book will be of great interest to students of sociology, politics and social policy.