The M-C-M' cycle and social capital
AbstractSocial capital has become a popular term over the past two decades amongst researchers, policy makers and practitioners from varied disciplines. This popularity, however, has resulted in a great deal of confusion over the nature and application of social capital in different contexts. This confusion has made it difficult to identify and measure social capital within the evaluation of specific social and health programmes, one of the aims of which may be to stimulate social capital. This paper identifies a theoretical model that seeks to capture the dynamic nature of social capital to assist in the development of research methods that will facilitate its measurement and exploration within such programmes. The model reported in the paper identifies the key components of social capital and expresses the relationship between those components in a dynamic system based on Marx's description of the process of capital (economic) exchanges expressed in the M-C-M' cycle. The M-C-M' cycle is the transformation of money (M) into commodities (C), and the change of commodities back again into money (M') of altered value. The emphasis within the paper is on the capital element of the concept and its transactional nature with the aim of avoiding the pitfall of attributing social capital in relation to social behaviours in isolation of context and interaction. Importantly, the paper seeks to distinguish the central elements of social capital from some of the antecedent factors and outcomes often attributed to and confused with social capital adding to the problem of providing valid measurement. The model is presented as the basis for the measurement of social capital within a transactional process involving the investment of social resources in a cyclical process, which may result in net gains or losses. This process is described as the R-C-R' cycle following Marx's model of economic capital, with the focus being on the transfer of social resources (R) rather than money (M). R represents an internal resource held by individuals, C the external resource or commodity they obtain from the network and the R' the internal resource of altered value. The possibilities of the model in assisting in the measurement of social capital specifically in assessing formal networks are explored.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.
Volume (Year): 56 (2003)
Issue (Month): 5 (March)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/315/description#description
You can help add them by filling out this form.
reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.Access and download statisticsgeneral information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.