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Is a focus on social capital useful in considering food security interventions? Insights from KwaZulu-Natal

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  • Alison Misselhorn
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    Social capital is an important collective resource people draw on in pursuit of well-being. This article explores the nexus between household social capital and food security in a small community in KwaZulu-Natal. The case study suggests some social capital-related failures are linked to food insecurity in the community, including a breakdown in two-parent families, divergences between religious groups, ambiguous leadership characterised by conflict, and changes in cultural norms. The highly variable and household-specific nature of social capital's role in food security makes it difficult to extrapolate lessons for targeting social capital in food security interventions beyond the case-study community. However, the findings point to the value of including proxies for social capital in vulnerability indices and food-insecurity mapping systems, and more broadly to the importance of understanding context-specific interactions between resources or 'capitals', institutional issues, and the human relationships and power dynamics that shape food insecurity and the outcomes of interventions to address it.

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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Development Southern Africa.

    Volume (Year): 26 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 189-208

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:2:p:189-208
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350902899454
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