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Reassessing the concept of 'social capital': considering resources for satisfying the needs of rural communities


  • Jaco Vermaak


This article reassesses the concept of 'social capital'. Against the background of existing theoretical views, as well as several points of critique, it reconceptualises the concept in terms of its ability to satisfy needs at various levels of society. It puts forward two arguments: first, that looking at a community's resources from the theoretical perspective of social capital gives a better understanding of existing socio-economic processes; and, second, that such a perspective can help the researcher identify a number of further resources available to communities. The article develops a critique of existing social capital theory. It looks at how appropriate the concept is to the situation of rural communities in the developing world, and suggests that a resource-oriented social capital is a promising and appropriate concept for inclusion in development efforts.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaco Vermaak, 2009. "Reassessing the concept of 'social capital': considering resources for satisfying the needs of rural communities," Development Southern Africa, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(3), pages 399-412.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:deveza:v:26:y:2009:i:3:p:399-412
    DOI: 10.1080/03768350903086770

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    Social capital; needs; resources; rural communities;


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