O capital social como infra-estrutura de iniciativas produtivas : estudo de caso de um projeto agroindustrial na Colombia
The concept of social capital is widely used in the social sciences today. We risk appearing obvious by affirming that the use of the term has created a tower of Babel in research programs. This study is based on a basic distinction: it recognizes that there is a difference between understanding human interactions as a resource at the service of individuals and understanding them within a process of collective action. The first perspective follows the altered trail blazed by micro-economics that seeks to re-found social theory on a basis of individual decision theory. In this sense, I assume that there are interdependent individual choices, however, social mediations that facilitate these choices are considered endogenous to the calculation of individual utility. With this explanatory route, cooperation, if it exists, is a collateral effect for the search for individual interest. The second perspective travels along the neo-structural path, inspired by Simmel, which seeks to capture emergent regularities. That is, it is not programmed by individuals, in repeated of interaction. In this sense, and without denying the strategic action of individuals, it assumes that there are exogenous mediations, pre-fixed and not pre-fixed, which help or hinder the joint production of collective goods or services. According to this explanation, cooperation, if it exists, is the result of organizational arrangements that channel the negotiation and conflict of individual interests. With the latter strategy in mind, an analytical table was constructed to understand the constitution of a productive initiative with small palm oil producers. The extreme conditions found in a context of political violence and illegal economic activities allow submitting the conjecture of social capital to a particular test, understood in a non-instrumental form as the infrastructure of economic production processes. Micro-institutional analysis techniques were combined with social network analysis. It was found that the construction - under the extreme conditions of political violence and illegal economic activities - of a productive arrangement rich in social capital, presupposes that the group implementing the process use a pedagogy that balances input incentives with output costs for the beneficiaries, who depersonalize access to useful information; which considers the spatial proximity of production, homophilic collaboration choices; and the weakness of kinship ties as a mechanism for lateral social control.
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