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Understanding Social Capital: Its Nature and Manifestiations in Rural Canada


  • Bill Reimer

    (Concordia University)


This presentation discusses an interpretation and analysis of social capital that is strongly integrated into a framework of social relations. We argue that social capital is organized in four fundamental types of social relations: market, bureaucratic, associative, and communal. Each type of relation is distinguished by its own norms, rules of engagement, institutions, and control mechanisms. As a result, the processes by which social capital is created, maintained, and used will vary by each type. Using national community and household data collected as part of a research project on rural Canada (The New Rural Economy Project of the Canadian Rural Revitalization Foundation), we outline the framework, propose measures of the four types of social capital, demonstrate their multidimensional nature, and test a number of hypotheses regarding their relation to community and individual characteristics. Finally, we conclude with some theoretical and research implications for investigating rural communities and rural programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Bill Reimer, 2005. "Understanding Social Capital: Its Nature and Manifestiations in Rural Canada," Others 0511002, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0511002
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 32. Paper presented at the Annual Meetings of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association

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    Social Capital; Measurement; Rural; Canada;

    JEL classification:

    • P - Economic Systems
    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Z - Other Special Topics

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