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Social capital : an analytical tool for exploring lifelong learning and community development
journal contributionposted on 2003-01-01, 00:00 authored by Sue Kilpatrick, J Field, I Falk
In her recent contribution to the British Educational Research Journal, Pauline McClenaghan identified the link between social capital and community development, particularly community development education, as a core area where scholarly and policy interests overlap. She concluded that the concept of social capital is unable to grapple with the complex social divisions that characterise contemporary Europe. The authors of this article question her account on three main grounds: the definition of social capital, which they hold is overly narrow, and does not deal with what Woolcock calls the ‘linking’ role of social networks; the presentation of the theoretical foundations of community development, which they believe is flawed in certain key respects; and a lack of clarity in the relationship between the research and the findings reported. The authors then present their own theoretically informed account of social capital as a means of understanding the role of community development, the challenges that it can face and the role of adult education for community development.