Paradoxes of Social Capital (IMISCOE Dissertations) by Myriam Cherti

By Myriam Cherti

Utilizing oral historical past narratives, in-depth interviews and a variety of different box innovations, this pioneering e-book experiences the deployment of social capital to judge the unity and integration of 3 generations of Moroccans residing in London.

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Extra resources for Paradoxes of Social Capital (IMISCOE Dissertations)

Sample text

Putnam’s conceptualisation of social capital has been widely criticised, particularly before he published Bowling Alone (2000), as he seems to overlook the ‘dark side’ of social capital (see Arneil 2006; Portes 1998). Another criticism pointed out by Baron et al. (2000) is that he conflates means and ends, so that it is unclear whether high levels of social capital constitute a desirable end-state where people interact trustfully and morally, or a way of achieving a good society which may be characterised in a different way.

Some of these challenges are posed by the communities that receive present-day immigrants. The continuing tendency of immigrant families to settle in poor neighbourhoods means that immigrant children must frequently attend poorly performing, under-funded, and highly segregated inner-city schools (Sua´rez-Orozco & Sua´rez-Orozco 1995; Waldinger 2001). The environment they encounter in such schools is thought to put adolescents at higher risk of acculturating into the ‘oppositional youth culture’ or ‘adversarial outlooks’ found among their native minority peers (Hirschman 2001; Portes & Rumbaut 2001; Portes & Zhou 1993; Zhou 1997a, b).

He now acknowledges the ‘dark side’ of social capital, accepting that it may have negative consequences, both externally – for society at large – and internally – for the members of the network. Putnam has also shifted his emphasis from trust to reciprocity. Thus, he acknowledges that people may have high trust levels and yet be socially inactive or even antisocial. Conversely, people may have good reasons to be un- 36 PARADOXES OF SOCIAL CAPITAL trusting and yet make a major contribution to building social capital, for example through civic projects in areas of high criminality.

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