The concept of social capital, generally agreed to be the capacity for social connections to generate positive outcomes, has received increasing attention by policy makers in the past decade, especially in Western English-speaking countries. Better health, increased social cohesion and better educational achievement are some of the positive policy outcomes that have been linked to an increase in social capital and one of the main reasons for policy makers’ interest in the concept. Much less attention however has been given to factors that shape access to social capital and the interrelationship between social exclusion and social capital. Those studies that have looked at this connection however have shown that accessing social capital is not a simple matter of choice: young people with higher educational qualifications and higher income show higher levels of civic participation, whereas socially excluded groups with low educational achievement, low income and from ethnic minority backgrounds present lower levels of civic participation. This paper contributes to the current debate on social capital by offering a critical review of the literature on social capital and social exclusion and the factors that shape social capital.
|Keywords:||Inequalities, Socioeconomic Marginalisation, Social Exclusion, Identity, Social Capital, Social Networks|
PhD Candidate Sociology and Anthropology, School of Humanities and Social Science, Faculty of Education and Arts, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Australia
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