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Social Capital: Social Relations and Economic Rationality

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Author(s): Simona di Ciaccio

Journal: Crossroads
ISSN 1825-7208

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: Social capital | economic rationality

ABSTRACT
Despite the proliferation of economic literature on social capital (SC), no common definition is available. The World Bank’s Social Capital Initiative underlines this fact as being inevitable. However, without a clear definition, SC remains a speculative concept, and the problem of inferring causation between SC and development has no solution. If certainly the reasons for the missing common meaning of SC are many, this article focuses on the "rationality-in-relations". That means it focuses on the rationality that hides within the two main methodological approaches on which the theories of SC are based: the individualistic rational choice and the communitarian a-rationality. The article suggests that the right question does not regard the choice between rationality and no-rationality, but instead the notion of rationality itself. It advocates the necessity of an ontological foundation of the theory of SC and finds in the we-rationality of Hollis and Sugden a possible path to follow.
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