Social capital is a concept that has enjoyed great popularity with policy makers and is something that voluntary associations and volunteering are often credited with generating. Since September 2015, a long-term joint PhD project between the University of Manchester and GMCVO researcher Susanne Martikke is looking at the role of local organisations in the creation of social capital.
The first phase of the project, which consisted in a review of relevant theory and research, concluded in Spring 2017. Based on this Susanne has produced a 16-page briefing on social capital, whose aim is to give an overview of the concept and how it has been used in empirical research.
Although social capital is often embraced as a good thing, one of the main points that the document makes is that it is a contentious concept and its use in policy and practice should be guided by a nuanced understanding.
A second, more concise, document highlights particular issues for the VCSE sector and focuses on the potential usefulness of the concept for VCSE organisations.