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By John Harriss

In 'Depoliticizing Development', John Harriss explores the origins of the assumption of social capital and its diversified meanings within the paintings of James Coleman, Pierre Bourdieu and, extra particularly, Robert Putnam, who's such a lot liable for the intense upward push of the belief of social capital via his paintings on Italy and the USA. Harriss asks why this idea must have taken off within the dramatic manner that it has performed and reveals in its makes use of via the area financial institution the test, systematically, to vague category kinfolk and tool. Social capital has hence come to play an important half within the discourses of overseas improvement, which cross towards comprising 'the anti-politics machine'. This strong and lucid critique should be of titanic worth to all these attracted to improvement stories, together with sociologists, economists, planners, NGOs and different activists.

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Let us find ways to ensure that by 20 1 0 Americans will spend less leisure time sitting p assively alone in front of glowing screens . . ( Putnam 2000: chapter 24) These are worthy wishes, perhaps. But there is no mention here of the deepening inequality in American society, no commentary on how to tackle the crushing burden of poverty which afflicts so many Americans. No mention, either, of the political struggles that will be necessary if those who are excluded from the ample fruits of American p rosperity - and who may, or who may not be 'socially connected', according to Putnam's own account of them - are to move in (sometimes literally, not j ust meta­ phorically) out of the cold.

8 A large part of the decline in civic engagement and of sociability is due to the passing of this 'civic generation', whose approach to life seems to have been strongly i n fluenced by their exp e r ience of the G reat Depression, and then of obligation to the wider community during wartime (a point that reflects Skocpol's arguments about the relationships between major points of crisis in American history and the phenomena of'joining') , whereas those i n the succeeding generations are more inclined to indi­ vidualistic and materialistic values.

Ibid . : 1 1 2 2 ) This leads him then t o make the proposition with which this chapter begins, that 'Social capital inheres, not just in civil society, but in an enduring set of relationships that spans the public- pri\'ak divide' ( ibiJ . ) . The key question then i s : in what circumstances does such 'synergy', based on relationships of complementarity and embeddedness between s tate and society, arise? D E P O L l T I C I Z I N G D E V EL O P M E N T 70 C O NDITIO N S F O R SYNERGY I n addressing this question Peter Evans actually contradicts himself, for he starts offby saying - implicitly agreeing with Putnam - that endowments of social capital are critical for the development of synergy.

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