Social capital and political sociology: Re-imagining politics?
Sociology , Volume 36 - Issue 2 p. 377- 397
This article is concerned with social capital as the concept has been used to further the analysis of political life. Its substantive focus is the work of Robert Putnam and his part in the revival of a civic conception of democracy. The article suggests two strategies for analysing the relationship between social capital theory and conceptions of liberal-democratic government. In the first section the concept of social capital is interrogated in terms of its political imagination. This is pursued by way of a comparison of the assumptions and norms of social capital and political culture theory - the latter being a perspective that shaped post-war political analysis. The second part of the article situates social capital in relation to the Foucauldian literature on government. It asks how we might see social capital in terms of a new kind of territorialization of socio-political relations.