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Social capital under conditions of ethnic conflict: how does social capital impact on development in micro settings?

Author:

Dhammika Herath

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, University of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, LK
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Abstract

This paper examines the causal relationship between social capital and development in micro settings at a time of violent conflict by taking a case study of six villages in the north of Sri Lanka. The rich and vast literature on social capital has documented the causal linkages between social capital and the various social and economic outcomes, which, among others include development, better functioning democracies, ethnic harmony, and so on. This particular paper is focusing on micro settings to seek whether social capital is a significant factor of development in such settings, especially, at a time when these settings have gone through violent conflict, where people have been set apart by cleavages of ethnicity and/or religion. This requires understanding and measuring both social capital and development in a manner sensitive and meaningful for micro settings. Relatively, few studies show how this can be achieved and hence the research gap. This study finds that bonding social capital is a strong factor in development in terms of supporting agriculture even at a time of conflict. Bonding social capital is important in converting natural resources into economic assets which improve the level of development. Bridging social capital has had historical significance not only in agriculture but also in many other aspects. An equally important objective of the paper is to illustrate how a mixed-method approach of using both qualitative and quantitative techniques can be used for social capital research. Most studies on social capital depend either on quantitative or qualitative methods and fail to capture the intricate dynamics between components of social capital and development outcomes. This particular study shows how social capital can be measured using the indicators that local people suggest, so that, the indexes developed actually measure what is important for the people.

How to Cite: Herath, D., (2018). Social capital under conditions of ethnic conflict: how does social capital impact on development in micro settings?. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences. 41(1), pp.49–64. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v41i1.7592
Published on 28 Jun 2018.
Peer Reviewed

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