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By Laura K. Graham

Drawing on classes from civil society in Northern eire, past Social Capital examines the constraints of social capital thought in deeply divided societies and advances a reconceptualization of the bonding-bridging distinction.

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Extra resources for Beyond Social Capital: The Role of Leadership, Trust and Government Policy in Northern Ireland's Victim Support Groups

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This is because social networks provide a valuable resource to individuals, such that, those individuals who have multiple relationships across dense networks will have more opportunities to accumulate and exchange their stocks of social capital for their personal benefit. Social capital, therefore, is dependent on social networks, and these networks inhere mutual obligations. The second feature of Putnam’s (2000:20) definition is reciprocity. ” Chambers and Kopstein (2001:139) take this idea one step further by arguing that reciprocity requires recognition of others as deserving civility—including people with whom one deeply disagrees.

2011). To that end, I will examine whether a strong civil society necessarily equates to high levels of social capital in deeply divided societies. Civil Society as the Public Sphere This view of civil society is contained in Habermas’s The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere (see English translation in Burger and Lawrence, 1989). For Habermas, the public sphere acts as a space where discourse is used to resolve social and political disputes (see Farrington 2004). The public sphere is “an arena for contestation” where civil society is “steered by its members through shared meanings” and political debate (Habermas cited in Edwards 2014:8–9).

However, Brewer et al. (2011) warn that civil society should not be seen as an answer to conflict, due to its many regressive elements. Instead, they advocate, as do I, for an understanding of civil society for what it can and cannot do during times of conflict and peace. On the nature of civil society in divided societies, Brewer et al. ” Similarly, White (2011:42) has argued that “[a] strong and vibrant civil society can multiply inequalities and tension in society and thereby cement or exacerbate differences among 10 LAURA K.

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