Exploring Social Capital: as Concept and Practice in Australian Public Health Policies and Programs

Kathryn Arthurson, Frances Baum, Anna Ziersch

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Over the past twenty years interest has grown in the concept of social capital in international and Australian public policy. We explore how social capital is understood as a concept and used in practice for guiding policy development and program delivery in South Australian public health programs. The empirical research compared policy makers' and practitioners' understandings of social capital and how theories about social capital and health inequality were translated into practice in three case study projects. It found that there are shifting discourses between social capital and related concepts, including community capacity building, and social inclusion/exclusion. Policy makers reported less use of the concept of social capital in favour of social inclusion/exclusion reflecting changing political and policy environments where terms come into favour and then go out of fashion. In this transition period the two terms are often used interchangeably although there are some conceptual points of difference.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-87
    Number of pages9
    JournalAustralian Journal of Public Administration
    Volume73
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

    Keywords

    • Health inequality
    • Public health programs
    • Social capital
    • Social inclusion

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