Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links

The exclusion of exclusion in social capital

Gráinne Collins and Emma Calvert

IIIS Discussion Paper No. 84
In this paper we argue that many scholars using the conceptual framework of social capital have largely ignored or minimised two important elements: closure and emergence. First we chart the rise of social capital (section two), then we outline some of the existing criticisms of social capital (section three). In section four, we offer a four-way classification system, based on the recognition of emergence and/or closure, of the most popular and widely utilised definitions of social capital. Such categorisation allows for the analysis of how social capital is understood across academic disciplines and how it has been taken up in the policy making arena. Finally we argue that it is only by conceptualising social capital as having emergent properties and as inherently exclusionary that it becomes theoretically and analytically useful to sociological enquiry.


Last updated 28 August 2014 by IIIS (Email).