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Paper 146: The Centrality of Social Capital - Concepts of Community in the Era of the Big Society

Current political agendas are focussed on empowering communities through localism and devolution, as well as encouraging civic activism, suggesting that strong communities are central to the solution for mending ‘broken Britain’. However, little has been made of the theoretical concepts which are used to underpin this approach. This paper stems from a small scoping study exploring a number of theoretical concepts related to community, noting the historical context of the development of concepts and changes in their popularity. The paper delineates several of the concepts which are currently popular, exploring their connections to one another. The review highlights the continuing centrality of social capital to discussions of healthy, connected communities.

Cardiff School of Social Sciences, , ISBN 978-1-908469-04-5