- The IoI, in association with the Families and Social Capital ESRC Research Group, South Bank University, presents
- Interrogating 'Social Capital'
- building community or undermining trust?
- Venue: London South Bank University
- Date: April 7, 2005
- Time: 3.30 - 5pm
- This session will be the final plenary of the conference Whither social capital? Past, present and future. Reservation is free on the conference website. For the panel, please indicate that you will be attending on Thursday 7 April, and tick the box for the session. For security reasons there can be no admittance without prior registration.
Theories of social capital suggest the problem of fragmented communities lies in the poor quality of society's interpersonal relationships, and often imply the solution lies in increasing the role of the state in building such relationships.
Arguably, however, attempts to bolster informal relationships and community participation through official intervention threaten to formalise and hence weaken these interactions. Do initiatives aimed at creating 'safer communities', such as Antisocial Behaviour Orders, fuel the notion that we are all at risk from each other? Do mentoring schemes build bonds between teenagers and adults or rather turn the interactions between generations into calculated connections based on obligation and outcomes? As the citizenship curriculum requires pupils to 'volunteer' in their communities, and employers suggest their staff 'volunteer' to enhance their transferable skills, what happens to spontaneous social altruism?
While it is argued that top-down policies introduced to broker social networks help support an isolated citizenry, conversely they seem to imply an official distrust of the allegiances and choices that people might make if left to their own devices. When it is deemed necessary to modify behaviour in order to strengthen social capital, what is the fate of individual autonomy and agency?
- Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
- the Independent
- Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick
- Joseph Rowntree Professor of Housing Policy at the University of York, and the Director of the Centre for Housing Policy
- Ben Rogers
- associate director, Democracy Team, ippr; author of Lonely Citizens and Beef and Liberty
- Karen Smith
- nef (New Economics Foundation), author of The Co-production Handbook, co-author of The Time of Our Lives; former secondee to the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit
- Austin Williams
- director, Future Cities Project, and technical editor, Architects’ Journal
- Claire Fox
- director, Institute of Ideas