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Taming the social capital Hydra? Indigenous poverty, social capital theory and measurement

Hunter, Boyd

Description

The second labour of Heracles, the epic struggle with the Hydra, is used in this paper as a metaphor for the diffi culties that may be encountered in analysing and measuring social capital. In Greek mythology, the Hydra ‘had a prodigious dog-like body, and eight or nine snaky heads, one of them immortal’. In a sense, social capital is the intellectual equivalent of the Hydra in that it is conceptualised in many different ways. While the many heads of social capital appear relatively...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHunter, Boyd
dc.contributor.otherAustralian National University. Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research
dc.coverage.spatialAustralia
dc.date.accessioned2018-11-07T06:26:56Z
dc.date.available2018-11-07T06:26:56Z
dc.date.created2004
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/149016
dc.description.abstractThe second labour of Heracles, the epic struggle with the Hydra, is used in this paper as a metaphor for the diffi culties that may be encountered in analysing and measuring social capital. In Greek mythology, the Hydra ‘had a prodigious dog-like body, and eight or nine snaky heads, one of them immortal’. In a sense, social capital is the intellectual equivalent of the Hydra in that it is conceptualised in many different ways. While the many heads of social capital appear relatively harmless compared to the Hydra, the unquestioning adoption and application of social capital rhetoric is potentially harmful, especially if it distracts policy makers from the real causes of Indigenous poverty and ongoing social exclusion. This paper outlines the conceptual and empirical issues that are likely to plague attempts to measure social capital. After discussing some possible roles for social capital in describing Indigenous poverty, the paper advocates a modest conceptualisation of social capital that focuses on the structure of social networks. Apart from anything else, this minimalist position should limit the scope for misunderstandings arising from cross-cultural differences in the views about the social, cultural and institutional contexts of such networks.
dc.format.extent29 pages
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherCanberra, ACT : Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), The Australian National University
dc.relation.ispartofseriesTopical Issue (Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR), The Australian National University); Vol. 21, no. 8
dc.relation.ispartofseriesCAEPR Topical Issue; Vol. 21, no. 8
dc.relation.isversionofAn earlier version of this paper was presented to the ‘Social Capital, Social Exclusion and Indigenous Poverty’ workshop sponsored by the Academy of Social Science of Australia, ‘The Role of Social Capital in Alleviating Persistent Poverty’, held on 1–2 July 2003 at the Charles Darwin University.
dc.rightsAuthor/s retain copyright
dc.source.urihttp://caepr.cass.anu.edu.au/research/publications/taming-social-capital-hydra-indigenous-poverty-social-capital-theory-and-0
dc.subject.lcshAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
dc.titleTaming the social capital Hydra? Indigenous poverty, social capital theory and measurement
dc.typeWorking/Technical Paper
local.identifier.absfor169902 - Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society
local.publisher.urlhttp://caepr.cass.anu.edu.au/research/publications/topical-issues
local.type.statusPublished Version
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.provenancePermission to deposit in Open Research received from CAEPR (ERMS2230079)
CollectionsANU Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research (CAEPR)

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