Before Going Any Further With Social Capital: Eight Key Criticisms to Address

Paul Haynes
The concept of social capital emerged as an influential research theme in a number of disciplines in the past twenty years, as measured by the exponential growth in social capital literature throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s. While some of the assumptions of social capital theory have been challenged individually, its limitations as a unified concept have not been adequately tackled within the academic literature. This paper is an attempt to address this challenge, identifying eight key questions that the concept needs to tackle. The paper concludes that a stronger concept of social capital will emerge only by addressing these limitations explicitly and as a cluster rather than individually.