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Social Capital And Civil Society1
The concept of civil society and the concept of social capital are more and more frequently used in everyday conversation but hardly anybody understands what this is all about. There are a lot of definitions of both concepts and in this brief article we shall highlight their relationship and the concept of social capital. We can differentiate between 'social capital' and 'civil society' by the fact that 'social capital' is the nature and essence of social relations in the community whereas 'civil society' is the institutional manifestation of these relations. A large number of texts on modern societies are dedicated precisely to institutional forms of social relations but the number of texts to be found on the nature and essence of those social relations jointly presented as the 'social capital' of the community is considerably smaller. Social capital is an old concept dating from 18th century and it was not until recently that it was revitalized through vociferous disputes on civil society. A useful notion of social capital is that it is 'a system of norms and networks (within the community/society) which alleviate collective action'. The second useful notion is considering 'social capital a social (common) resource which alleviates and/or makes the approach of an individual to other social, economic or natural resources harder'. According to ideas from the latest works, social capital is a concept based on specific social values, and it is rather a normative concept than an objective description of people's behaviour. The key value of analysing social capital is, however, in its breadth and abundant content, rather than in normative analysis. The importance of social capital lies not only in the fact that it alleviates understanding of civic participation in group activities (civic or other) but also in the fact that based on it we can more easily grasp that not only are the non-monetary forms of social interactions a source of material or financial gain but a source of power as well. Social capital can be observed as a concept used in sociology to describe human behaviour, or as a more modern normative notion referring to sound state management and democratic behaviour, both on the local and broader social levels, with regard to its importance for the development of a community. The modern concept of social capital developed at the beginning of the nineties in the previous century when Robert Putnam stated the arguments that the effectiveness of the state government is in direct connection with the ability of association in a particular community. The idea to observe the ability of association in a community as a society resource was the response to the idea of accruing personal stock of material capital as the basis for rational economic behaviour. This notion shows that people are social beings rather than lonely individuals, and that social interactions in social and economic life form social capital. The concept of social capital unites economy, political science, development theories and sociology. Social capital as a concept connects functions of the market, state management and social development into a whole. Works addressing the social structure of competitiveness on an imperfect market emphasize the importance of the social capital of participants in the market game. Each market participant has his own network of connections in the arena. Certain players are connected with some other players, they trust them, are obligated to support them and depend on one another in money and commodity trade. The conclusion is that the network structure of any of the players can create competitive advantage from the point of view of investment return coefficient. Each
1 Contribution of the NGO »European Movement in Smederevska Palanka« for the 9th number of newsletter of the project " "Promotion of Pluralism by Strengthening NGOs and The Civil Society In Serbia" in partnership with NGO »European Perspective« from Greece as main applicant (project B7-702/2001/0872, European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights, European Commission). More information about project on the web site http://www.hhdn.org.yu Prepared by Milan Milošević, Master of Systemology and Logistics

participant on the market (as well as in social life) has at least three types of capital: financial capital (cash, bank savings, credit lines, property, etc.), humane capital (personal qualities - personal charm, health, intelligence, skills acquired through education, work experience, etc.) and social capital (connections of a player with other players in the arena through friends, cousins, colleagues, that is, contacts that provide him access to their financial and humane capital). The social capital of people belonging to an organization is integrated into the social capital of the organization. From the point of view of the organization, financial and humane capital determine the capability of the organization to generate a product or a service. Relations inside and outside the organization define its social capital. Financial and humane capital differ in many ways from social capital. They are entirely or partially the property of an individual, as defined by laws on property. On the other hand, they are related to ideas of investment. When we connect them with a person we have production ability (commodity production or providing a service). Social capital is considerably different from both points of view. Above all it is the property of both parties standing in relation. No individual is the exclusive owner of social capital. When someone withdraws from the relation all the social capital within it disappears. On the other hand, social capital directly influences the degree of return of the invested financial and humane capital. Through relations with colleagues, friends and clients we get the opportunity to transform financial and humane capital into profit. Here we should note that in case of a commercial organization, the profit is an economic category, and in case of an organization that provides social services we have social profit (solving certain social problems, improving life quality in a certain social community etc.). Measuring social capital in a community is not at all easy, bearing in mind the various content that can be ascribed to this concept in a specific community in terms of specific needs of the given analysis. The most frequently used indicators are those related to association of citizens into various types of organizations (formal or informal) and to activism of these organizations. Sources: • Ronald S. Burt: 'The Social Structure of Competition' 'NETWORKS AND ORGANIZATIONS: STRUCTURE, FORM, AND ACTION'. Harvard Business School Press, Boston, Massachusetts, 1992 • Patrick Kilby : Social Capital and Civil Society. National Centre for Development Studies, Sydney, 2002 ***

Social Capital And Civil Society