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The study of social capital is one of the most exciting recent developments in the social sciences. It has rapidly become a powerful concept in the vocabulary of the social sciences, influenced new research programmes in politics, economics, and the social sciences in general, and established itself in public discourse. As the idea of social capital has spread, the literature about it has increased exponentially. After twenty years it is time for a more consideredand critical assessment of its meaning and its standing as a key concept of social research. The Handbook offers a comprehensive view of social capital studies. Written by some of the main experts in the fields, who have been asked to take a fresh look at various aspects of the concept and of theempirical literatures, it is both an authoritative, critical, and innovative introduction to the study of social capital.
This book examines the social aspects of healthy ageing for older individuals. It features more than 15 papers that explore the relevance of the social environment for health on the micro, meso, and macro level. Overall, the book applies a comprehensive contextual approach that includes discussion of how family and friends, neighborhoods, nations, and welfare regimes influence health. The book first explores the issue on the individual level. It looks at the importance of social capital for health among older people, examines types of social networks and health among older Americans, as well as discusses dynamic social capital and mental health in late life. Next, the book looks at the issue through a neighborhood and societal context, which takes into account day-to-day interaction in the immediate environment as well as the social, health, and economic policies in place in different regions in the world, including America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. From there, the book goes on to offer implications and recommendations for research and practice, including the management of related concepts of research on well-being and health. It also offers a psychosocial approach to promoting social capital and mental health among older adults. This book provides health professionals as well as researchers and students in gerontology, sociology, social policy, psychology, and social work with vital insights into the social factors that increase healthy life years and promote well-being.
`The effects of social context and social structure on health are well documented. The concept of social capital provides a slightly different take on the issue, as it attempts to discover the features of populations in different areas that are crucial in determining the extent and the quality of social interactions and the social institutions within society. Such factors as social networks, levels of participation in civil life (as a citizen) and levels of trust within communities are all associated with social capital. This book provides a detailed exploration of the concept, on its effects on psychological functioning and on the risk factors for mental health that are associated with communities that have either high or low levels of social capital.' - Community Care Why do some areas have a higher prevalence of mental illness than others? How does the structure of a society affect its inhabitants' mental health? This remarkable book is the first to explore in detail the concept of social capital and its implications for mental health policy. Drawing on evidence from international research and fieldwork, the contributors examine the risk factors for mental health associated with both low and high social capital communities. They discuss the importance of relationships between individuals, groups and abstract bodies such as the state and outline different systems of social capital, for example intra-group `bonding' and inter-group `bridging'. The authors challenge the notion of community as a strictly area-based concept and call for broader-based studies of communities built around race, faith or even around a common social exclusion. Social Capital and Mental Health also reviews methods of measuring social capital, analyses the implications of research findings for future policy developments and makes clear recommendations for future practice and research. This book will be an informative and engaging read for sociologists and psychiatrists, and an incisive resource for policy makers and practitioners.
Social capital is a key concept in academic research and policymaking internationally. It focuses attention on social relationships, values, and access to resources in families, communities, regions and nations. But does the concept, with its focus on particular aspects of social life and the thrust of its influence on policy initiatives, hide more than it illuminates? Is it even harmful? Can social capital ideas be amended or adapted to bring other issues into view, or are there alternative concepts that are better able to address contemporary social, economic and political life? This edited collection brings together contributions, including from internationally renowned researchers, that assess social capital - as a theoretical concept, its shaping of policy development, and its practices in research and everyday life. Some reveal the conceptual lacks and policy drawbacks of social capital, and put forward alternatives. Others pursue mainstream models and their adaptation.
A book based on field studies conducted in Cambodia, Rwanda, Guatemala, and Somalia.
How is religion, particularly non-Christianness, conceptualised and represented in English law? What is the relationship between religion, race, ethnicity and culture in these conceptualisations? What might be the socio-political effects of conceptualising religion in particular ways? This book addresses these key questions in two areas of law relating to children. The first case study focuses on child welfare cases and reveals how the boundaries between race and theological notions of religion as belief and practice are blurred. Non-Christians are also often perceived as uncivilized but also, at times, racial otherness can be erased and assimilated. The second examines religion in education and the increasing focus on 'common values'. It demonstrates how non-Christian faith schools are deemed as in need of regulation, while Christian schools are the benchmark of good citizenship. In addition, values discourse and citizenship education provide a means to 'de-racialise' non-Christian children in the ongoing construction of the nation. Central to this analysis is a focus on religion as a socio-political, contingent, fluid and invented concept.

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