Social capital in community level environmental governance: A critique

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Marijn Meijering

Authors: H. Ishihara, U. Pascual

Publication Year: 2009


Journal: Ecological Economics

Volume: 68

Issue: 5

Categories: Resilience


Social capital is often claimed to facilitate collective action regarding the management of complex environmental goods and services. However, there is little systematic analysis in the literature that explains the way social capital aids in fostering collective action. The paper integrates ideas from institutional ecological economics, sociology and anthropology to argue that power relations, involving struggle and resistance, should be acknowledged as they affect collective action. We address the question of why social capital should not be straightforwardly associated positively with common property resource management. To unravel the complexity of the links between social capital, collective action and common property resource management, the concepts of common knowledge and symbolic power are introduced.


Marijn Meijering