Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Social Capital in Caucasus Analytical Digest (CAD)

We have previously worked on social capital, and this issue recently was taken up by the Caucasus Anylatical Digest. The issue discusses the concept of social capital and its relevance to the societies of the South Caucasus.

The author of the first article, Leslie Hough, argues that in contrast to previous perceptions that Georgia is a country with high "bonding" social capital and low "bridging" social capital, in-group solidarity and out-group mistrust, there are in fact vibrant forms of bridging social capital in Georgia; the challenge is the institutionalization of these informal forms of social capital and the alignment of the civil society sector with population's existing priorities and habits. The second article, by Jenny Paturyan, formerly with CRRC, focuses on the low level of social trust in Armenia and its effects on voting behavior and emigration, while the last article, by Anar Valiyev, analyses social capital in Azerbaijan, with the author positing that there is a relatively high level of bonding social capital and correspondingly little bridging social capital in the country, which hinders the development of grass-roots democracy and decreases voter turnout in elections.

All three articles draw on CRRC data, and there are a number of tables highlighting the main aspects of social capital. While we know the authors well, and thus almost feel a bit sheepish in recommending their work, the articles do summarize broad research in accessible style, thus well worth reading. Find the articles here.

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