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Trust as Social Capital as Output of (Higher) Education

By A.Martin Gough


My purpose is to investigate the extent to which social capital is a useful tool for analysing performance of the higher and other educational sectors.\ud \ud Macroeconomic human capital analysis of higher education is not essentially flawed but highlights its anti-individualist and anti-humanist character, belying the presentation of it by policy analysts. Schuller, for instance, claims that what makes social capital interesting is that it gets away from the individualism of human capital and that it can bring about an output of educational processes leading to wellbeing of communities on top of mere economic measures. This claim exemplifies a conceptual confusion about both human and social capital.\ud \ud The concept of social capital is theoretically weak at the general level but more specific usages of the term have more modest explanatory power, the central usage being level of trust. Considering it independently of its links to education and learning, it suggests an alternative social ontology to individualism. Social capital is seen in policy circles as a positive bulwark against social deprivation and community degeneration. It is, however, problematic to claim that top-down provision of educational resources, including higher education, can work towards this end, as opposed to undermining it. \u

Topics: LB, LC5201, HB, JC, HM, BD
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