In the backdrop of the popularisation of social capital, it has become fashionable in development circles to highlight the resilience of the poor in the midst of stresses and shocks as well as their resourcefulness. Expressing scepticism, this article argues that social capital is a ‘conditional’ resource for the poor, availability of which is dependant on the presence of a ‘critical mass’ of other resources. The State plays a pivotal role in creating this ‘critical mass’. Household level case studies from a village in Kerala, India, on how the poor cope with vulnerable situations, are used to illustrate this point
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.