'Social capital' is a concept that describes the extent and nature of relationships people have with others, the relationships people have with their communities, and relationships between people and various services, institutions and systems. It is also a concept that can be used to understand the linkages between communities or institutions. The concept of social capital has been directly linked to broader concepts such as social cohesion, democracy, economic wellbeing and sustainability. It is a concept that has attracted much policy and academic interest in Australia in recent years. Most recently, the concept has been adopted and developed in various capacity building and community development strategies, both nationally and internationally. Within this context, the aims of this paper are to: briefly to outline what social capital is; examine how different types of social capital are distributed among families and communities; describe how a focus on relationships can relate to capacity building, using examples; and describe some of the principles involved in relationship building in working with families and communities.
Stronger Families Learning Exchange Bulletin,
No. 4 (2003), p. 13-16