Book Review: Researchers Behaving Badly

In the March 2012 issue of the Review of Radical Political Economics, Martha A. Starr of American University reviewed “Theories of Social Capital: Researchers Behaving Badly,” which examines the concept of “those features of social organization, such as networks, norms, and trust, that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit”:

Ben Fine’s new book on social capital continues and elaborates upon key themes laid down in his 2001 book on the subject. The gist of his argument is that the concept of social capital, which has swept through the social sciences like a wildfire in the past 15 years, is so fundamentally flawed as to illuminate next to nothing about social reality; and that on the contrary, it leads us off the pathways we ought to be on to develop valuable, meaningful, and accurate conceptualizations of social life.

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