Wicked Social Capital Eludes Institutional Design – How Poor Mainland Chinese Migrants Coped with the Far East Economic Crisis



Wong, Sam
(2012) Wicked Social Capital Eludes Institutional Design – How Poor Mainland Chinese Migrants Coped with the Far East Economic Crisis. In: Vibrant Societies: the Dynamics of Social Capital and Civic Engagement in Asia. Routledge,London, 182 - 198.

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Abstract

This book chapter challenges Elinor Ostrom’s ‘Design Principles’ to build social capital for its inadequate understanding of human motivations in participation and an over-simplified view of institutions. It draws on Mainland Chinese migrants in Hong Kong as a case study and develops the concept of ‘wicked social capital’ to highlight five key features of social capital that have been sidelined in the mainstream social capital literature. Firstly, it underlines the less-conscious and less-strategic motivations for civic engagement. Secondly, it shows the dynamic, ad hoc and fragile nature of social capital which hinders institutional designs. Thirdly, the interplay between new and old institutions can create double victimisation for poor people. Fourthly, social capital can be built on inequitable power relationships that constrain less-advantaged groups from making claims on relational resources. Fifthly, the paradoxical outcomes of participation mean that poor people could be worse off in public engagement by bearing disproportionately high costs of participation. This book chapter suggests that we need to build a more poverty- and gender-sensitive model of collective action by taking power dynamics and the complex nature of social relationships seriously before any interventions take place. The discussion provides highly relevant policy implications for using social capital to provide solutions to the current economic crisis.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 02 Apr 2015 16:06
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2019 11:13
URI: http://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/2009323
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