'Social capital formation can control communal outbreaks'

Social capital is more a sensitive concept, rather than a definitive concept. Unlike financial capital, it is a conglomeration of diverse entities like trust, norms, and networks and embedded in the structure of social relations which helps in collective development, said Mumbai Tata Institute of Social Sciences Centre of Research Methodology Professor Dr N Jayaram. 

Delivering his keynote address after inaugurating a national-level seminar on ‘Social capital formation- The Indian experience,’ here at Besant Women’s College, on Friday, Jayaram said that for a country like India which is committed to secular values, social capital formation in the form of strengthening of associations is most important. Vigorous and communally integrated associational life can serve as agent of peace by restraining those, including politicians, who would polarise Hindus and Muslims along communal lines. Villages are less prone to communal violence as their informal sites and meetings perform the role of formal associations, he said.

Women and social capital

Jayaram said that in a society like India, with women constituting almost 50 per cent of the population and actively contributing directly or indirectly to the development of the economy, society, culture, they are like reservoir of capital. This points at the importance of investing in women’s development in education and socio-political empowerment and short term target specific programmes like self-help groups and micro-finance institutions.  

Technical advancement 

He said that the revolution in the field of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has played a key role in the formation of social capital in 21st century. Speedy dissemination of information among large mass of population has broken the physical barriers of communication among people. There has been the democratisation of communication and access to information. However, the digital divide accompanying ICT has introduced new dimensions into existing class inequalities and reinforced them further. All this will have impact on the process and nature of social capital formation, he pointed out. 

Active social capital formation and utilisation calls for sound leadership or committed change agents. The tradition, and often hereditary, leaders in villages can make social capital productive for the purpose of community peace. But, more importantly, the new political entrepreneurs, shedding their primordial moorings, can activate social capital for achieving benefits that may reach wider community. 

College Correspondent B Mohan Nayak said that the genuine concern and care one can hold towards the people of the community and neighbourhood can be one great way of harnessing social capital. 

Women’s National Educational Society President Kudpi Jagadish Shenoy presided over the function. Mangalore Sociology Association Vice President Melvin Rego, former principal Manjula K T,  Principal Prof Pushpalatha B K, Coordinators Indiara Devi K P, Dr Nalini M S and others were present.

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