What is it about?

The idea of social capital refers to individuals’ ability to ‘get things done’ by engaging in more or less dispersed communities. Drawing on 69 qualitative interviews and information from three weaves of the World Value Survey, we observe two explanatory narratives of the weakness of social capital (‘communism’ and ‘national individualism’) as well as disagreement regarding generational and urban/rural differences - which our mixed-method approach helps decode.

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Why is it important?

We answer calls for moving away from quantitative accounts towards the qualitative examination of beliefs and of local understandings of social capital. Unraveling dominant discourses, that what is believed and said, is important given that such narratives shape peoples’ actions. By showing that past experiences of communism remain a critical explanatory factor for the current levels and nature of social capital in Romania, we show that post-communist is still not a dispensable label.


To some extent, neither 'social capital' nor 'community' captures the ways we interact in our modern lives in order to 'get things done' whether by this we understand socializing, lobbying, protesting, helping our neighbour or parents, a stranger on the street or people who we will never meet face-to-face but for whom we care.

Dr Adriana Mihaela Soaita

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Urban Narratives on the Changing Nature of Social Capital in Post-Communist Romania, Europe Asia Studies, February 2020, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/09668136.2020.1718064.
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