THE COMMUNICATIVE RATIONALITY OF SOCIAL CAPITAL. A HABERMASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON SOCIAL CAPITAL
Keywords:social capital, communicative rationality, communicative action theory, instrumental rationality, rational choice theory
AbstractOne of the main criticisms directed towards social capital theory is related to its “economistic” nature and the instrumentalization of social relations. The present article is an attempt to challenge this view and to propose an alternative perspective of social capital based on Jürgen Habermas communicative action theory. Accordingly I suggest understanding social capital through the lens of communicative rationality and argue that reconceptualizing social capital into communicative social capital might benefit both social capital theory and practice. To do so, I first address the rationality issue in social capital theories by simultaneously bringing upfront some of the tensions in the debate concerned with the instrumental rationality, predominant in the social capital literature. Further I present Jürgen Habermas communicative action theory and try to underline its value for social capital scholarship. Finally, I discuss some of the implications of the reinterpretation of social capital from a communicative rationality perspective and suggest some directions to be explored in future social capital approaches.
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