UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


New paper by Nikolay Mintchev and Henrietta Moore on community prosperity beyond social capital

14 December 2016


Researchers and policymakers working on prosperity, happiness and wellbeing in the UK have recently reworked GDP-centred notions of progress and identified community and belonging as major determinants of a good life. The dominant notion of community in most writing on this topic draws on Putnam’s work on social capital as measured by trust and/or civic engagement.

In this recent publication from IGP Director Professor Henrietta Moore and Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr Nikolay Mintchev, this approach is charged with failing to address the symbolic dimension of political discourses and their national and local effects.

Using data from Newham, London, this article argues that a narrow focus on social capital obfuscates the complexity of community dynamics, leading to misconceptions about the causes of social fragmentation. In the case of Newham, the authors show that while survey data on social capital suggests that diversity is detrimental to community life, a more nuanced analysis reveals that it is in fact an important part of community cohesion.

Read the full article in Critical Social Policy.