Understanding the role of social capital for health promotion beyond Putnam: a qualitative case study from northern Sweden
2009 (English)In: Social theory and health, ISSN 1477-8211, Vol. 7, no 4, 318-338 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Social capital is believed to improve the capacity of communities to work together for solving collective health problems. The present study was conducted in a community in northern Sweden where citizens through collective actions managed to build an association-driven health center. The aims were to describe the community's existing social capital in order to explore how Putnam's theories could contribute to an understanding of the observed high civic engagement and to discuss how other theoretical perspectives might add to an understanding of the role of social capital for health promotion. A qualitative case study was performed and the analysis followed a grounded theory approach. In accordance with Putnam, inherited social capital and high participation in existing associations were found to be important for uniting people. Beyond these, other aspects such as effective information channels, strong leaders and high social control were also significant and better understood by adding Coleman's and Bourdieu's views of social capital. If social capital is to be used for the purposes of health promotion the risk of increased social inequality as an unintended consequence needs to be considered. An awareness of how specific contextual conditions affect the building and mobilizing of social capital is also crucial.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 7, no 4, 318-338 p.
social capital, community health promotion, qualitative case study, grounded theory
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject Social Medicine
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-34196DOI: 10.1057/sth.2009.6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-34196DiVA: diva2:319795