The Concept of Social Capital: Conceptual Analysis and Critique - Daniel T.L. SHEK
Daniel T.L. SHEK
Professor, Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
[Abstract] This paper examines the concept of Social Capital with reference to its definition, types, and related theories. An assessment of methods and sources of Social Capital are also explored. A critical review shows that there are several limitations of the use of the concept and related research. These criticisms include: a) the vagueness of the concept; b) non-clarity of assessment methods; c) the concept appears to be "old wine in a new bottle"; d) the problem of logical circularity in explaining economic development; e) inadequate attention paid to negative aspects of Social Capital, f) equivocal and inconclusive empirical support for the link between Social Capital and economic development; and g) conflicting claims on the decline in Social Capital. While the concept of Social Capital and related research are attractive, one must be conscious of the related criticisms.
Network Building and Social Capital Development: Relevance to HKSAR at the Cross-Roads of Social, Economic, Cultural and Value Changes - WU Wai-yung, Raymond
WU Wai-yung, Raymond
Chairperson, Community Investment and Inclusion Fund Committee
[Abstract] The existence of strong interconnecting networks of relationships is often an indication of a society’s social capital potential, its resilience and capacity to cope with radical changes. HKSAR is currently caught in the global “third wave revolution” where new solutions to new challenges are called for. Within this global context, the relevance and robustness of traditional social structures and relationships to effectively respond to radical, fast-paced and large-scale changes must also be seriously re-assessed. Locally, HKSAR is at a crossroad facing fundamental social, economic, cultural and value changes. This article discusses the possible impact of this global third wave revolution and unique local context on social relationships and network-building as part of social capital development in HKSAR.
Contribution of the Mutual Aid Committees and Owners’ Corporations to the Promotion of Social Networking - Stephen FISHER
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs
[Abstract] Social networking is an important social asset. The HKSAR Government is committed to the promotion of community participation and social networking. To this end, the Government has encouraged residents of buildings to form Mutual Aid Committees and Owners’ Corporations. Through their various functions and activities, these organizations help improve the living environment and foster neighbourliness, which is conducive to increasing public participation in community affairs and the establishment of cohesive social networks.
News Media, Government and Social Cohesion in Hong Kong - Clement Y. K. SO
Clement Y. K. SO
Associate Professor, School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
[Abstract] To promote social cohesion, the news media and government both play critical roles. The press in Hong Kong can adequately reflect public opinion, but it needs to make improvements in taste and credibility. Suffering from questions about its legitimacy, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government has not performed well and sometimes gives the impression of not listening to public opinion. The news media in Hong Kong must make positive changes on their own, while the government should adopt a pro-Hong Kong stand, build a more democratic political system, respond to public opinion and show real results. These moves are conducive to better social cohesion in Hong Kong.
Promoting Inclusion Through Social Participation - Anna WU
Chairperson, Equal Opportunities Commission
[Abstract] Social inclusion is key to maintaining the well being of a society, a strengthening factor to sustainable development. A fair society exists when people feel a sense of belongings and differences between individuals are respected. And this is what equal opportunities is about, building a society based on meritocracy. Every individual is unique. What we emphasize is to ignore irrelevant factors, regardless of whether an individual is male or female, married or single, with or without a disability, and offer them a fair chance to go as far as their talents and abilities can take them. This paper reviews the social changes of Hong Kong and public perceptions of women, persons with a disability and single parents. It also examines ways to promote social inclusion. The work of the Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission in fighting against discrimination and building a harmonious society is documented.
Knowing is Easier Than Doing: Hong Kong People’s Awareness and Condition of Social Participation - Timothy Ka-ying WONG Chack-kie WONG
Timothy Ka-ying WONG
Research Officer, Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Professor, Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
[Abstract] Based on data from two separate survey projects, this paper systematically examines Hong Kong people’s awareness and condition of social participation in the first five years after the change of sovereignty on 1 July 1997. The results reveal, that while people’s awareness of social participation is strong and positive, their actual social participation remains relatively weak. This phenomenon matches the Chinese adage that “Knowing is Easier than Doing” It also echoes Lau and Kuan’s depiction of Hong Kong residents before 1997 as being “attentive observers” Nevertheless, compared with the situation following the Handover, it appears that five years later people’s actual social participation has improved quite significantly. Cross-tabulation results also show that people with higher education levels tend to have greater social participation. Hence, expanding education could be one way of promoting social participation in Hong Kong. However, as social participation is crucial to the healthy development of citizenship, the development of citizenship in Hong Kong can only be made more mature after the enhancement of social participation.
_Re-building of Trust between the Government and the Public - Anthony B.L. CHEUNG
Anthony B.L. CHEUNG
Professor, Department of Public and Social Administration, The City University of Hong Kong
[Abstract] This article explores the problems of Hong Kong in the perspective of social capital and social cohesion and points to the decline in the sense of belonging of Hong Kong people as well as the decline in the level of their trust in political institutions. The root cause of such a crisis in identity and trust is related to the lack of a sense of community with a common destiny and mission. The lack of room for citizen participation and citizen empowerment in public affairs within the current political design is also a factor. It is argued that citizenship has to be put back to the governance agenda in order to rebuild social cohesion.
Is “Social Capital” Related to “Civil Society”? ──Rethinking Putnam’s Thesis - Agnes KU
Assistant Professor, Division of Social Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
[Abstract] In the 1990s, Putnam put together the two different concepts of “civil society” and “social capital”. His thesis has now become prevalent in political and academic circles in the United States, which reflects the historical and conservative intellectual roots of the society. To a certain extent, the concept of “social capital” helps focus attention on civil society’s internal associations, civic engagement and communal ties. However, in discussing the issue of social capital, attention must be paid to the larger question of how to build up a democratic and vigorous civil society.
Locating Social Capital in a Self-Help Organization: As Compared to the Analysis of Andre Gorz on Autonomy Economy - Meilin WU
Co-Ordinator, Hong Kong Women Workers’ Association
[Abstract] Through the experience of a women’s co-op in the Chinese University, this article explores the value of non-capital logic within the discourse of “Social Capital” In comparison to Andre Gorz’s concept of the “Autonomy Economy”, this article tries to establish a critical perspective by locating “Social Capital” under the framework of “State Redistribution? “Market Competition” and “Communal Reciprocity”.