Building Social Capital as a route to Social Inclusion?: Experiences from neighbourhood regeneration in Denmark and England

Activity: Talks and presentationsTalks and presentations in private or public companies


This paper investigates the instrumentalization of the concept of social capital in neighbourhood regeneration policies. The paper builds on material from a research project comparing neighbourhood regeneration policies in Denmark and England, and points to limitations to social capital as an instrument to achieve local social inclusion. The material consists both of an analysis of policy rationales based on policy documents and of interviews with professionals and residents involved in neighbourhood regeneration. The starting point for the paper based on a theoretical combination of Bourdieu and Foucaultian governmentality theories, is a perspective on neighbourhood regeneration policies as elements in a mode of government that govern inclusion through capacity building. This theoretical combination enables an analysis of what constitutes ‘the included subject’, as well as of the differential access to the capacities of inclusion. The first section of the paper discusses how active resident participation and the building of social capital in regeneration projects are constructed as legitimate and just means of achieving social inclusion. Furthermore, how slippages between social capital at different levels; individual, communal and governmental becomes instrumental in these constructions. The second section of the paper discusses the national variations in relation to this route to inclusion and the different understandings of the relations between social capital and community cohesion in England and Denmark. The third section of the paper uses illustrative local examples to discuss how some forms of social capital are constructed as more legitimate than others in relation to regeneration work, and shows the national differences in the detrimental consequences for already marginalised groups, especially ethnic minority networks. Moreover, how the process of building social capital is made complex, not only by the fact that building one form of social capital not necessarily leads to another, but also by the interrelations of social capital with other forms of capital.

Emneord: social capital, Social inclusion, community, neighbourhood regenertion, participation, capacity building, governmentality, Foucault, Bourdieu
Period9 Jun 2009
Event titleThe Social Differentiation of Trust and Social Capital
Event typeConference
LocationAalborg, Denmark


  • social capital
  • Social inclusion
  • community
  • neighbourhood regenertion
  • participation
  • capacity building
  • governmentality
  • Foucault
  • Bourdieu