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The role of social capital in negotiating socio-economic needs


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Smith, AE 2001 , 'The role of social capital in negotiating socio-economic needs', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study is an investigation which focuses on the existing body of literature covering
the construct of social capital and fundamental human need theories, particularly the
need to understand and find meaning. It examines these in relationship to learning,
culture and activity theory. The study is a preliminary investigation with limited scope.
The thesis establishes an explanatory analysis and accompanying conceptual framework
to be tested by further research. A proposed meth9dology for data collection and
·analysis is included.
The thesis takes a humanistic approach and proposes that fundamental human need
satisfaction is foundational to human well-being and growth within people's varied
lifeworlds. The study reveals that human interactions and value systems connect the
concepts of social capital, fundamental human need and culture in the form of activities
surrounding fundamental human need satisfaction. Regarding the construct of social
capital and its elements of shared values, trust, norms, reciprocity and networks, the
structural, relational and cognitive dimensions of social capital are proposed and
This thesis suggests that the elements of the social capital construct work together to
facilitate human interactions aimed at satisfying fundamental human needs across
different socio-cultural systems. It places particular ~mphasis on the learning process
required to negotiate the range of socio-economic need satisfactions across different
cultures. Tue study also discusses theories surrounding communitarian psychology as a
precursor to the introduction of activity theory. Activitxi theory in this thesis is explained
as a learning model emphasising human activity aimed at the satisfaction of fundamental human needs. This thesis further develops the activity theory model to demonstrate the
role social capital plays as a resource. A resource, which when accessed, acts as a
mediator of human interaction aimed at enabling the satisfaction of fundamental human
needs. This model directly links human values to human activity-and stresses the link
between human values, human action, and the satisfaction of fundamental human needs.
The model demonstrates how human values have a direct effect on how a person
perceives need-satisfying activities and what resources can be accessed and used in any
This thesis's explanatory analysis and associated conceptual :framework give rise to a set
of propositions, questions and hypotheses. The thesis underpins and justifies the
significance of, and need for, a future cross-cultural study for which a methodology is
proposed. This proposed future study places at its centre the importance of human values
as a pivotal point around which social capital is generated and maintained.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Smith, AE
Keywords: Infrastructure (Economics), Social capital (Sociology)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (MEd)--University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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