Social Capital: A Conceptual History

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Social Capital: A Conceptual HistoryAuthor(s): James FarrSource: Political Theory, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 2004), pp. 6-33Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.Stable URL: .Accessed: 13/09/2013 23:06Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact .Sage Publications, Inc. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Political Theory. This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsCONCEPTUAL HISTORIES SOCIAL CAPITAL A Conceptual History JAMES FARR University of Minnesota Taking its departure from current debates over social capital, this article presents new textual findings in a backward-revealing conceptual history. In particular, it analyzes the texts and con- texts ofLyda J. Hanifan who was rediscovered by Robert Putnam as having (allegedlyfirst) used the term; it offers discoveries of earlier uses of the term and concept-most notably by John Dewey-thereby introducing critical pragmatism as another tradition of social capital; and it recoversfeatures of the critique ofpolitical economy in the nineteenth century-from Bellamy to Marshall to Sidgwick to Marx-that assessed "capitalfrom the social point of view," especially cooperative associations. While it ends with Marx's use of "social capital," Dewey is its central figure. The article concludes by returning to the present and offering work, sympathy, civic edu- cation, and a critical stance as emergent themes from this conceptual history that might enrich current debates. Keywords: social capital; conceptual history; pragmatism; Dewey; Hanifan L3Social capital" is one of our trendiest terms, heard with increasing fre- quency by professors, pundits, and politicians worldwide. This is having a predictable consequence. The term is proliferating meanings and provoking contests. How could it be otherwise for a term that conjures the disputed con- AUTHOR'S NOTE: For many different kinds of assistance, I would like to thank Robert Adcock, Terence Ball, Eugene Borgida, Harry Boyte, Terrell Carver, John Dryzek, Edwin Fogelman, Rus- sell Hanson, Tom Healy, Susan Hunter John Gunnell, Jeffrey Isaac, James Johnson, Jeffrey Lomonaco, Karen McClure, Robert Putnam, Daniel Rodgers, Julie Reuben, William Scheuerman, Harriet Furst Simon, Ben Stone, Benjamin Sullivan, Simon Szreter Michael Thobois, Mark E. Warren, Stephen White, Michael Woolcock, participants in the Political Theory Colloquium at the University of Minnesota, and anonymous reviewers. I owe special acknowl- edgment and thanks to Mary G. Dietz. POLITICAL THEORY, Vol. 32 No. 1, February 2004 6-33 DOI: 10.1177/0090591703254978 ? 2004 Sage Publications 6 This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 7 notations of capitalism or renders sociable the reigning category of the dis- mal science? Scarcely an article on social capital begins without complaining about the semantic fallout from this situation. Woolcock fears the "indiscrim- inate applications" that attend such "a wide variety of meanings," while Mondak worries "that the meaning of social capital will become muddled" amidst the "staggering flood of discourse."' This concerns empirical theo- rists who seek stable referents and clear definitions. But it also concerns con- ceptual historians who take the proliferation and contestation of meanings as given and intractable. Future conceptual historians of social capital will have to trace and reflect upon the trend that began in the 1980s and accelerated in the 1990s. The booming economies of Western countries during those years will surely not go unnoticed. Nor will the inexorable march of economic theorizing in the social sciences. But any finer-grained account will have to result from textual perusal and contextual reconstruction of the academic scholarship and public discourse that began with and followed upon the work of Glenn C. Loury, Pierre Bourdieu, and James S. Coleman.2 Conceptual historians will also have to account for the spillover of social science into popular culture, the credit for which goes to Robert Putnam. His famous diagnosis of "bowling alone" has made its way from such academic venues as the Journal of Democracy, PS, and Simon & Schuster, to such mass outlets as People Maga- zine, Cooking Light, and the World Wide Web.3 It will take some time before the semantic morphing of social capital slows its pace or steadies its forms such that conceptual historians can do their future work.4 Today's conceptual historians face a different task: to trace and reflect upon the discursive pathways that led into the preceding two decades, ideally beginning with the earliest uses of social capital. Some of this work has already begun (by Woolcock, Putnam, and others), as has the varied project of tracing particular conceptual histories.5 The previous uses of the term "social capital" turn out to be few and far between, and their users unknown to one another. Putnam credits Loury, Bourdieu, and Coleman, as well as the sociologist of urban decline, Jane Jacobs (in 1961), and the social psycholo- gists of suburban life, John R. Seeley et al. (in 1956). He also identifies Lyda J. Hanifan, an obscure rural educator from West Virginia, as having invoked (in 1916) "the first known use of the concept."6 Moreover, Woolcock identifies four traditions of social capital, each associated with a grand theo- rist of economic sociology: Marx, Weber, Simmel, and Durkheim. To this list, he adds Benthamite utilitarianism as a fifth tradition.7 This historical work is intriguing and whets the appetite of conceptual historians for whom many questions remain. Have we missed important uses of term or concept? Do other traditions flow into the headwaters of social capital? What was This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions8 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 Hanifan up to when he wrote as he did in 1916? Why "capital"? What might inform our present debates by exploring these conceptual innovations a cen- tury and more ago? Questions like these prompt this article. In trying to answer them, I have set myself two general objectives. The first and primary objective is to pres- ent new textual findings in the form of a conceptual history of social capital. The second and more critical objective extracts some themes that emerge from this conceptual history as potential insights for enriching or advancing current debates. In particular, the article pursues these objectives by describ- ing more thickly Hanifan's texts and contexts, by offering discoveries of ear- lier uses of the term and concept-most notably by John Dewey-thereby introducing critical pragmatism as another tradition of social capital, and by recovering features of the critique of classical political economy in the nine- teenth century-from Edward Bellamy to John Bates Clark to Karl Marx- that assessed, in Henry Sidgwick's and Alfred Marshall's phrase, "capital from the social point of view," especially cooperative associations. Presented in this order and contrary to other styles of conceptual history, the article pro- ceeds backward in time, as if peeling layers or excavating sediments. While it ends (and the history temporally begins) with Marx's use of "social capital" in 1867, Dewey is its central figure. In recognition of Dewey's claim that "the true starting point of history is always some present situation with its prob- lems" (1916 in MW 9:222),8 the article concludes by returning to the present and offering work, sympathy, civic education, and a critical stance as emer- gent themes from this conceptual history that might enrich or advance cur- rent debate. Preparatory to pursuing its two general objectives, the article begins by way of a brief discussion of terms, concepts, and current under- standings of "social capital"-as well as some overlooked examples-in order to answer a basic question: What are we looking for in a conceptual his- tory of this kind? Overall, I hope to have contributed to the historical, concep- tual, and critical dimensions of the debate over social capital, without deny- ing and indeed relishing the prospect that other conceptual histories might appear to offer other critical insights.9 SOCIAL CAPITAL IN TERM AND CONCEPT Putnam has figured so centrally in contemporary debate, that we may begin with his conceptualization in order to frame what follows. In a way both compact and capacious, the concept of social capital boils down to net- works, norms, and trust. Upon inspection, networks prove dense and valu- able, norms pervade individual actions and social relations, and trust appears This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 9 psychologically complex. "Like any other form of capital"-namely, physi- cal or human-social capital aids future productivity of individuals and groups in civil society, though not mainly economically. And it has as its "conceptual cousin, 'community.' "o0 Putting these elements together, social capital is complexly conceptualized as the network of associations, activities, or relations that bind people together as a community via certain norms and psychological capacities, notably trust, which are essential for civil society and productive of future collective action or goods, in the manner of other forms of capital. This broad concept lies behind the term "social capital"" found in the ear- lier writers that Putnam identifies. There are differences among and between these writers such that we may speak of their varying conceptions, bound loosely together by their family resemblances to one another.12 Coleman, for example, emphasized that social capital was an endowment of social struc- ture, not individuals; and he was disinclined to draw "community" into the family tree. Bourdieu accented "institutionalized relationships of mutual acquaintance and recognition," as well as found class "distinction" more important a "resource" than trust. Loury used the term only once when con- cluding his initial article to "represent the consequences of social position" as a possible explanation of differences in "human capital" characteristics, where one's social position was dictated by "racialism" and other "social forces." Jacobs, too, was strikingly brief, drawing the discussion tightly around "networks" without articulation of norms or trust. Seeley and col- leagues conceptualized social capital as the "status" that individuals accrued or lent as a result of their group activities; and since the groups came from upper-crust suburban clubs, the sociologists did not conceal their critical dis- tance from this "commodity similar to money."'3 Similarly, differences may be found in Hanifan (and others, below) who invoked the broad concept, briefly or at length, but who also expanded or limited the concept's domain, stressed different norms or capacities, valorized certain associations or activ- ities over others, or put the concept to critical rather than commendatory uses. This last item, regarding criticism versus commendation, invites attention to the uses to which social capital is put. This, in turn, invites attention to what a particular writer was doing in using the concept in a particular way in a partic- ular context. In contemporary literature, social capital is often called a term or word(s), as well as a concept. Often, distinctions are not and need not be drawn between these items of speech, language, and thought. Concepts are certainly linguistic entities, in that none exist or can be articulated without the vocabu- laries of terms in language. Indeed, this is crucial to the pursuit of conceptual history, as well as for understanding conceptual change politically. As This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions10 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 Quentin Skinner observes, "The surest sign that a society has entered into possession of a new concept is that a new vocabulary will be developed, in terms of which the concept can then be publicly articulated and discussed."'4 The most striking sign occurs when a shorthand term is coined to match a concept in order to facilitate discussion, in Skinner's example, "state" for state, and in ours, "social capital" for social capital. However, this is not always the case, especially when a concept is still in its formative period and no term yet exists for it. There are occasions, that is, in which terms and con- cepts do not match. There may be the concept without the term, or the term "social capital" without the concept (in question). The former situation, alas, is nearly univer- sal before the 1980s, given the capaciousness of the concept and the fact that " 'social capital' is to some extent merely new language for a very old debate in American intellectual circles." Tocqueville-"the patron saint of contem- porary social capitalists"-displayed concept without term when surveying associations in democratic America.'" So, too, did the grand theorists of eco- nomic sociology, as well as their predecessors, Hume, Smith, and Mill, when analyzing civil society under capitalism. Such abundance of conceptual riches in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries suggests why the exciting discovery lies in early uses of the term itself as that sure sign that social capi- tal has arrived for articulation and discussion. But not just any use of the term "social capital" will do, since the converse situation of term without (rele- vant) concept may obtain. For example, when lamenting its "excessive rate" of destruction in the 1970s, James Buchanan used the term "social capital" to denominate not associations or trust, but a society's "capital investment char- acteristic of adherence to [legal] rules."'16 Or, consider Woolcock's observa- tion that earlier economists from Alfred Marshall to John Hicks used the "actual words 'social capital,' " but only to distinguish "temporary and per- manent stocks of physical capital."7 While there is more to Marshall and political economy, as we shall see, this verdict about the mismatch of term and concept seems essentially correct.'8 Given these brief considerations, what are we looking for in a conceptual history of this sort? We seek earlier conceptions of social capital (sharing family resemblances with contemporary ones), when matched by the term, while attentive to what their authors were doing in using term and concep- tion, in the contexts and as part of the traditions in which they did so. We begin by turning to the first heretofore known user of the term, about whom virtually nothing has been written apart from Putnam's notice. Hardly a major or canonical thinker, such an innovator deserves some attention, given our piqued historical curiosity and his conceptual family ties.19 This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 11 HANIFAN AND THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENTS OF CIVIC EDUCATION In 1916, "L. J. Hanifan, A. M., State Supervisor of Rural Schools" pub- lished "a story of achievement" in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science concerning a rural West Virginia community's development of "social capital." Hanifan prefaced his story with three para- graphs of conceptual and terminological reflections that began quite imaginatively. In the use of the phrase social capital I make no reference to the usual acceptation of the term capital, except in a figurative sense. I do not refer to real estate, or to personal prop- erty or to cold cash, but rather to that in life which tends to make these tangible substances count for most in the daily lives of a people, namely, goodwill, fellowship, mutual sympa- thy and social intercourse among a group of individuals and families who make up a social unit, the rural community, whose logical center is the school. In community build- ing as in business organization and expansion there must be an accumulation of capital before constructive work can be done. After playing out the analogy to a business organization and observing that individuals desire group life beyond the family, Hanifan concluded with a troubling reminder, as well as a call to inquiry that refused despair: "That there is today almost a total lack of such social capital in rural districts throughout the country need not be retold in this article. ... The important question now is, 'How may these conditions be made better?' "20 Hanifan was not yet done with social capital. With slight alterations, he included his Annals article as chap. 6 of The Community Center (1920), his last and most important publication.21 This book figured in a Teacher Training Series that appeared just after the end of America's engagement in World War I.22 The war itself, as well as rural isolation, poverty, and illiteracy, provided the backdrop and the urgency to accumulate social capital. Hanifan used the term a few more times in his book, and the greatly expanded number of pages provided the opportunity to further link social capital to "the com- munity center idea."23 The Community Center also incorporated another work whose form made even clearer what Hanifan was doing in hailing the community center in terms of "social capital." He was using the concept to help create the thing itself; or, rather, he was using the term to name that which his and others' efforts were designed to bring about. This earlier work, of 1913-A Handbook Containing Suggestions and Programs for Commu- nity Social Gatherings at Rural School Houses-lived up to its title by pro- viding twenty-one programs "to both help and encourage teachers in the great work of improving rural social life."24 The programs were intended as This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions12 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 little more than first steps toward more effective and imaginative solutions to the problems of isolation and urban migration. But since it was urgent "that something be done," Hanifan suggested hosting dramatic and musical pro- grams, as well as a health day. A peace day invited memorials by aging Civil War veterans on the "destruction by war," and an Indian Night peaked by debating whether "white men were justified in driving the Indians from their possessions and occupying them for themselves."25 When the Handbook pro- grams were compressed into two long chapters of The Community Center, Hanifan added to them public debates to force deliberation over women's suffrage, capital punishment, and presidential term limits. He also offered clues for a more theoretical understanding of social capital (to which we return) cast in terms of "sympathy" and "work." The term "social capital" did not appear in Hanifan's published writings before 1916. However, he had by then already sketched an analysis of social conditions that helped explain what he would call "the total lack of social capital in rural districts" when first using the term. This sketch analyzed "deplorable" school conditions, "inequalities of wealth" attending "indus- trial developments," segregation and unequal education for "Negro youth," and "great many foreigners" in rural as well as urban America who could not "become good citizens" without "a helping hand."26 More constructively, the formative concept of social capital sprung from an earlier articulation of "the social center idea" about which Hanifan was already enthusiastic.27 Here was a rural educator's civic dream: an idea and a movement that placed education in general-and the school in particular-at the center of public life. The school would be the site for public work and the symbol of the movement. The social center movement began in 1907 in Rochester, though its idea was inspired earlier, and it spread rapidly. On the eve of his presidency, Woodrow Wilson endorsed the movement, as did Theodore Roosevelt, Rob- ert LaFollette, Mary Parker Follett, the National Municipal League, and the National Education Association (NEA), among others. The subject of sev- eral national conferences, the movement spawned an official Social Center Association of America and numerous informal programs in America's hin- terland-including in West Virginia where the movement arrived and its message promulgated in 1913 largely through Hanifan's own efforts and those of the State Superintendent of Free Schools, M. P. Shawkey. The move- ment provided a practical as well as a discursive context for understanding social capital and Hanifan's innovative matching term. Not only, that is, did social center activists provide practical projects for the public work of the cit- izenry to build up their collective resources for future action; they deployed the terminology of "sympathy," "work," and "community." Bidding individ- uals, "Go to, now, let us be social," Herbert Quick and fellow activists This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 13 inveighed against unbridled individualism. The metaphors of economic life came readily. Consider "what the public may expect in dividends: material, civic, and social," reckoned Kate Upson Clark to the NEA during its conven- tion that endorsed the social center movement. The words of then-governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey were read into the proceedings of the con- vention by the movement's national leader, Edward J. Ward, whose writings were cited by Hanifan. "What is going to be produced by this movement," Wilson figured, is "a release of common forces ... now somewhere banked up." Ward himself turned from bank to machine to capture the point: "Social center development is the construction of the necessary machinery whereby hitherto wasted civic and social forces may be coordinated to develop for all, and so for each, benefits in light and power." More simply, the social center "economizes social forces."28 Figurative speech born of economic origins adorned other movements of the Progressive Era. The social center movement was, as Ward noted, "a focalizing of many movements," including the social settlement, the civic club, the community music, the reading circle, the library extension, the uni- versity extension, the industrial cooperation, and the country life move- ments. Hanifan had these various, intersecting movements in mind when he admitted that his discussion of "social capital" broached "subjects not gener- ally thought of in connection with community center work," like good roads and community surveys.29 This latter instrument for assessing communities' problems was, also, a trademark of the community civics movement. Under the leadership of Arthur William Dunn, this movement sought to replace the "old civics" and its rote memorization of governmental formalities, with a "new civics" more attuned to local community life and active learning. Young students at school were to investigate and help solve social prob- lems-ranging from health to recreation to migration to land stewardship- by working in groups or clubs with their peers, teachers, and elders. Thereby, they learned by doing, they absorbed their duties as well as their rights, and they made of themselves active citizens, not just citizens-in-waiting. This movement was an evident complement and ally to the social center move- ment since nothing was more natural than to place community civics in the school as social center. It gained many of the same endorsements by organi- zations like the NEA, picking up additional ones, including the American Political Science Association (APSA) when it reconsidered The Teaching of Government. Two of the authors Hanifan cited as best expressing the social center idea-Field (in 1911) and Nearing (in 1915)-collaborated on Com- munity Civics (in 1916). In this work, the authors reiterated that the school ideally provided "the social center bond" and praised certain schools for real- izing the ideal.30 What was going on in such schools and in the new civics was This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions14 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 the public work of civic education. It was no giant feat of imagination to gloss this work (or its accumulative consequences) in metaphoric terms of wealth, dividends, or economic growth. "Social capital" was just Hanifan's "figura- tive" term for it all, as indeed it was for a far more significant thinker of the era. DEWEY AND THE CONSTRUCTIVE WORK OF CRITICAL PRAGMATISM All signs point to John Dewey as presenting the most authoritative philos- ophy for the movements of civic education and the texts of social capital. His fame as both philosopher and educator was unsurpassed in his day. He addressed the NEA in 1902 on "The School as Social Center" before there was a national movement. His words were used in the call for national meet- ings of workers in social centers in 1916, and he was himself a participant in some of the higher-profile meetings. The leaders of the movement, most notably Ward, acknowledged their debt to Dewey, as did the leaders of the community civics movement, most notably Dunn. Indeed, Dunn articulated his own "justification and aim" in community civics simply by citing Dewey's words (from the 1897 Ethical Principles Underlying Education) on citizenship training. The special editor of the Annals in which Hanifan came out with "social capital" introduced the volume by quoting Dewey's School and Society. A number of authors in the volume quoted Dewey or drew upon his oft-cited notions about cooperative experimentation, learning-by-doing, or the new civics. The author documenting the democratic appeal of the com- munity music movement-"music for the people, of the people, and by the people"-cited Dewey's words as inspiration. Hanifan himself cited Dewey's famous treatises, including School and Society, as well as Schools for Tomorrow and Democracy and Education. These citations outnumbered those for any other author.31 Dewey's philosophy was the seedbed for the concept of social capital in this era, one fruit of which was the term itself. For Dewey, "society means association; coming together in joint intercourse and action for the better realization of any form of experience which is augmented and confirmed by being shared" (1920 in MW 12:196). Democracy itself was nothing other than "a mode of associated living" (1916 in MW 9:93) experienced by citi- zens in and through their communication with each other, via associations, education, and public work. Dewey's social center address (1902 in MW 2:83) noted that "the content of the term 'citizenship' is broadening; it is com- ing to mean all the relationships of all sorts that are involved in membership in a community." While Dewey would briefly imagine one Great Community This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 15 (later in The Public and Its Problems), his principal message concerned the diverse communities of democratic life, as found in the collectivities of schools, neighborhoods, and workplaces, down to the groups, associations, and clubs in them. These collectivities provided "the network of social activi- ties that bind people together" (1915 in MW 8:362). They also provided sites for an education that mined and "conserved" for future use the "native fund of power" that individuals have when organized in society, drawing upon the "resources of the whole group" (1897 in EW 5:79, 437). Dewey gave his philosophy a number of names, the most famous (and often misunderstood) being pragmatism. Apart from narrowly philosophical meanings, pragmatism was about work, what works to solve problems, and the habits that sustained the work of problem solving. One could call it (fol- lowing Campbell) Social Pragmatism in order to underscore its relentlessly social understanding of work, problems, and habits. One could also call it Critical Pragmatism in order to highlight its relentlessly critical stance toward received traditions in philosophy or public life.32 Pragmatism was itself one of many offspring of the critical philosophies of Kant and Hegel, a heritage it repaid by being critical of them most of all. Dewey (1925 in LW 1:298) would presently come to think that all "philosophy is inherently criti- cism" where criticism was "discriminating judgment ... concern[ing] goods or values" relevant to the problems of public life. Among these problems, critical pragmatism took a stance against any agency that denied or deprived the democratic goods of sympathy and cooperation-in short, social capi- tal-to individuals or communities. Whether human beings or social forces, such agencies of denial or deprivation represented "the evils of the present industrial and political situation" (1897 in EW 5:72). Dewey numbered among them poverty, unemployment, and isolation, as well as ignorance, rac- ism, and nationalism. He criticized government for failing to address these evils or to live up to its own avowals of democracy. He assailed capitalism for its dogmatic philosophy of unbridled individualism and property rights, as well as for its corporations that "treated competitors, employees, and the public in a purely economic fashion" without regard to "private sympathy or public duty" (1908 in MW 5:446). "Trusts" (usually in quotes) abused their fiduciary powers and gave "trust" a bad name. Traditional education shared the individualism of capitalist ideology, though it was otherwise out of step with the radical changes wrought by capitalism. And it was fixated on "the trinity of fetishes"-reading, writing, and arithmetic (1896 in EW 5:440). Three points about critical pragmatism deserve emphasis regarding social capital. First, criticism must be attended by construction (a point underscored in Dewey's later Construction and Criticism). Criticism is prompted by prob- lems or crises in social life that it in turn seeks to help solve, resolve, or ame- This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions16 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 liorate.33 Never purely negative, that is, criticism serves constructive pur- poses by fashioning ideas about the work or action required and then guiding that work or action, drawing upon the very social conditions that relate to problem or crisis. We leverage one part of a given reality against another; there is nothing outside, above, or providentially guaranteed. Where social capital is denied, deprived, or absent, shared public work via active network- ing in associations is the only solution or amelioration available. Dewey him- self exemplified what a public intellectual might do to realize the construc- tive point of criticism and to rebuild social capital. He established (in 1896) and was the driving force (until 1904) behind the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago as an action-oriented alternative to traditional educa- tion. The so-called "Dewey School" intended to do its part to bring "the child" into "the same social movement which has transformed slaves and ser- vile laboring classes into persons as ends in themselves" (1896 in EW 5:45 1). Dewey also helped found and lead the National Association for the Advance- ment of Colored People (NAACP), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and the League of Independent Political Action (LIPA).34 These associations were constructive, meliorist, and yet radical efforts of cooperative action to solve the problems or resolve the crises that called them into existence. Second, critical pragmatism gave prominence to sympathy. This entailed the ordinary sense of feeling concern or compassion for others, especially those denied or deprived life's essentials, including social capital. But, more fundamentally, sympathy was a capacity of the imagination that could be cul- tivated to understand and identify moral commonalities with others: "more than mere feeling; it is a cultivated imagination for what men have in com- mon and a rebellion at whatever unnecessarily divides them." Because of its sweeping consequences, sympathy is "the general principle of moral knowl- edge" (1916 in MW9:128). Dewey is indebted here, down to the phrasing, to Adam Smith and David Hume. For them, as for Dewey, sympathy was "the" general principle of moral knowledge because it articulated the unique capacity that constituted or made possible via imaginative projection every- thing else in moral psychology and social life. (This would appear to include what we mean today by trust, though it is not uninteresting that none of them elevate trust within moral psychology and indeed barely note it at all.) For Dewey (1887 in EW 2:294), "all that we call society, state, and humanity are the realization of [the] permanent and universal relations of persons which are based upon active sympathy." Third, despite criticizing the negative consequences of capitalism, Dewey appropriates its own vocabulary to bring "social" and "capital" together for rhetorical and critical effect. This was a terminological strategy of critical This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 17 pragmatism. Dewey called books "banks" in which onetime was uniquely invested "the capital handed down from past generations"; in contemporary life such capital circulates in "the social commonwealth" freed from "monop- olistic possession of any class or guild" (1898 in EW 5:256-57). Moreover, only when the individual learner participates in "the social consciousness of the race" does "he becomes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization" (1897 in EW 5:84). Drawing even closer to social capital, Dewey decried in his social center address (1902 in MW 2:92) the "unutilized talent dormant all about us" as so much "wasted capital" that "society suffers" for want of pro- viding "opportunities for adults" to realize their "particular capacities" amidst the "resources of the community." What's more, Dewey used the very term "social capital" in four different publications (1900, 1909, 1915, and 1934), three of which preceded Hanifan's usage. "Social capital" appears in Dewey's writings for the first time in The Ele- mentary School Record. Brought together as a single volume in 1900, the Record consisted of nine monographs that Dewey edited and to which he contributed. Each monograph consisted of articles on the principles or prac- tices of the Laboratory School. The School embodied the action-oriented pedagogy of critical pragmatism, especially the commitment that schools were in fact and could better be social communities of cooperative learning via shared work and group activities. In the ninth and last monograph, Dewey articulated the underlying psychology by criticizing both the old psychology that "regarded the mind as a purely individual affair" and "the traditional or three R's curriculum" in which isolated students memorized their lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic. To the old psychologists, Dewey responded that the "individual mind [is] a function of social life." To the fetishists of the three R's, he countered that these subjects needed to be connected to chil- dren's social life activities, not as individualized exercises of "mechanical drill" and "abject dependence." Take their measure differently and recon- struct their teaching accordingly, for these subjects are social in a double sense. They represent the tools which society has evolved in the past as the instruments of its intellectual pursuits. They [also] represent the keys which will unlock to the child the wealth of social capital which lies beyond the pos- sible range of his limited individual experience. To underscore the message, Dewey preferred to think of the three R's as "work in language, literature, and number.""35 Such work drew upon and helped pro- duce a fund of accumulated power that society counts as its capital. Dewey made exactly these points in exactly these words in a second publi- cation. He included them in the revised edition of School and Society in 1915. This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions18 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 Indeed, Dewey reprinted all five of his articles from The Elementary School Record as chapters in the new edition. This brought them into a text and under a title of enormous influence and popularity whose first edition (of 1900) had gone through eleven impressions and nearly twenty thousand copies. (It is also a work that has never been out of print.) The reference to "social capital" was thereby rendered materially more prominent and, like the chapters them- selves, "more accessible to a wider range of readers," a reviewer noted.36 It was made intellectually and critically more prominent, too, given its juxtapo- sition to arguments articulated in the original (and now the first three) chap- ters of School and Society. The most striking of these arguments was that "a new movement in education" was emerging due to the revolutionary forces of industrialization, urbanization, and technology. "It is radical conditions which have changed, and only an equally radical change in education suf- fices." Schools needed rethinking as centers of community and social life. The curriculum needed overhaul to contribute to "the larger social evolu- tion." Individual studies needed to be thought of "as instrumentalities through which the school shall be made a genuine form of active community life." They were to regard each student's interests as "natural resources, uninvested capital, upon the exercise of which depends the active growth of the child."37 New studies were needed to harvest these resources and invest this capital. Old ones, like reading, writing, and arithmetic, needed recasting to unlock the wealth of social capital. If traditional education fettered social capital, racism was its ball-and- chain. Fighting racism provided a public stage for "social capital" in an address by Dewey to the National Negro Conference in 1909. Dewey began his short address by expressing "sympathy" for the purposes of the confer- ence, namely, to advance the equal rights of African descendants in America and to encourage enfranchised Americans to adopt the point of view and think consequentially about the disfranchised. "There is no 'inferior race,' " Dewey declared, "and the members of a race so-called should each have the same opportunities" for education and advancement through schools, voca- tions, and work, as any other. This shifted the burden to society as a whole to provide such opportunities, not only as a matter of justice and fairness, but to "utilize all of the individual capital that is being born" into it. But "social cap- ital" was also at stake, as Dewey dramatized when concluding his address. All points of skill are represented in every race, from the inferior individual to the supe- rior individual, and a society that does not furnish the environment and education and the opportunity of all kinds which will bring out and make effective the superior ability wher- ever it is born, is not merely doing an injustice to that particular race and to those particu- lar individuals, but it is doing an injustice to itself for it is depriving itself ofjust that much of social capital.38 This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 19 In the audience hearing this was W. E. B. DuBois, who may also be counted a critical pragmatist. Together, DuBois, Dewey, and a Committee of Forty would harness the constructive energies of the conference to found the NAACP the next year. None of these uses of "social capital" by Dewey-1900, 1909, or 1915- were attended by an elaboration or used in a title as Hanifan would. Had Dewey done so, it is hard to imagine that he would not have long since been noticed as the first or most prominent twentieth-century user of the term (and concept). Yet, elaboration, title, or prior notice notwithstanding, the term is there; the concept is omnipresent in his writings. Dewey's numerous readers doubtless took in one or the other or both. It is natural to speculate in particu- lar about Hanifan, given his closeness in time, vocation, and philosophy to Dewey. Did Hanifan get "social capital" from Dewey? The question and evi- dence are tantalizing, but the answer is (at present) inconclusive. Hanifan clearly read and prominently cited Dewey in the bibliography of his 1920 book on the community center, a topic upon which Dewey had famously spo- ken much earlier. However, he did not cite him in his original Annals essay of 1916. He studied "association and culture" in a course with Dewey's friend and collaborator, William I. Thomas, at the University of Chicago in 1908, but no precise connections through Thomas to Dewey are evident. Hanifan was at Harvard in 1909, already concerned with the education of West Vir- ginia's African American citizens, when the proceedings of the National Negro Conference were received and catalogued by the College Library (see MW4:156n). However, we do not know whether he read Dewey's address in them, if at all. Hanifan appears to have absorbed Dewey's concept, not to mention the philosophy of critical pragmatism of the Progressive Era. But he may well have (thought he) invented the term himself. If true, this would con- firm the pattern identified by Putnam that users of "social capital" have been unknown to one another, until recently. Dewey, it turns out, also breaks this pattern, in the context of his fourth and final usage. He was aware of at least one other who takes us back even further in time,39 into the context of nine- teenth-century political economy, opening another conceptual horizon. BELLAMY AND THE COOPERATIVE ASSOCIATIONS OF POLITICAL ECONOMY Dewey returned to "social capital" one last time. The concept that this term matched was a different (because more narrowly economic) one, but none- theless revelatory for our conceptual history. Dewey unleashed the term in a lead article of Common Sense that bore the title "A Great American Prophet." This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions20 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 The prophet was Edward Bellamy, the utopian socialist and self-styled nationalist whose 1897 book, Equality, Dewey thought palpably relevant in the early 1930s to "the shaping of popular opinion for a new social order." Common Sense was the organ of the LIPA that then counted Dewey as its chairman, DuBois as one of its vice chairmen, and a new party as its mission. In the midst of the Depression, Dewey was an even more critical pragmatist and socialistic democrat than before, praising the teachings of Henry George and hailing the return of Bellamy Societies across the country. (The editors proclaimed, "Bellamy clubs are springing up everywhere.") For Dewey, Bellamy was the ideal prophetic and pragmatic figure, known for his "reli- gion of solidarity" and critique of the trusts. His "Utopia"-read by "hun- dreds of thousands" in Equality or Looking Backward40-was a tool of criti- cism. It made one "realize by force of contrast the realities of the social world in which we now actually live"; it indicted "the injustices, oppressions, and wreckages attendant on the present economic system"; and it conveyed "a sense of the terrible gulf between what is possible and what is actual." Yet, Bellamy was "definitely constructive" for providing a "translation of ideas of democracy into economic terms." "Social capital" was one such term. Dewey did not elaborate, but he drew attention to Bellamy's "picture of a socialized economy" in contrast to "private capital" whose usual associations with lib- erty were turned upside down. It is not merely that he exposes with extraordinary vigor and clarity the restriction upon liberty that the present system imposes but that he pictures how socialized industry and finance would release and further all those personal and private types of choice of occu- pation and use of leisure that men and women actually most prize today. His picture of a reign of brotherly love may be overdrawn. But the same cannot be said of his account of freedom in personal life outside of the imperative demand for the amount of work neces- sary to provide for the upkeep of social capital. In an incidental chapter on the present ser- vility to fashion he brings out the underlying principle. "Equality creates an atmosphere which kills imitation, and is pregnant with originality, for everyone acts out himself, hav- ing nothing to gain by imitating anyone else." It is the present system that promotes uni- formity, standardization, and regimentation.41 The conceptual connections between a "socialized economy" and "social capital" did not need belaboring to the readers of Common Sense. For them, social capital conveyed a democratic and egalitarian vision based on solidar- ity: namely, labor and social wealth should be shared cooperatively. Readers of Bellamy's Equality, running back nearly four decades, would have found the term already in service of this vision. In a chapter from which Dewey quotes-"Private Capital Stolen from the Social Fund"-Bellamy himself stakes out "social capital." He ties it to the social fund, as the total accumulated wealth of society created by all laboring This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 21 heads and hands, minus immediate needs of consumption. The wealth of the social fund is, he calculates, two hundred-fold more than would be the case if all workers labored alone; it was thereby the collective product of "the social organism, the machinery of associated labor and exchange." The title of his chapter suggests that the social fund exists even under capitalism since it is looted by private capitalists, where looting was measured by the difference between wealth created and wages paid. No one but a socialist, however, would put matters this way; no one but a utopian would set it up as Bellamy did, namely, in an imaginary future a century off, in the year 2000, after a rev- olution that peacefully ended private capitalism and brought to everyone, equally, economic and social wealth in the form of health, education, culture, associated living, and personal liberty. This is the world to which Julian West, a young capitalist from 1897, awoke. Amazed by all he finds, he exclaimed to his host and interlocutor, Dr. Leete, I like that idea of the social fund immensely! It makes me understand, among other things, the completeness with which you seem to have outgrown the wages notion, which in one form or other was fundamental to all economic thought in my day. It is because you are accustomed to regarding the social capital rather than your day-to-day exertions as the main source of your wealth. It is, in a word, the difference between the attitude of the cap- italist and the proletarian. "Even so," the doctor replied, shifting terms for conceptual effect, "the Revo- lution made us all capitalists."42 This social-fund concept of social capital-perhaps best conceived as socialized capital, maybe even socialist capital--differed from the one artic- ulated by Dewey or Hanifan in the opening decades (much less Coleman and Putnam in the closing decades) of the twentieth century. It was and is a differ- ent concept, even acknowledging the considerable range in the family of sub- sequent conceptions of social capital. Yet, the social fund concept of social capital deserves attention here in our conceptual history for terminological, temporal, and thematic reasons. Moreover, it is not hard to appreciate why Dewey (and others surviving the Gilded Age or suffering the Great Depres- sion) would have found this concept relevant to the other. A socialized econ- omy under egalitarian conditions seemed designed to foster (or consist in) dense networks of associations in community, organized activities of cooper- ative work, and heightened social capacities like sympathy and solidarity. Furthermore, such associations, activities, and capacities (that is, social capi- tal in the contemporary sense) were already being denied or deprived to far too many individuals, groups, and communities under capitalism-from African Americans to industrial workers to rural denizens to children in tra- ditional schools. That, at any rate, had been the burden of Dewey's critiques This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions22 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 and the occasion of Hanifan's concerns, not to mention what Bellamy was doing in using "social capital" in the critical and utopian way that he did. Bellamy was targeting the present economic system, as Dewey noted. But he also intended to challenge the scientific claims of a "false political economy" that obscured social problems under capitalism or that limited the social fund doctrine only to questions of land (possibly George). Compliments thereby went to a "true" political economy whose categories were "simple" and clearly based upon labor and solidarity (probably Marx).43 Bellamy did not name names in his utopia, and his own reading inclined more to the Social Gospel. But he pointed in the right direction, for prominent political econo- mists had in fact used the language of social fund, social wealth, even "social capital" in roughly the same way. Political economists had already deployed "social capital" in the context of the transformation of classical political economy in the nineteenth century. Alfred Marshall (in 1890) had done so (as Woolcock notes). But, before Mar- shall, so had John Bates Clark (in 1885), Henry Sidgwick (in 1883), and Karl Marx (in 1867). (One suspects others.) They were each in their own way challenging classical political economy, either by radicalizing its labor the- ory of value (Marx), accommodating it to utilitarianism and marginal utility theory (Sidgwick and Marshall, differently), or moving to replace it alto- gether with a marginalist theory of production and distribution (Clark). They were also attacking what they regarded as the unsocial point of view of classi- cal political economy, as well as its "wage-fund doctrine"-namely, the doc- trine that wages were advanced to workers by capitalists from an antecedent fixed fund that the capitalists' foresight and abstinence had made possible. Social capital was "capital from the social point of view"-to use the sum- mary locution first introduced by Sidgwick and, following him, Marshall.44 This contrasted with the "individual" point of view of a capitalist assessing his personal holdings or trade investments. Predicated of any political com- munity, up to the nation, "social capital" was an aggregate of tools, inven- tions, improvements in land, and other material elements, including "roads, bridges, and the organization of the State," Marshall tallied. The skill and ability of humans counted, as well. Therefore, education was always at the margins of discussion, blurring the later distinction between physical and human capital. "General education adapts the mind to use its best faculties in business and to use business itself as a means of increasing culture." Beyond "the wealth laid out in education," Sidgwick added "immaterial" elements like "good-will" as "a part of 'social capital' " because it was a cultural ingre- dient of the "habits of purchasing."45 (Recall Hanifan using "good-will" as one of the synonyms for what he meant by the term.) This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 23 Social capital, thus aggregated, provided an expanding fund for further production. Hence, it displayed as its defining twin qualities prospectiveness and productiveness. It was the "productive action of capital"-not just labor, as Henry George thought-that occasioned Clark to first use "social capital." He would later speak repeatedly of the productivity of "the fund of social capital."46 Despite his far more radical project, Marx had much earlier, in 1867, used the term "social capital" (gesellschaftliche Kapital) as an aggre- gate or "quantitative grouping" of individual capitals that formed a fund for further production. An individual's capital was thus "an aliquot part of social capital." There was that "part of social capital domiciled in each particular sphere of production." However, Marx was wont to emphasize the variable magnitude of social wealth as created by labor alone. By contrast, "classical economy always loved to conceive social capital as a fixed magnitude of a fixed degree of efficiency." False theoretically, this "dogma" mainly served "apologetic purposes" since it was used to deny that workers had "the power to enlarge the so-called labour-fund at the expense of the 'revenue' of the wealthy."47 Even the more sanguine Marshall admitted by 1890 that the wage fund doctrine was a "slovenly way of talking" that was "used by some capi- talists who were anxious to prevent the working classes for endeavoring to get higher wages."48 The terminology of "fund" was still apt, when correctly understood. Beyond these affinities, the postclassical political economists diverged dramatically in their respective theories and ideologies, and in ways that need not concern us. However, one final issue does: the role of associations in their account of social capital. Classical political economists, certainly Adam Smith and David Ricardo, had long since inquired into the associations that facilitated economic life, beneath or beyond the market and the division of labor. The later critics analyzed them even more, largely because there were more of them. In the works of Marx, Sidgwick, Marshall, and Clark alone, one finds a teeming life of corporations, combinations, trusts, cartels, joint- stock companies, guilds, trade unions, brotherhoods of labor, friendly societ- ies, mutual aid societies, communes, and cooperatives of endless variation. These associations served competing or complementary economic purposes: to maximize profits, monopolize markets, increase efficiency, render mutual aid, raise wages, shorten the working day, share wealth, mitigate or inflame class antagonism. Herein lies the contribution of the political economists to a conceptual history of social capital, beyond the use of the term itself. This contribution has been overlooked in current debates that otherwise under- score the importance of associations for begetting social capital. The associations that most attracted the attention of the political econo- mists were those of the nascent and growing cooperative movement of stores, This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions24 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 farming, and/or labor. They did more than serve or modulate the economic purposes of capital viewed socially. They drew upon and helped reproduce a wealth of capacities and virtues for their members and the "social organism" at large. The International Working Men's Association, for example, acknowledged "the co-operative movement as one of the transforming forces of the present society." It aspired to "the republican and beneficent system of the association of free and equal producers." It also inspired Marx, in the year of Capital's publication, to instruct the delegates of the association to spon- sor programs of education-mental, bodily, and technical-to bring young people to "cooperate in the great work of social production, as a progressive, sound and legitimate tendency."49 For Marshall, "the co-operative movement and other kinds of voluntary association" promised to harness or unleash "various motives besides that of pecuniary gain," thereby "widening the scope of collective action for the public good." In this, their "moral advan- tage" far exceeded their "material one." Besides cooperation, Clark saw in cooperative associations, as Bellamy would, "the principle of solidarity" which "even in its present crude state, presents the beginnings of a reign of law" in economy and society. Marshall too looked forward, imagining a time when "the higher work of the co-operative movement" would build "trust and confidence" in workers who managed their own affairs. Even studying these associations promised to promote virtuous capacities: they "call for and develop the faculty of sympathy, and especially that rare sympathy which enables people to put themselves in the place, not only of their comrades, but also of other classes."" So it was that sympathy, solidarity, trust, and related capacities or virtues were conceptually bound to the present and future work of cooperative associations. "Let us finally imagine"-with Marx and toward conclusion-"an associ- ation of free men, working with the means of production held in common, and expending their many different forms of labor-power in full self- awareness as one single social labor force." Such an imagined association, famously in Capital, helped reveal the "secret" of the fetishism of commodi- ties. A utopian thought experiment, that is, clarified that the things we exchange have in themselves no magical powers. Social wealth was and ought better to be understood as a fund and function of human work and cooperative associations. Had Marx, the first identified user of the term, ever wished to speak more eulogistically about "social capital"-say, as gemeinschaftliche Kapital versus gesellschaftliche Kapital-this would have been the moment to do so. But that might have required too much irony, even for Marx, since capital was more fetishized than commodities were. Indeed, "interest-bearing capital is the most consummate automatic fetish, the self-expanding value, the money-making money."" The lessons of asso- This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 25 ciations, real or imagined, nonetheless still applied. However the term was to be used, "social capital" should not cloak the work for which it fronts or be reified as a power higher than the human associations that made it possible. BACK TO THE FUTURE The political economists of the nineteenth century-from Marx to Mar- shall to Bellamy-took capital from the social point of view. Today's social capitalists, apparently, take "the social" from capital's point of view. The one reflected an age coming to terms with capital, the other an age coming to cap- ital for its terms. Then, "social capital" expressed an explicit antithesis to an unsocial perspective upon capital, now, an implicit antithesis to a non- capitalist perspective on society. "Social capital" was once a category of political economy in a period of its transformation, now one of economized politics, expressing the general dominance of economic modes of analysis in society and social science. But, in the long view, these perspectives may not be logical antinomies so much as two sides of the same coin. Both, surely, sought or seek to comprehend the social relations constitutive of modern cap- italist societies, and to position capital as their governing asset. And both, sig- nificantly, did so in the very terminology of "social capital." Thus a pathway that leads to the contemporary family of conceptions has now restored to it an even earlier discourse, in the same terms, than before we knew. This is histor- ically instructive and genealogically important, I believe. The nineteenth- century political economists may thus be as deserving as Tocqueville to be remembered, in Putnam's words, as "the patron saints of contemporary social capitalists." If not, they certainly deserve historical remembrance for having provided the terminological, temporal, and thematic point of depar- ture for subsequent conceptual change. They used the term, sought its con- ceptual constituents, and hailed the associations of the cooperative move- ment. Dewey and the civic educators of the Progressive Era are most certainly as deserving of memory, including Hanifan's debt to them. Via Hanifan, one discursive path to the present is mapped, and a conceptual his- tory completed. Regarding social capital or any key concept, there is no compulsory rela- tionship between the findings of a conceptual history and the prospects of contemporary theory. Yet, in recovering the conceptions of overlooked think- ers or texts, we have revealed lost distinctions, forgotten connections, and unfamiliar but coherent uses of social capital that might yet enrich or advance our thinking about how the concept might be used now or in the future. Cer- tainly, "it is apt to seem much less convincing to suggest that a concept might This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions26 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 be coherently used in an unfamiliar way than to show that it has been put to unfamiliar but coherent uses."52 The coherent uses of social capital in Dewey or the political economists are not in any case utterly unfamiliar, as we have seen and now selectively summarize. "Social capital" may be-because it has been-used as a figurative term for a prospective and productive fund that is created by shared, public work. Used figuratively, it relies for its metaphoric power on the dominant dis- course of economics in a capitalist society. As such, there is no reason to insist that, properly speaking, it is a form of capital, despite an overlapping terminology of work and other ostensibly economic categories. (Upon pain of reification, it might be a wise general practice to use italics and/or scare quotes when identifying "social capital," if not simply to refer directly to work and its consequences.) Shared, public work is primary to social capital, in any case; social capital needs constant refunding by such work. The public work of civic education as organized in explicit programs is of prime impor- tance, especially in those cases where social capital is lacking, depleted, or in need of refunding. The moral psychology of social capital understood in these terms depends in large measure upon sympathy, not only as the com- passion to work with or for others less fortunate, but as that more fundamen- tal capacity to imagine one's self in their places and to consider consequen- tially their welfare in ours. Upon sympathy, then, depends cooperation and solidarity, among other capacities, including conceivably trust. Since sympa- thy is a cultivatable capacity, civic education is obviously important to its fur- ther cultivation. Finally, despite or because of its figurative status and posi- tive connotations, "social capital" may be-because it has been-put to critical use to spotlight those agencies or forces that deny or deprive identifi- able groups or communities of the freedom or equality of shared work, civic education, or sympathy and solidarity. The point of the speech act is to imag- ine and undertake constructive negations of these agencies or forces. This is the critical stance of a pragmatist in matters of social capital. No one can be compelled to consider social capital in these ways, even after being shown that it has been put to such use in the past by theorists as pragmatic as Dewey, as prophetic as Bellamy, or as pedagogical as Hanifan. Social capitalists may continue to cleave to trust and bonding, or to pin their hopes on picnics and organized sports. Their antagonists may persist in pit- ting Social Capital versus Social Theory or in asking, "It May Be Social, But Why Is It Capital?"53 Perhaps the earlier conceptions remain tied to an irre- trievable past. If not, their reintroduction may only fuel the proliferation and contestation of contemporary ones. New problems of causality may come along, though this would not disrupt any extant explanatory harmony. As Putnam candidly admits, "the causal arrows ... are as tangled as well-tossed This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 27 spaghetti."54 Aware of these possible reactions and apprised of how much remains to be done in going forward in the terms of the past, we might here tender a simple possibility beyond genealogical warrant for reconsidering social capital in terms of criticism and pragmatism, public work and civic education, sympathy and solidarity: it might enrich or advance current debate by providing better fit or greater clarity for some old problems or some new initiatives, in theory and practice. By way of conclusion and suggestion, let us briefly consider three. First, poor or marginalized communities are now, belatedly, receiving attention in terms of social capital. Rural, urban, African American, and working-class communities struggle against pitched odds to create the net- works or muster the norms or accumulate the real monetary capital for com- bating poverty and isolation. It is instructive in this context that the editors of and contributors to an important collection like Social Capital and Poor Communities express some misgivings about social capital, as usually under- stood, and seek to take a more critical stance in terms of it. Among other things, we are admonished "to interrogate" the concept before "we celebrate the divine nature of social capital" or fall sway to its "kinder, gentler means of social control." In the foreword, Putnam allows that the concept has been contested recently, finding it timely to repair to Hanifan again, with emphasis this time on his "practical concerns about overcoming poverty in rural Appa- lachia, nearly a century ago." Dewey, Bellamy, and Marx also addressed practical concerns about African American disfranchisement, class differen- tials in urban society, and the suppression of intellect in traditional schools. With them or Hanifan we have a conception that strongly backs practical con- cerns about "making social capital work,"55 not to mention giving backbone to the protestations by social capitalists that their concept is not fuzzy or warm, apologetic or nostalgic, middle-class or small town. Second, sympathy hides in the shadow of trust in the contemporary moral psychology of social capital. It might deserve to emerge in its own light and be investigated in relation to trust, especially since trust may not be able to bear the full burden placed upon it by social capitalists. This, in turn, opens up the question of other capacities and virtues that are essential to cooperative associations, as recognized by earlier theorists. It is in any case sympathy, not trust, that captures the "civic virtue" that allows me to act with and toward others after I have tried, euphemistically, " 'to put myself in their shoes.' "56 This projective capacity of the imagination surely bears upon our ability to judge the trustworthiness of others, or actually to place trust in them. "Whether trust is really an essential ingredient for widespread cooperation and exchange is not so clear.""57 Perhaps sympathy is. If so, there is much the- oretical and empirical work still to do, among other reasons because "the This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions28 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 term sympathy has not been popular with experimental behavioral scientists" and has only recently been thought relevant to social capital in agricultural economics." There is much practical work to do, as well, especially in figur- ing out how better to activate and act upon sympathy. Finally, the future of social capital, like its past, may well lie with pro- grams of civic education already enacted or yet to be imagined. This prom- ises-and risks-more than the quite general claim that education of most any sort is essential to human or social capital. Even this quite general claim was submerged in the discussions of networks, norms, and trust that per- vaded the late 1980s and 1990s. Putnam, who remains the bellwether in all these discussions, said very little about education in his first forays with social capital. He now hails the importance of education in general, and places "civics education" at the top of the "agenda for social capitalists," especially "well-designed service learning programs."59 We know that the most efficacious of these programs are not only well-designed and sustained, but are intentionally civic in their language and problem orientation.60 Even then, such programs would benefit theoretically from a pragmatist critique of the Deweyan sort. And they would benefit practically if they thought of their arena of work not only in school, but in the school as social center (as it were) devising programs that are creative, inclusive, and egalitarian, reaching out and across generations, associations, and communities. The programmatic tasks-much less the obstacles-are daunting. No serious civic educator these days is so Pollyannaish as to think otherwise or to imagine an easy go of the work required. But the basic vision and sense of practical urgency that refuses to give up need not be imagined de novo. This is what Dunn, Dewey, Hanifan, and the other civic educators of the Progressive Era were all about in the past. They may yet help us imagine our future, if Dewey (1938 in LW 12:238) is right that "intelligent understanding of past history is to some extent a lever for moving the present into a certain kind of future." NOTES 1. Michael Woolcock, "Social Capital and Economic Development: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis and Policy Framework," Theory and Society 27 (1988): 155; Jeffery J. Mondak, "Edi- tor's Introduction, Special Issue on Psychological Approaches to Social Capital," Political Psy- chology 19 (1988): 433. 2. Besides works cited below, see Glenn C. Loury, "Why Should We Care about Group Inequality?" Social Philosophy and Policy 5 (1987): 249-71; James S. Coleman, "Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital," American Journal of Sociology 94 (1988): 95-120; Pierre Bourdieu, An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992). This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 29 3. Robert D. Putnam, "Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital," Journal of Democracy 6 (1995): 65-78; idem, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival ofAmerican Com- munity (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000). 4. Already see especially valuable discussions in Alejandro Portes, "Social Capital: Its Ori- gins and Applications in Modern Sociology," Annual Review of Sociology 24 (1998): 1-24; Nan Lin, Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure andAction (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univer- sity Press, 2001); Simon Szreter, "The State of Social Capital: Bringing Back in Power, Politics, and History," Theory and Society 31 (2002): 573-621. 5. See Terence Ball, James Farr, and Russell L. Hanson, eds., Political Innovation and Con- ceptual Change (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989). 6. Putnam, Bowling Alone, 19; and, on the Web, "as far as credit for inventing the term, Hanifan's is the claim to beat." Putnam acknowledges his research assistant, Brad Clarke, for finding Hanifan. 7. Woolcock, "Social Capital," 160, building upon Alejandro Portes and Julia Sensenbrenner, "Embeddedness and Immigration: Notes on the Social Determinants of Eco- nomic Action," American Journal of Sociology 98 (1993): 1320-50. 8. With the exception of the four original publications in which he uses "social capital," I refer here and below to Dewey's works by date, as included in EW, MW, or LW, followed by vol- ume number and pages. The shorthand references are to Early Works, 1882-1888 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1969-72); Middle Works, 1899-1924 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1976-83); and Later Works, 1925-1953 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984-91). 9. Most welcome would be a conceptual history that branched off or included Pierre Bourdieu, making its way through French and continental social theory. 10. Putnam, Bowling Alone, 21, 22. 11. Quotation marks are placed around terms as one would when quoting words actually used; they are dispensed with when referring to concepts or when no distinction need be drawn between term and concept. 12. These notions are from H. L. A. Hart, The Concept of Law (Oxford, UK: Clarendon, 1961); Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, ed. G. E. M. Anscombe (New York: Macmillan, 1953). 13. James S. Coleman, Foundations of Social Theory (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1990), 300-18; Pierre Bourdieu, "The Forms of Capital," in Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. John G. Richardson (New York: Greenwood, 1986), 248; Glenn C. Loury, "A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences," in Women, Minorities, and Employment Discrimination, ed. P. A. Wallace and A. LeMond (Lexington, MA: D. C. Heath, 1977), 177; Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (New York: Random House, 1961), 138; John R. Seeley, Alexander Sim, and Elizabeth W. Loosley, Crestwood Heights: A Study of the Culture of Suburban Life (New York: Basic Books, 1956). Loury's single mention of "social capital" in his 1977 essay prompted Lester Thurow to note "the concept of 'social' human capital investments" and anticipate a "greater" role for it, in "Comments," in Women, Minorities, and Employment Discrimination, 188. 14. Quentin Skinner, The Foundations of Modern Political Thought (Cambridge, UK: Cam- bridge University Press, 1978), 2:352. 15. Putnam, Bowling Alone, 24, 292. 16. James M. Buchanan, The Limits ofLiberty: Between Anarchy and Leviathan, in Collected Works (Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Press, 1995), 7:39. 17. Woolcock, "Social Capital," 159. This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions30 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 18. There are also some interesting near matches in the history of social capital. Consider a striking and surprisingly overlooked one. In their penultimate page, Gabriel Almond and Sidney Verba refer to "social overhead capital," having already discussed "networks," "norms," "trust," and "community." They also use economic metaphors about "dividend" or "reserve of influence" accruing from group participation. See The Civic Culture (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1963), 274, 284, 297, 299, 322, 504. For the record, there are also some interesting near matches in nineteenth-century literary contexts. Clarence Cook, for example, contrasted Aesop's account of the ass in a lion's skin with that of the jackdaw who made "a little social capital for himself, out of borrowed feathers," in "Togas and Toggery," Scribner's Monthly 14 (1877): 799. Walter Dean Howells had a lady in a comedic situation complain of a fawning gentleman who "makes social capital out of his obtrusive services," in "Out of the Question. A Comedy," Atlantic Monthly 39 (1877): 200. 19. Space limitations precluded a more extensive discussion of Hanifan (1879-1932). 20. Lyda J. Hanifan, "The Rural School Community Center," The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 67 (1916): 130-38. 21. Lyda J. Hanifan, The Community Center (Boston: Silver, Burdett & Company, 1920). A reviewer-probably the student of public oratory, Charles E Lindsay-found the book of help to the "many teachers who face the gigantic task of awakening social consciousness in those rural communities that need the vitalizing touch of original and zealous leadership." Although he judged the programs "hackneyed," he praised "a good chapter on 'Social Capital."' See Charles F. Lindsay, "Review of The Community Center," Quarterly Journal ofSpeech 10 (1920): 102-4. My copy of The Community Center was originally in the Free Traveling Library of the state of Minnesota, a fitting vehicle for Hanifan's message. 22. "Necessities of war" also conscripted the school as a "national center" to help govern- ment "make the world safe for democracy" (in The Community Center, 1, 3, 7). In a rare notice of Hanifan, Kevin Mattson selects only this issue to discuss in Creating a Democratic Public: The Struggle for Urban Participatory Democracy during the Progressive Era (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998), 11. This neglects Hanifan's prewar efforts and his postwar expectations. 23. Hanifan, The Community Center, 32, 40f, 142, 181. 24. Lyda J. Hanifan, A Handbook Containing Suggestions and Programs for Community Social Gatherings at Rural School Houses (Charleston, WV: State Department of Education, 1913). The Handbook was reprinted in 1914, 1915, and 1916, with dates on the respective covers. The U.S. commissioner of education, P. P. Claxton, requested an additional 3,500 copies for dis- tribution to county superintendents across the United States. 25. Hanifan, Handbook, 9, 19, 22, 27. 26. Hanifan's critical analyses were reported in successive issues of the Biennial Report of the State Superintendent ofFree Schools of West Virginia (Charleston, WV: State Department of Education), 1912: 53; 1914: 29, 32; 1916: 88. Given these, I find nothing to suggest that Hanifan was "self-conscious about using the term capital to encourage hard-nosed businessmen and economists to recognize the productive importance of social assets" (Putnam, Bowling Alone, 445n12). This suggestion has misled critics like Stephen Samuel Smith and Jessica Kulynych, "It May Be Social, But Why Is It Capital? The Social Construction of Social Capital and the Politics of Language," Politics and Society 30 (2002): 64, 184n60. 27. Lyda J. Hanifan, "The Rural School and Rural Life," West Virginia School Journal 4 (1912): 204-7; "District Supervision: West Virginia and Oregon as Examples," in National Soci- ety for the Study of Education, Twelfth Yearbook (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1913); and "Social Centers and Rural Schools," Atlantic Educational Journal 10 (1914): 62-65. This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 31 28. Herbert Quick, "The Social Center and the Rural Community"; Kate Upson Clark, "What the Public May Expect in Dividends: Material, Civic, and Social"; and Woodrow Wilson quoted in Edward J. Ward, "The Schoolhouse as the Civic and Social Center of the Community," Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Education Association, Fiftieth Annual Meeting, 1912: 187, 254, 443. Also, Edward J. Ward, The Social Center (New York: D. Appleton, 1913), 34f, 357. A good treatment of the movement is in Mattson, Creating a Democratic Public. 29. Ward, "The Schoolhouse," 443; Hanifan, "The Rural School Community Center," 138. 30. American Political Science Association, The Teaching of Government (New York: Macmillan, 1916), 82-100; Jesse Field, The Corn Lady: The Story of a Country Teacher's Work (Chicago: A. Flanagan, 1911); Scott Nearing, The New Education: A Review ofProgressive Edu- cational Movements of the Day (Chicago: Row, Peterson, 1915); Jessie Field and Scott Nearing, Community Civics (New York: Macmillan, 1916), especially 83-86, 133. The authors, as well as Hanifan himself, drew upon Mabel Carney, Country Life and the Country School: A Study of the Agencies of Rural Progress and of the Social Relationship of the School to the Country Commu- nity (Chicago: Row, Peterson, 1912), 150-59. On the community civics movement, see Arthur William Dunn, Community Civics and Rural Life (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1920); Julie A. Reuben, "Beyond Politics: Community Civics and the Redefinition of Citizenship in the Progressive Era," History of Education Quarterly 37 (1997): 399-420. 31. Peter W. Dykema, "The Spread of the Community Music Idea," and Ambrose L. Suhrie, "Introduction: The Educational Program of a Democracy," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 67 (1916): xi, 218; Arthur William Dunn, The Community and the Citizen, rev. ed. (Boston: D. C. Heath, 1907), iii; Hanifan, The Community Center, 209-12; and, regarding Dewey's participation in important meetings of the movement, Mattson, Creating a Democratic Public, 162n27. 32. James Campbell, "Dewey's Conception of Community," in Reading John Dewey, ed. Larry A. Hickman (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998). "Critical pragmatism" has also been used for the writings on race and art by Alain Locke who was William James's student, Horace Kallen's friend, and Dewey's associate, by Leonard Harris, ed., The Critical Pragmatism of Alain Locke (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999). 33. Compare Jirgen Habermas's view: "critique is set in motion by the practical interest in deciding the process of crisis toward a favorable issue," in Theory and Practice, trans. John Viertel (Boston: Beacon, 1973), 214. For Dewey's pragmatism as a critical theory, see Matthew Festenstein, "Inquiry as Critique: On the Legacy of Deweyan Pragmatism for Political Theory," Political Studies 49 (2001): 730-48. 34. On Dewey's democratic engagements, see Robert B. Westbrook, John Dewey andAmeri- can Democracy (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991). 35. John Dewey, "The Psychology of the Elementary Curriculum," The Elementary School Record (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1900), 223, 225, 230, 231. 36. Anonymous, "Review of School and Society," The Elementary School Journal 16 (1915): 67. 37. John Dewey, The School and Society, rev. ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1915), 3, 9, 11, 27, 45. 38. "Address," in Proceedings ofthe National Negro Conference (New York: National Negro Conference, 1909), 71-73. 39. Dewey was familiar with the economists who used "social capital," whether or not he noted the term. On Marshall, Sidgwick, and Clark, see 1908 in MW 5:237, 243, 401,459, 485. On Marx, see many works, culminating in Freedom and Culture (1939). 40. Dewey ranked Looking Backward second only to Marx's Capital on a list of the most influential books of the half-century preceding 1935. In reporting this, Alan Ryan adds that This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions32 POLITICAL THEORY / February 2004 Bellamy's utopia was "driven by fear rather than hope," in John Dewey and the High Tide of American Liberalism (New York: W. W. Norton, 1995), 114f. Yet Dewey claimed that Bellamy's utopia "accords with the American psychology in breathing the atmosphere of hope," in "A Great American Prophet," Common Sense 3 (1934): 6-7. 41. Dewey, "A Great American Prophet, 6-7. 42. Edward Bellamy, Equality (New York: D. Appleton, 1897), 90-91. 43. Ibid., 246. 44. Henry Sidgwick, The Principles of Political Economy (London: Macmillan. 1883), 130; Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics, 9th (variorum) ed., ed. C. W. Guillebaud (London: Macmillan, 1961 [1890]), 1:78. 45. Marshall, Principles, 1:208; 2:223; Sidgwick, Principles, 127f, 130. 46. John Bates Clark, The Philosophy of Wealth (Boston: Ginn, 1885), 126; idem, The Distri- bution of Wealth: A Theory of Wages, Interest, and Profit (New York: Macmillan, 1899). 47. Karl Marx, Das Kapital: Kritik der politischen Okonomie, in Marx-Engels Werke (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1972 [1867]), 23:636; idem, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, ed. Ernest Mandel, trans. Ben Fowkes (New York: Penguin, 1976 [1867]), 1:758, 763, 776, 777, 779; idem, Theories of Surplus Value, pt. 3 (Moscow: Progress, 1971), 81 ff. 48. Marshall, Principles, 1:823; 2:817. 49. Karl Marx, "Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council. The Dif- ferent Questions," in Marx-Engels Collected Works (New York: International Publishers, 1985 [1867]), 20:188-90. 50. Marshall, Principles, 1:25, 45, 307; Clark, Philosophy of Wealth, 148, 180, 183. 51. Marx, Capital, 171; idem, Theories of Surplus Value, 455. 52. Quentin Skinner, "The Idea of Negative Liberty: Philosophical and Historical Perspec- tives," in Philosophy in History, ed. R. Rorty, J. B. Schneewind, and Q. Skinner (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1984), 198. 53. Ben Fine, Social Capital versus Social Theory: Political Economy and Social Science at the Turn of the Millennium (New York: Routledge, 2001); Smith and Kulynych, "It May be Social, But Why Is It Capital?" 54. Putnam, Bowling Alone, 137. 55. Putnam, "Foreword,"; Cathy J. Cohen, "Social Capital, Intervening Institutions, and Political Power"; and Ross Gittell and J. Phillip Thompson, "Making Social Capital Work: Social Capital and Community Economic Development," in Social Capital and Poor Commu- nities, ed. Susan Staegert, J. Phillip Thompson, and Mark R. Warren (New York: Russell Sage, 2001), xv, 267, 286. 56. Putnam, Bowling Alone, 340. 57. Margaret Levi, "Capitalizing on Labor's Capital," Social Capital and Poor Communities, 247. Also see Mark E. Warren, ed., Democracy and Trust (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 58. Lauren Wispe, The Psychology of Sympathy (New York: Plenum, 1991), 163; Lindon J. Robison, A. Allan Schmid, and Marcelo E. Siles, "Is Social Capital Really Capital?" Review of Social Economy 60 (2002): 1-21. 59. Putnam, Bowling Alone, 405. 60. Richard G. Niemi, Mary A. Hepburn, and Chris Chapman, "Community Service by High School Students: A Cure for Civic Ills?" Political Behavior 22 (2000): 45-69; Harry Boyte and James Farr, "The Work of Citizenship and the Problem of Service-Learning," in Experiencing Citizenship: Concepts and Modelsfor Service-Learning in Political Science, ed. R. M. Battistoni and W. E. Hudson (Washington, DC: American Association for Higher Education, 1997). This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsFarr / SOCIAL CAPITAL 33 James Farr teaches political theory at the University of Minnesota where he is a profes- sor ofpolitical science. He is completing some studies on changing conceptions of "sci- ence" in American political thought. This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Sep 2013 23:06:47 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and ConditionsArticle Contentsp. 6p. 7p. 8p. 9p. 10p. 11p. 12p. 13p. 14p. 15p. 16p. 17p. 18p. 19p. 20p. 21p. 22p. 23p. 24p. 25p. 26p. 27p. 28p. 29p. 30p. 31p. 32p. 33Issue Table of ContentsPolitical Theory, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Feb., 2004), pp. 1-140Front Matter [pp. 1-4]From the Editor [p. 5]Social Capital: A Conceptual History [pp. 6-33]A Local History of "The Political" [pp. 34-60]Charitable Interpretations: Emerson, Rawls, and Cavell on the Use of Public Reason [pp. 61-84]Liberal Citizenship and Civic Friendship [pp. 85-108]Review EssaysReview: Feminism's Family Resemblances [pp. 109-115]Review: The Role of Emotion in Political Life [pp. 116-120]Review: The Critique of Transcendence: Poststructuralism and the Political [pp. 121-132]Books in ReviewReview: untitled [pp. 133-135]Review: untitled [pp. 136-138]Announcement [p. 139]Back Matter [pp. 140-140]


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