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Social capital, migration, ethnic diversity and economic performance

Multidisciplinary evidence from South-East Europe


Adnan Efendic, Bojana Babic and Anna Rebmann

This interdisciplinary book brings an empirical evidence that social capital is an important building block in the reintegration processes, migration challenges and economic dynamism of the SEE communities. Such a conclusion opposes the common belief that (re)establishing social relations in a post-ethnic conflict environment is difficult, or sometimes even impossible. These are indeed societies where trust in people and institutions remains low, but it is often replaced with other forms of social capital emerging on a daily basis, within and between different population strata, either formally but often informally.

Most people who know the region are aware that formal and state institutions in South-East Europe enjoy very low levels of trust. Nearly everybody loves to point to ethnicity as the causal factor behind every difficulty. The authors of this groundbreaking study explore two basic questions: how do people meet their needs and the needs of others when official institutions do not function? And how do members of different ethnic groups experience the role of others and cross symbolic boundaries? The answers, constructed out of empirical evidence using a variety of methods, point to the crucial importance of social capital as an everyday resource, and to the essential role of ethnic, national, and religious diversity in enhancing people's life chances in an unstable environment.

Eric Gordy, Professor of Cultural and Political Sociology, University College London

Since Mark Granovetter many of us know that both over-socialised (macro) level, and under-socialised (narrowly individualist) representations of social world may lead to counter-effective policies. We need to focus on the meso level, where social cooperation is the most real and the most productive. That leads us to the concept of social capital. This is something the authors of this book understand very well. Moreover, applying it, they are able to shed light on human behaviour in the context of the two key phenomena of present day Europe: migration and capacity for self-help during the crises. Great research questions and contribution.

Tomasz Mickiewicz, Professor at Aston University and Honorary Research Fellow at University College London

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Rebuilding SEE Region Through Different Forms of Social Capital (Adnan Efendic / Bojana Babic / Anna Rebmann)


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Rebuilding SEE Region Through Different Forms of Social Capital

Social capital – often defined as the goodwill that is created by the fabric of social relations and that can be mobilized to facilitate prosocial actions – is a crucial building block of societies. As such it is linked to institutional efficiency, economic development, reduced crime rates and a reduced incidence of other social problems and challenges. The core element of social capital, within its various conceptualizations (including the multidimensional one adopted in this research), remains relations among people, interactions and approaches to resources. Social capital can thus play an important role in everyday lives and postcrisis recovery by encouraging prosocial behaviour, by facilitating proactive participation by individuals and communities in recovery and rehabilitation activities and can serve as “informal insurance” during or after a crisis or disaster (Aldrich, 2010, 2012). With such a role, social capital remains of research and policy interest, especially for postconflict societies that are struggling in their socioeconomic reintegration and recovery, as is the case in south-east Europe (SEE).

This book confirms that social capital remains an important social building block in the reintegration processes of the selected SEE communities. Such a conclusion challenges the common belief that (re)establishing social relations in a postconflict environment is difficult, or sometimes even impossible. Our analysis implies that the sustainability of people’s livelihoods is supported by different forms of social capital emerging on...

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