>Journal of Rural Cooperation
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Journal of Rural Cooperation

Special Issue - Social Capital and Rural Governance in Central and Eastern Europe

כרך 36-1
The transition process in central and eastern Europe (CEE) had a profound
effect on how individuals interact. Economic and social institutions have
changed, requiring an adaptation process by individuals in the move toward
a market economy. How each individual accesses, manipulates and uses
their networks will determine the use of their social capital. Within CEE,
there is a presumption of low levels of social capital. This paper questions
the rationale of applying the contested 'western' concept of social capital to
CEE countries. It argues that although the concept was developed to
understand processes within established democratic systems, it nevertheless
is instrumental for analysing how trust is formed, and for understanding
cooperation amongst individuals. As such, this framework reconciles
literature from sociological and economic disciplines and offers a
comprehensive framework for the analysis of social capital on a micro level.
This involves positing social capital within a game theoretic framework,
while including social learning or heuristics. This is particularly important
due to the path dependent social structures and institutions, given political
changes in these countries in the last century. Social capital is seen as a
dynamic entity, a form of institutional change, which leads to innovation in
the existing governance structures.
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