Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Social capital, children and young people

Social capital, children and young people: Implications for practice, policy and research

Julie Allan
Ralph Catts
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Social capital, children and young people
    Book Description:

    Social capital, children and young people is about the relationships and networks - social capital - that children and young people have in and out of school. Social capital has become of increasing interest to policy makers but there has been little evidence of how it operates in practice. In this unique collection, the social capital of children and young people, and in one case parents and teachers, is explored in a wide range of formal and informal settings.

    The contributors to the book, who include academic researchers and educational professionals, provide in-depth accounts of social capital being developed and used by children and young people. They offer critical reflections on the significance of social capital and on the experiences of researching the social capital of sometimes vulnerable people. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned with how children and young people get along, get by and get on.

    eISBN: 978-1-84742-929-2
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

  1. ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)
    Julie Allan, Ralph Catts and Kevin Stelfox

    This book is about young people and the ways in which their lives and experiences are shaped by social relationships, both those in which their participation is more or less obligatory, such as in families or at school, and those they establish by themselves. These relationships, and the norms and values that shape them, lead to the production of social capital:

    a capability that arises from the prevalence of trust in a society or in certain parts of it … embodied in the smallest and most basic social group, the family, as well as the largest of all groups, the...

  2. Part I Social capital and inclusion

    • TWO Evaluating an inclusive education programme: lessons in transient social capital
      (pp. 15-34)
      Beth Cross, Julie Allan and Dorothy McDonald

      This Inclusive Learning Network (ILN) case study examines how the concepts and theoretical frameworks that are centred upon social capital can be used to understand the dynamics at play in educational projects. The case study focuses on a network of dispersed individuals who came together periodically to undergo training and skills development with a view to improving local authority educational services for pupils with additional support needs. The research team were thus enabled to look at spatiality and social capital, that is, how social capital operates across different spaces and how spaces can be constructed to foster social capital.


    • THREE Inclusion of pupils from refugee families
      (pp. 35-52)
      Geri Smyth, George MacBride, Grace Paton and Nathalie Sheridan

      In the interview quoted above, Rodas, a 10-year-old girl whose family came from Turkey to seek refuge in the UK, talked to the researcher about the durability of her friendship with another Turkish girl. They have been friends for four years now and this friendship is marked by reciprocity in helping each other to cope in a new culture. Rodas expresses her and her mother’s wariness about the possible clash of values in this new culture (‘just in case of trouble’) and indicates that she and her friend have experienced difficulties in school associated with cultural norms. These themes of...

    • FOUR Social capital in the lives of young carers
      (pp. 53-76)
      Monica Barry

      Approximately three million children live in families affected by a chronic mental or physical health problem or disability in the UK. However, fewer than six per cent are officially recognised as young carers (Dearden and Becker, 2005). Young carers are often isolated, their caring roles leaving few opportunities for social and leisure activities, employment or friendship networks. The caring role can bring social isolation and mental health problems for young people (Dearden and Becker, 2005). Some rarely leave their homes except to go to school, and often young carers’ school work is disrupted by their caring duties, leaving them disadvantaged...

    • FIVE Youth club connections
      (pp. 77-98)
      Marion Allison and Ralph Catts

      The effects of social capital on the development of opportunities and aspirations for participants in a Scottish youth club, based in an urban area of deprivation, were investigated over a period of fifteen months. The youth club operated from the community wing of a new build primary school on Friday nights and was given financial support by the local authority. The club was primarily run by parent volunteers and local authority sessional staff with a janitor present. Most of the young people lived in the community where the club was located. At any one time about half the participants were...

    • SIX Commentary: social capital and inclusion: implications for practice
      (pp. 99-112)
      George MacBride

      These four insightful analyses of evidence provided by young people and parents (Chapters Two—Five) suggest that, while the phrase ‘social capital’ is today not uncommon in Scottish education, there is a need to develop our critical understanding of this concept, theoretically and practically. Barry points out (in Chapter Four) that social capital is difficult to define in academic circles, let alone among children and young people, and the researchers have tried to explore both the ‘dark side’ of social capital (Field, 2003, p. 19) as well as its benefits.

      These studies, explicitly and implicitly, raise a number of overlapping...

  3. Part II Social capital in and out of school

    • SEVEN Social capital transitions of ‘Get Ready For Work’ trainees
      (pp. 115-136)
      Janine Muldoon and Ralph Catts

      This chapter presents findings from a case study of six young people in Glasgow, Scotland, who enrolled on a course designed to help them move into employment, further education or training (EET). When this study was carried out in 2007/2008, the ‘Get Ready for Work’ (GRfW) programme was viewed as an important contributor to the Scottish Government’s commitment to social justice (Scottish Executive, 2006). Until its inception, most previous policy interventions had an employability focus and did not specifically address the various risk factors that make positive outcomes hard to achieve (York Consulting Ltd, 2005). The young people targeted are...

    • EIGHT Social capital, diversity and inclusion: lessons from one primary school
      (pp. 137-158)
      Rowena Arshad and Susan Maclennan

      Many have written about the possibilities and limitations of social capital as a concept (Garmanikow and Green, 1999; Dika and Singh, 2002; Smyth, 2004). Some suggest that the term is so ubiquitous that it is now not clear if the concept is an ‘analytical tool or a clingfilm wrap’ (Schuller, 1999; Shucksmith, 2000) and it is difficult to distinguish between what is meaningful and what is nonsense (Garmanikow and Green 1999). However, social capital ‘has been identified as having significant potential for reducing disadvantage, improving educational outcomes and enhancing health and well-being’ (Allan et al, 2009 p. xiv) and it...

    • NINE Transitions to secondary schooling: a social capital perspective
      (pp. 159-180)
      Kevin Stelfox and Ralph Catts

      The transition from primary to secondary school has been identified as of interest, with much research focused on the articulation of the curriculum provision (Galton et al, 2000). Our aim was to explore the experience of transition from the perspective of social capital to see whether this could add to our understanding.

      The research was undertaken in two phases over a period of twelve months. The first phase was based in a primary school that was located in an urban area just outside a city centre. The catchment area could best be described as a medium-size working-class estate. Using the...

    • TEN Multiple capitals and Scottish independent schools: the (re)production of advantage
      (pp. 181-198)
      Bob Lingard, Joan Forbes, Gaby Weiner and John Horne

      This chapter reports on findings from the Scottish Independent Schools Project (SISP), a project developed to complement a range of other case studies supported by the Schools and Social Capital Network of the Applied Educational Research Scheme (AERS), which focused largely on ‘disadvantaged’ groups or communities. SISP, in contrast, sought to explore how social and other capitals work in and through the spatio-temporalities (Sassen, 2001, Gulson and Symes, 2007) of a more privileged setting — that of independent schooling in Scotland. The assumption here was that there is a relationship between the (re) production of advantage and disadvantage and that bonding...

    • ELEVEN Commentary: schools and social capital: implications for practice
      (pp. 199-208)
      Rowena Arshad

      All four contributions in this section recognised the potential gains for young people of being part of social networks as well as the contribution schools and learning environments have made to identity formation. This chapter reflects on some common themes but also discusses distinct aspects of each contribution and implications for practice from a social capital perspective. Readers may pick up on different points and may indeed reflect differently on the same points that I have addressed.

      Chapter Ten, by Lingard et al, with its focus on privileged settings, stands out from the other three and makes an interesting contribution...

    • TWELVE Social capital for young people in educational and social policy, practice and research
      (pp. 209-226)
      Ralph Catts and Julie Allan

      As was explained in the introductory chapter, the contributors to this publication were members of the Schools and Social Capital Network, within the Scottish Applied Education Research Scheme, which was supported with research grants from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Funding Council. Through the course of this research, they developed a shared understanding of what social capital meant in the context of schools and their communities, and this is evident in the consistency with which social capital is described in the various chapters of this book. We began with Fukuyama’s definition of social capital (1995), which underlined the centrality...