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Title: School collaboration and social capital in a divided society : a case study of Northern Ireland
Author: Horner, Rosemary Elaine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 8458
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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The aim of this study is to examine collaboration between post-primary schools using a social capital perspective. The study explores collaborative relationships in two Area Learning Communities in Northern Ireland. The study highlights that applying a social capital framework to the exploration of school collaboration is beneficial in illuminating the nature and complexities of relationships developed within the Area Learning Communities. The study indicates that bridging and bonding social capital may co-exist in the Area Learning Communities. However, it also suggests that whilst school have developed bridging links with each other the social capital created through relationships and interaction between schools has limits. The study indicates that social capital frameworks whilst beneficial do not provide a sufficient lens with which to examine the intricacies of school collaboration and that current conceptualisations of social capital do not adequately capture the complex reality of collaborative relationships. The kind of social capital which appears to be generated through collaborative working is nuanced by the context in which it is developing. The study suggests that a distinctive type of social capital may be produced though school collaboration in the context of a post-conflict society. Using social capital as an analytical framework has facilitated the exploration of the nature of trust within the Area Learning Communities. The study indicates that 'thick' trust and 'thin' trust may co-exist in relationships between schools in the Area Learning Communities. However the distinction between thick' trust and 'thin' trust is not clear cut and there are limitations to trust in the Area Learning Communities. Thus the existing models of trust do not adequately describe the findings of this study. The study indicates that trust exhibited in relationships in the Area Learning Communities may not necessarily be extended to the wider society and calls for the development of a more nuanced model of trust.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available