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Title: Transforming the social capital of the urban poor
Author: Cage, Caroline
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2013
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The world is becoming increasingly urbanised, bringing the potential for more sustainable and equitable distribution of resources. However, at present urban contexts are often poorly managed, with the negative impacts unevenly distributed towards the poor. This study supports the integration of organisations of the poor as key actors in civil society to advocate for equity in urban environments. However, it also highlights the need for a better understanding of how these organisations develop in different contexts, how they are supported and what they mean for the social capital of the communities they are part of; in particular, how they support marginalised groups to engage in processes of collective action and representation. This study uses a comparison of two types of large-scale organisation of the urban poor operating in Kisumu, Kenya to investigate their role in transforming social capital and how this is affected by their relationship with external partners. It explores what makes a context more enabling for large-scale organisations to form and engage in decision-making, and how the collective action processes they encompass may inhibit or support less dominant groups. Ethnographic, participatory and qualitative methods were used in the field with members of the organisations and key informants to explore the structure of the organisations, how they are viewed and their value for those internal and external to them. Data was analysed qualitatively and quantitatively and contrasted against secondary data to give a rich understanding of the context and the organisations studied. The study finds evidence that organisations of the poor can play an important role in social capital development in urban environments. However, it also proposes a new role for development partners in relatively non-enabling urban contexts, such as Kisumu. The findings suggest that this approach should seek to transform existing, rather than build new, social capital. Furthermore, greater attention to the structures and processes of collective action could encourage change in systems to increase valuable social capital for marginalised groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available