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Reading List: Social Capital

**Smith, M. K. (2007). “Social Capital,” from The Encyclopedia of Informal Education. Available at


This brief reviews varying definitions, types, and benefits of “social capital” and asserts that communities with high social capital are more likely to benefit from low crime rates, better overall health, higher educational achievement, and better economic growth. The author draws on Robert Putnam’s conception of social capital (from his book, Bowling Alone), describing how social capital has declined in the United States in the last 30 years.


Noguera, P. A. (1999). Transforming Urban Schools through Investments in Social Capital. In Motion Magazine. Available at


In this article, the author explores the notion of social capital as it applies specifically to students in urban schools. The author notes that public schools have been demonstrated to reproduce social inequality, particularly in urban schools and that these schools are particularly affected by the economic and social forces present in an urban environment. In order to improve conditions for students in urban schools, the author asserts that any approach must focus on the development of social capital, by creating schools that 1) serve as a source of intra-community integration, and 2) provide resources for extra-community linkages.


**This document is considered a priority reading.