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Depoliticizing Development
John Harriss
Price: $ 22.5

The idea of social capital, meaning, most simply put, "social connections" was unheard of outside a small circle of sociologists until very recently. Now it is proclaimed by the World Bank to be the "missing link" in international development and it has become the subject of a flurry of books and research papers.

This book explores the origins of the idea of social capital and its diverse meanings in the work of James Coleman, Pierre Bourdieu and of Robert Putnam, who is responsible, more than any other, through his work on Italy and the United State, for its extraordinary rise. John Harriss then asks why this notion should have taken off in the dramatic way that it has done and finds, in its uses by the World Bank the attempt systematically to obscure class relations and power. Social capital has thus come to play a significant part in "the anti-politics machine" that is constituted by the discourses of international development.

This powerful and lucid critique will be of immense value to all those interested in development studies, including sociologists, economists, planners, NGOs and other activists.

John Harriss is Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics. He has been a visiting researcher at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, India, and has published extensively on aspects of India's political economy.

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