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Social Capital and Community Participation in Post-Soviet Armenia: Implications for Policy and Practice

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This article argues that the social capital framework used by development agencies in community-driven development projects in post-Soviet countries may not be adequate for analysing conditions affecting community participation. Research in Armenia shows that the availability of social capital in a community may not necessarily translate into participation. The governance environment plays a key role in affecting the nature and forms of community participation and in shaping local institutions in Armenia. The research argues against the 'cultural' view of institutional change, which presumes that the main barriers to participation are posed by cultural factors, such as interpersonal trust and the 'mentality' of post-Soviet citizens. Development interventions that focus on building social capital as a means to promote community participation may not be effective without addressing broader structural factors affecting participation.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: London School of Economics and Political Science,

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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