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In parallel with, and as a complement to, globalisation, ‘social capital’ has enjoyed a meteoric rise across the social sciences over the last two decades. Not surprisingly, it has been particularly prominent across development studies, not least through heavy promotion by the World Bank. As a concept, though, as has been argued persistently by a minority critical literature, social capital is fundamentally flawed. Although capable of addressing almost anything designated as social, it has tended to neglect the state, class, power, and conflict. As a buzzword, it has heavily constrained the currently progressive departure from the extremes of neo-liberalism and post-modernism at a time of extremely aggressive assault by economics imperialism. Social capital should not be ignored but contested – and rejected.

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