Researching social capital in Africa

Jennifer Widner, Alexander Mundt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Scholars in several disciplines have recently turned their attention to the effects of community characteristics on attitudes and behaviour. 'Social capital' figures prominently in this new literature. This article explores the influence of trust, optimism, voluntarism and other standard components of social capital on political participation and institutional performance in two African contexts: Uganda and Botswana. It concludes that generalised trust and participation in social clubs help shape decisions to participate in formal politics, although their influence is dwarfed by gender and urbanisation. However, social capital bears no clear relation to institutional performance, as measured by residents' levels of satisfaction with government services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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