A-11/19 The Role of Social Capital in Agricultural and Rural Development: Lessons Learnt from Case Studies in Seven Countries

The importance of social capital for agricultural and rural development is explored in this paper through the analysis of seven comprehensive case studies that have been carried out in the framework of the European RETHINK research programme. The case studies are based on rather different initiatives at the interface between agricultural and rural development in Germany, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark and Israel. The case studies represent a broad spectrum of socio‐economic and agricultural contexts and focus on the role of social capital for development. We explore how social capital materialises in the context of rural areas, and what nuances it acquires in different rural environments. The case studies are used to better understand, and to illustrate, different expressions of social capital in different situations. Within the broad notion of social capital, we pay particular attention to trust, cooperation, sense of community, and culture and tradition. All four dimensions play a critical role in agricultural and rural development as they affect how people relate to each other, organise themselves and interact for development. Sociologia Ruralis. DOI: 10.1111/soru.12218

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