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Social capital and rural territories: the impact on local cooperation Case study of Albania



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Social capital and rural territories: the impact on local cooperation
Case study of Albania
Elda MUCO*1
1 University of Montpellier 3
* Speaker and corresponding author:
1. Introduction
This study analyzes the social capital and examines its impact on the territorial capital of a rural territory.
Territorial capital is a concept borrowed from the territorial economy which combines the tangible and intangible resources of the
territory (Lacquement et Chevalier., 2016). These resources can constitute either assets or constraints on the territory. Territorial
development policies must above all help the territories to develop their territorial capital (Camagni, 2006). The coordination
capacity of actors, to mobilize the resources of the territory, generates development and marks this territory.
The success of a territorial system does not depend only on material resources, but also on the wealth of cognitive elements
(Camagni, 2006). The active participation of local communities is considered today as one of the main factors at the origin of
economic development, while contributing to the creation of links and trust between members of social groups. All these links
developed between local agents are defined as social capital. Social capital is defined as a collective asset in the form of norms,
values, beliefs, relationships of trust, networks, social relationships and shared institutions that facilitate cooperation and collective
action for mutual benefit (Lin, 1995).
In our study, we present natural capital and social capital, one tangible and the other intangible, as two main capitals of our territory.
2. Materials and Methods
In this research we study structural and cognitive social capital and the interactions between these types of social capital at the
community, household and institutional level. We have taken into consideration the tools used by the World Bank on the
measurement of Social Capital. SCAT (Social Capital Analyzes Tools) is a method that measures the opportunities and constraints
of individuals and groups by focusing on the assets and social networks that determine their access to resources. The goal of this
case study is to shows the type of relationship (bonding, bridging and linking) developed between local actors which lead to
determine the social capital.
Figure 1: Social capital measurement indicators
Source: Adapted to Krishna, 1999
3. Results and discussion
Our territory is characterized by an abundance of natural resources and a natural capital composed of quality pastures and suitable
for livestock activity. The exploitation of this natural capital poses a problem because there is no clear legislation for the use of
pastures. The actors cannot invest because the access contracts are reduced to 6 months or one year. It is difficult to use this natural
capital properly because of the inefficiency of local institutions: the municipality in charge of these issues since the implementation
of decentralization in 2015 is not yet operational on these issues of rules of access to pastures.
In relation to social capital, two types of social capital and three types of social relationships are distinguished. Structural social
capital represents the social networks and people that an individual knows and can rely on to obtain benefits such as information
and assistance. This type of capital is measured by variables such as: organizational density, social ties and collective action. This
type of capital in the study area is almost non-existent because the variables that constitute this capital are very weak. Cognitive
social capital represents the shared language and codes that form the basis of communication. It consists mainly of a set of shared
norms, values, attitudes and beliefs. This type of capital is measured by variables such as: trust, solidarity, reciprocity and
cooperation. The results show the presence of cognitive social capital but in a narrow level, which means, it is in the level of the
same community.
In the "linking" relationship, we considered the relationship between the community and the local state institutions. The results show
little exchange between the institutions and the community. The community is not represented in the institutions and lacks trust in
the institutions. The lack of linking means little communication between the community and the local government, which increases
transaction costs, attempts at corruption and hinders the activity of local authorities. The lack of linking also hinders the
implementation of development projects in the study area.
Bridging is the exchange of information and sharing between heterogeneous actors and different communities. A low level of
bridging means a closed society in a narrow group. The lack of this type of social capital has a negative impact on the level of
cooperation. Therefore, societies that do not develop bridging relationships are less willing to cooperate with each other.
Bonding represents the close relationships that exist between individuals, such as relationships between family members, between
friends belonging to the same group or community. The strong presence of bonding leads to a lack of innovation in the region. Also,
bonding can stimulate corruption and/or criminal activity. A society influenced by a strong bonding relationship is less willing to
cooperate with outside family or friendship group members.
4. Conclusion
The results reflect a lack of trust between local communities. This mistrust among rural actors is primarily related to the lack of
credible institutions in Albanian communities. However, where trust is low, as in the case of Albania, people save little, invest little
in skills development, and do not realize the productivity gains from effective cooperation. The lack of confidence in the functioning
of institutions, hinders the breeders and rather the producers to cooperate with each other. Moreover, there is a poor exploitation of
natural capital, even though it offers a great potential for development in the study area. In this stage we ask if we can develop the
regions that are endowed with natural capital but lack the will of cooperation and collective action (social capital) between local
actors (bottom-up approach).
Lacquement, G., & Chevalier, P. (2016). capital territorial et développement des territoires locaux, enjeux théoriques et méthodologiques de la
transposition d’un concept de l’économie territoriale à l’analyse géographique. Annales de géographie, 5(711), 490 - 518.
Camagni, R. (2006). Compétitivité territoriale : la recherche d'avantages absolus. Reflets et perspectives de la vie économique, 95-115.
Lin, N. (1995). Revue française de sociologieLes ressources sociales : une théorie du capital social. Revue française de sociologie, 36(4), 685-
Krishna, A. et Shrader, E.(1999) « Social capital assessment tool », 21. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
EnglishThis paper examines how to mobilize the concept of territorial capital to renew geographic inquiry into the mechanisms of development of local territories. Borrowed from the trend that evokes the territorial economy, this concept leads geographical analysis to consider the linkages between the different dimensions of territorial development : the appreciation of new resources, the establishment of networks of cooperation and the governance of project territories. The exercise of conceptual transposition is applied here to the analysis of the European LEADER programme, as a public policy based on the constitutive paradigms of local development. The article first discusses the concepts mobilized by the social sciences to analyze the development of local territories. It then adopts a monographic approach and a case study in a Central European country, Hungary, to measure the activation of territorial capital by characterizing the forms of coordination of collective action that favour socio-economic development at a local level. In this, the geographical approach poses questions for the social sciences on how to analyze territorial innovation. francaisCette contribution etudie la maniere de mobiliser le concept de capital territorial pour renouveler le questionnement geographique sur les mecanismes du developpement des territoires locaux. Emprunte au courant de l’economie territoriale, ce concept conduit l’analyse geographique a penser l’articulation entre les differentes dimensions du developpement territorial : la valorisation de ressources nouvelles, l’institution de reseaux de cooperation et la gouvernance de territoires de projets. L’exercice de transposition conceptuelle est ici applique a l’analyse du programme europeen LEADER, en tant que politique publique qui se fonde sur les paradigmes constitutifs du developpement local. L’article revient tout d’abord sur les concepts mobilises par les sciences sociales pour analyser le developpement des territoires locaux. Puis, il privilegie l’approche monographique et l’etude de cas dans un pays d’Europe centrale, la Hongrie, pour mesurer l’activation du capital territorial par la caracterisation des formes de coordination de l’action collective en faveur du developpement socio-economique a l’echelle locale. En cela, la demarche geographique questionne les sciences sociales sur la maniere d’analyser l’innovation territoriale.
Cet article passe en revue la théorie des ressources sociales comme théorie sociologique décrivant les actions individuelles dans un contexte structural. Les ressources sociales, appartenant aux relations sociales auxquelles on a accès dans un réseau, sont perçues comme aussi utiles que les ressources personnelles possédées par les acteurs. En accédant à ces ressources sociales et en les utilisant, les acteurs peuvent atteindre des buts instrumentaux ou expressifs. Cependant, l'articulation des intentions d'action et des modèles d'interaction requiert des avantages de position et/ou des choix d'alternatives dans l'action. Ainsi, la théorie des ressources sociales tient en trois propositions: 1) les ressources aident l'acteur à parvenir à ses fins (proposition des ressources sociales), 2) les positions sociales d'origine facilitent l'accès aux ressources sociales et à leur usage (proposition de la force de la position) et 3) le choix de relations plus faibles et hétérophiles facilite l'accès aux ressources sociales et à leur usage (proposition de la force des liens). L'article identifie les directions pour les élaborations théoriques futures et se positionne par rapport à la notion de capital social. /// The present paper reviews the theory of social resources as sociological theory intended to describe individual actions in the context of social structure. Social resources defined as resources embedded in social ties accessible in the social networks are seen as useful as personal resources which individuals possess. By accessing and using social resources, individuals may attain instrumental or expressive goals of action. However, the matching of action intentions and interaction patterns may require either positional advantages and/or choices in action. Thus the theory of social resources consists of three propositions: (1) that social resources facilitate goal attainment (the social resources proposition), (2) that original social positions facilitate access to and use of social resources (the strength of position proposition), and (3) that choice of weaker and heterophilous ties facilitates access to and use of social resources (the strength of tie proposition). The paper presents further directions for theoretical eleborations, and comments on its linkage to the notion of social capital. /// Dieser Aufsatz betrachtet die Theorie der sozialen Ressourcen als soziologische Theorie, die individuelle Aktionen in einem strukturellen Umfeld beschreibt, Die sozialen Ressourcen, die zu den in einem Netzwerk zugänglichen sozialen Beziehungen gehören, werden als ebensowichtig gesehen, wie die von den Aktoren ausgewiesenen persönlichen Ressourcen. Indem sie Zugang zu diesen sozialen Ressourcen haben und sie nutzen, können die Aktoren instrumentale oder expressive Ziele erreichen. Die Artikulation der Aktionsabsichten und der Interaktionsmodelle verlangt positionelle Vorteile und/oder alternative Auswahl in der Aktion. Somit besteht die Theorie der sozialen Ressourcen aus drei Annahmen: 1) die Ressourcen helfen dem Aktor, seine Ziele zu erreichen (Annahme der sozialen Ressourcen), 2) die sozialen Ausgangspositionen erleichtern den Zugang zu den sozialen Ressourcen und deren Nutzung (Annahme der Positionsstärke), 3) die Wahl von schwächeren und heterophilen Beziehungen erleichtert den Zugang zu den sozialen Ressourcen und zu ihrer Nutzung (Annahme der Beziehungenstärke). Der Artikel definiert die Richtungen zur Erarbeitung künftiger Theorien und positioniert sich zum Begriff des sozialen Kapitals. /// Este artículo que describe las acciones individuales en un contexto estructural pasa revista a la teoría de los recursos sociales como teoría sociológica. Los recursos sociales pertenecientes a las relaciones sociales que tienen accéso a esa red, son percibidas tan útiles como los recursos personales que poseen los actores. Accediendo a esos recursos sociales y utilizándolos, los actores pueden alcanzar fines instrumentales o expresivos. Sin embargo la articulación de las intenciones de la acción y de los modelos de interacción requiere las ventajas de posición y / o de la elección de alternativas en la acción. De esta manera la teoría de los recursos sociales se basa en tres proposiciones: (1) los recursos ayudan al actor a llegar a sus fines (proposición de los recursos sociales), (2) el origen de las posiciones sociales facilitan el acceso a los recursos sociales y a su uso (proposición de la fuerza de su posición) y (3) la elección de las relaciones mas débiles y heterofilas facilitan el acceso a los recursos sociales y a su utilización (la proposición de la fuerza de los lazos). El artículo define las direcciones para las elaboraciones teóricas futuras y se posiciona en relación a la noción de capital social.
The article discusses the concept of territorial competitiveness by examining two subordinate questions: the solidity of the concept of territorial competitiveness itself, in terms of economic theory, and the new bases on which this competitiveness is relying, according to a cognitive-evolutionary type approach. The concept of territorial competitiveness appears theoretically strong not only because of the role played by the territory, supplying the individual firms with competitive instruments connected to the milieu, but especially because of its role in the building processes of knowledge, interpretative codes, models of co-operation and decision on which are founded the innovating courses of the companies. Moreover, economic laws about international trade, which refer to the Ricardian principle of comparative advantage, do not act on the intra-national level, adding to the importance of territorial competitiveness. Thus, for a more disaggregated territorial level, and thus for a more opened economy, not only with regard to trade but also factor mobility, if a certain level or a certain growth rate of competitiveness is not ensured, this economy can be subject to crisis, depopulation, and desertification.