Social Capital in Rural Areas in Poland the Case of the Świętokrzyskie Province

  • 1 Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Institute of Geography

Abstract

The study tackles the issue of the spatial distribution of social capital in Polish rural areas, using the example of the Świętokrzyskie province. R. Putnam’s theory was adopted as to social capital referring to social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. A synthetic indicator of the quality of social capital was developed, which included 4 components: civic and religious engagement, reciprocity, honesty, trust and local press readership. The research was conducted mainly on the basis of unpublished data. Gminas (municipalities) with a high, an average and a low level of social capital were identified. The highest level of social capital was recorded in highly urbanised gminas with a favourable demographic structure. An average level of social capital was characteristic of typical agricultural gminas. A low level of social capital was recorded in areas with well developed industrial functions. The farmers employed at industrial plants in addition to working on their own farms, which was a prevailing practice in the time of the centrally planned economy, had a largely adverse impact on the weakening of bridging capital, and in recent years the population has not been capable to develop bonding capital as yet.

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