Part IV – Social Development and Change

Under development for fall term 2014


Over the next three weeks we will explore the social dimensions of development and change. You can think of this as the final turn of the triangle: we have looked at the interconnected economic, political, and social dimensions of change and development with each side of the triangle in the foreground in succession.


Comparative studies of development and change require an understanding of all three elements.  While Polanyi and Bobbitt used macro-social and historical methods to compare the evolution of economic and political systems, Putnam comes down to the micro-social level, and explores the impact of change on individuals, families, and communities.


In week 9 we’ll look at some key concepts in sociology, in particular the relationship between structure and agency.


In week 10 we’ll look at Putnam’s key ideas related to bridging and bonding social capital, and augment these with other studies, which explain how violent conflict disrupts and transforms social capital.


In week 11 we’ll try to link evolution and change of values and attitudes to larger patterns of political and economic change, tying social change back to political and economic change.

key terms

Structure and agency

Social capital

Social cohesion

Bridging and bonding social capital

Violent transformation of social capital


Colletta, N. J., & Cullen, M. L. (2000). Violent conflict and the transformation of social capital: Lessons from Cambodia, Rwanda, Guatemala, and Somalia (Vol. 795). World Bank Publications.


Duffield, M. (2007). Development, security and unending war: governing the world of peoples. Polity.


Hays, S. (1994). Structure and agency and the sticky problem of culture. Sociological theory12, 57-57.


Mulgan, G. (2013). The locust and the bee: predators and creators in capitalism’s future. Princeton University Press.


Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of our nature: The decline of violence in history and its causes. Penguin UK.


Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. Simon and Schuster.


Woolcock, M. (1998). Social capital and economic development: Toward a theoretical synthesis and policy framework. Theory and society27(2), 151-208.