The theoretical concept of ‘social capital’ has been increasingly invoked in connection to religion by academics, policy makers, charities and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs). Drawing on the popularisation of the term by Robert Putnam, many in these groups have hailed the religious as one of the most productive generators of social capital in today’s societies. In this article, we examine this claim through ethnographic material relating to Faithworks, a national ‘movement’ of Christians who provide welfare services within their communities. We claim that to apply the term ‘social capital’ in a meaningful sociological manner to FBOs requires a return to Pierre Bourdieu’s use of the term in order to refuse to extricate it from the practices in which it is enmeshed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science