McCulloch A, Mohan J, Smith P, 2012, "Patterns of social capital, voluntary activity, and area deprivation in England" Environment and Planning A 44(5) 1130 – 1147
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Patterns of social capital, voluntary activity, and area deprivation in England
Andrew McCulloch, John Mohan, Peter Smith
Abstract. This study uses data from the 2005 and 2007 Citizenship Survey to map broad
differences in levels of volunteering and social capital between ninety different types
of place in England, characterised by their regional location and level of deprivation.
A measure of social capital in each type of place is constructed using a multivariate
multilevel statistical model and the association with rates of volunteering is then examined.
The results show a positive association at the area level between the level of formal
volunteering and informal volunteering and the level of social capital. The rate of both
formal and informal volunteering was, however, unrelated to the level of social capital
after controlling for area deprivation. These results raise concerns about the ability of
volunteering to change the social characteristics of deprived areas independently of their
material circumstances. Communities have strengths primarily in areas concerned with
maintaining social order rather than creating economic growth. Policies to tackle area
deprivation need to concentrate on linking deprived areas up to economic opportunities in
more affluent surrounding areas rather than on local strategies based on self-help.
Keywords: citizenship survey, social capital, volunteering, Big Society
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