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Caring and the generation of social capital: Two models for a positive relationship


Stina Johansson, Department of Social Work, Umeå University, SE-901 87 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail:


Johansson S, Leonard R, Noonan K. Caring and the generation of social capital: two models for a positive relationship

When caring is linked to social capital, it is generally assumed that the nature of the relationship is that social capital is a resource that can be used for care work. When there is inadequate funding of aged care services by the state, then social capital may be seen as a substitute for economic and human capital. Caring, therefore, is seen as a drain on capital. However, this does not have to be the case. Aged care services, if thoughtfully designed, can not only consume social capital, but also generate it. Two models of elder care, one Swedish and one Australian, have been identified which specifically address the generation of social capital. In each case, the services and facilities have been developed by third-sector organisations with a strong community development focus, often in the face of resistance from state-run or medically oriented services.