Community transport, social capital and social exclusion in rural areas

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Abstract

The concept of social capital has been used by numerous authors to investigate various topics. As yet, however, little attention has been paid to its relationship with mobility and social exclusion. Those findings which have been published suggest that the maintenance of social capital and associated networks within and between communities largely depends on mobility, but that local social networks are being undermined as a result of growing car ownership and use. This paper draws on the results of recent rural transport research to suggest that, at the same time, strong local social capital appears important in conferring mobility on certain social groups, especially those without access to a car. In the context of community transport, our analysis uses a geographic framework to attempt to explore these positions and reviews arising policy and research implications.

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