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Foley, M. W., Edwards, B. (1997). Escape From Politics? Social Theory and the Social Capital Debate. American Behavioral Scientist 40 (5), 550

This article sets the stage for the discussion of social capital, civil society, and contemporary democracy by attempting to clarify terms and set out the most promising avenues for discussion and debate. The authors argue that current usage of key terms in the debate suffers from three faults: First, the notion of "social capital" is generally undertheorized and oversimplified. Second, popular usage and some scholarly accounts tend to suppress the conflictive character of civil society, seeking in society itself and in its inner workings the resolution of conflicts that politics and the political system in other understandings are charged with settling or suppressing. Third, these (mis)understandmgs conjoin in the suppression of the economic dimension of contemporary social conflict. This introductory article takes up the first two of these points, in an effort to lay out the theoretical and empirical questions that the subsequent articles address.


Foley, Michael W.

Edwards, Bob

Bob Edwards is Professor of Sociology at the East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Edwards' page on Academia.edu. Edwards' citation profile on Google Scholar.

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