Publication Details

Tibben, W. J. (2009). Revisiting the question of social capital in public policy: exploring new directions for community informatics research. In L. Stillman, G. Johanson & T. Denison (Eds.), CIRN 2009: Empowering communities: learning from community informatics practice (pp. 1-10). Melbourne, Australia: Centre for Community Networking Research, Caulfield School of IT, Monash University.


The paper sets out to analyse the concept of social capital and its utility for Community Informatics (CI) research and practice in public policy. The paper begins by noting that the concept seems to have lost some “currency” in contemporary public policy debates. The rise and fall and social capital as a public policy concept is traced through published government reports in Australia. It then moves onto critical economic discourse to indicate a number of barriers to its adoption within public policy within Australia at the time. The paper then considers whether such criticisms are addressed from a CI perspective on social capital theory. A relevant line of enquiry detailed by Gurstein is in investigated in which innovation theory is reasoned to better leverage the work of social capital theorists in public policy settings.