- 東京大学大学院教育学研究科紀要 (ISSN:13421050)
- vol.53, pp.95-112, 2013
This paper discusses the applicability of social capital theory to research on adult and community education. In the field of adult and community education, clarifying the process of subjectivity has been a central task. However, because the self is restricted by society, it is necessary to adopt a relational approach. The leading theory of this kind is social capital theory, which regards social relationships as a sort of "capital", and clarifies the mechanisms of accumulation and diversion of this "capital". In the 1970s, there was discussion about the relationships between community and education. One approach was to view the community as a system and try to reveal its structure, and the other approach was to focus on the construction process of the community through residents' movements. Social capital theory has the potential to adjust this dichotomy between the subject and structure, by focusing on the process and the function of social relationships. The work of Robert D. Putnam, the leading proponent of social capital theory, has three characteristics. The first is conceptualizing the social condition of regulating or affecting governance as social capital. The second is regarding social relationships as a sort of capital, which makes it possible to measure the amount of social capital across the ages and to compare social capital across countries and regions. The third is developing the possibility of conducting intervention studies into the community in order to construct social capital. In Japan, policy makers and researchers have shown increasing interest in social capital theory, with the promotion of community governance in recent years. The theory of social capital affects the lifelong learning policies of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Union, and attempts have been made to identify point of contact between the theory and research on adult and community education. Experience has shown that adult and community education can create partnerships and trust among residents in a local community, and that these relationships can add to lead to changes in the community. Social capital can add to this understanding by providing a theoretical framework and guidelines for empirical research. When trying to apply the concept of social capital to research on adult and community education, it is necessary to clarify the level of analysis, to focus on social networks, to examine nature as "capital," and to reconsider the concept of social capital as a dynamic one. In future research on adult and community education, it is important to capture not only social relationships among individuals but also social relationships among associations and groups in the community, the process of getting engaged in community activities through belonging to such groups, and how the community is constructed through cumulative activities.