Sampson, Kaylene; Goodrich, Colin; McManus, Ruth
June 2011
Social Policy Journal of New Zealand;Jun2011, Issue 37, p97
Academic Journal
Rural communities are an important part of New Zealand society, and the New Zealand economy is highly dependent on rural-based activities. Substantial changes occurring in the rural economy have the potential to significantly affect local communities. This study has taken a social capital perspective to examine how 12 rural families have attempted to resolve dilemmas that have arisen as a consequence of local industry change. This change included the loss of the forestry industry, and growth in the tourism and dairy sectors. The social responses observed highlight the strong presence and substantial buffering role of social capital in assisting rural people to balance family, work and community life. We suggest that the level of self-determination afforded to the community and control over the processes required to amass social capital are fundamental to successfully fostering it. Agencies taking approaches that embrace the norms inherent in social capital itself, such as trust, reciprocity and mutuality, will be advantaged in their capacity to “bring along” families and community. These insights will be discussed in terms of their social policy implications.


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