Seeing the social capital in agricultural innovation systems: using SNA to visualise bonding and bridging ties in rural communities

  • Louise Clark
Keywords: knowledge management, development studies, network analysis, social networks, social capital, rural communities, agricultural development


The aim of this paper is to highlight the complex networks that support information flows in rural communities of Bolivia by providing a visual representation of the heterogeneous organisational structures that characterise different ethnic groups. The social structures within rural communities provide development agencies with key insights into the support networks created by community-based organisations which can be used to identify strategies to reach marginalised groups. This preliminary analysis of the mechanisms through which the rural poor access new information is particularly important for agricultural development projects which aim to increase producers' awareness of new technologies or provide them with market information. This paper uses social network analysis (SNA) to demonstrate how the bonding ties of affiliation to community-based organisations and the bridging ties of relationships with local institutions demonstrate the different structural properties of rural communities. Development projects which promote local development need to understand these community structures and how they support information flows to marginalised groups.


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