The authors of this work examine the dominant view that voluntary activity promotes social capital and hence good government, but also explore alternative models for the creation of social capital. Theoretical discussion is combined with detailed case studies to provide a new explanation of : * the origins and nature of social capital * its effects on political participation and policy-making * the role of the voluntary sector Contributors go on to examine the possibility that current changes in the voluntary sector may in fact undermine social capital and consider the consequences. This book is an important step forward in this rapidly growing field of research and adds a unique European perspective to a debate which has been largely US-focussed.

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