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Governing the Policy Network on Urban Agriculture in Bangkok: The Role of Social Capital in Handling Cooperation and Conflicts

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Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Author: Boossabong, Piyapong
Date: 2014
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9763
Sector: Agriculture
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): social capital
Abstract: "Since 2010 a policy network on urban agriculture (UA) has emerged in Bangkok, incorporating policy actors from both governmental and non-governmental bodies. This study argues that multiple forms of social capital – including shared rules, reputation, trust, reciprocity, moral obligation, shared norms and shared knowledge among various actors – have shaped the functioning of this policy network since its emergence. In addition, the study argues that these forms of social capital support the capacity of the policy network to enhance cooperation and handle conflicts. The role of social capital in governing the UA policy network is examined in relation to the floods experienced in Bangkok between late 2011 and early 2012. The analytical framework adopted is based on two contrasting theories: Ostrom’s institutional rational choice (IRC) and Habermas’ communicative action theory (CAT). Both are applied to link social capital and policy network studies. Following these two perspectives, this study conceptualises social capital by considering both rational and normative commitments. By focusing on IRC and CAT perspectives on power, this study analyses how instrumental, communicative and structural power relates to social capital. Findings reveal that the aforementioned forms of social capital influenced the emergence of the policy network by determining the status of the network’s constituent organisations and groups and their power relations. Members of organisations and groups that shared forms of knowledge agreed that the reason for cooperation was epistemic, while reciprocity and moral obligation supported their decision to cooperate. The study also found that the reputable and trusted organisational leader within the network, who shared rules, norms and knowledge with others, played a key role in facilitating a deliberative process while handling conflicts. The analysis aims to bridge social capital and policy network studies, and reveals the benefits of articulating IRC and CAT to understand policy network governance."

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