Actual or Potential Neighborhood Resources for Health

What Can Bourdieu Offer for Understanding Mechanisms Linking Social Capital to Health?
  • Richard M. Carpiano


This chapter focuses on the importance of considering network-based resources and access to such resources in studying social capital and health for neighborhood or local community contexts. Specifically, it draws upon the work of French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, whose conceptualization of social capital, as part of a more elaborate “practice theory” of the distribution of power in society (e.g., Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992), has only recently received attention by health researchers for the study of social capital and, more broadly, socioeconomic determinants of individual and population health. Prior and on-going theoretical and empirical research are used to support the need to conceptualize neighborhood social capital as resources inhered within networks consisting of neighborhood residents—as well as potentially other neighborhoods and institutions—that may be used by residents for individual or mutual action.


Social Capital Social Cohesion Informal Social Control Neighborhood Social Capital Social Capital Form 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard M. Carpiano
    • 1
  1. 1.University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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