Social Capital, Social Policy, and Health Disparities: A Legacy of Political Advocacy in African-American Communities

  • Keon Gilbert
  • Lorraine Dean


This chapter examines the ways in which social capital has been used for political advocacy and civic engagement in health, focusing on the African-American experience. Further, it will give context to how African-Americans have wielded collective efficacy to combat racism, discrimination and its harmful by-products on health and access to health services. We highlight important historical and current developments within many African-American communities to build and sustain social capital. Many of these efforts are endemic to African American communities across the U.S., and others required multi-racial cooperation to build partnerships or vertical relationships (linking social capital) to influence policy change. Social capital movements have driven the state of African-American health in the post-slavery era, yet we argue that race/ethnicity has been left out of the conversation in research on social capital and health.


Social Capital Racial Discrimination Black Community Collective Efficacy Residential Segregation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Behavioral Science and Health EducationSt. Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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