Environmental Issues and Social Capital. Local communities and agricultural development in economically depressed areas
Sociology University of the Aegean Athens, Greece
The broad focus is to incorporate academic analyses of sustainability issues with those issues expressed by locals. We need to explore the social embeddednes of institutions in those areas as they are expressed via the formation of cooperatives as well as related local politico-administrative institutions.
Cooperatives have been identified as important to the development of social capital, socio-economic inclusion, political empowerment and economic sustainability, especially in the face of globalization. In this sense, they can be seen to facilitate a relationship between social and economic capital. What is not clear however, is the extend cooperative work forms are able to develop physical capital.
In this sense physical capital is equated with ecological sustainability. If cooperatives are able to facilitate the development of social, physical, economic capital they will provide a significant mechanism for sustainable development and could provide the means by which collective action can be translated into endogenous social development.
We want to highlight the multidimentional aspects of such social forms, as the social enterprises, that can create an environment which can shape local change in marginal communites in Greece's rural regions. A proposal for the eco-development of these regions will be discussed.