Is a focus on social capital useful in considering food security interventions? Insights from KwaZulu-Natal

  • Misselhorn A
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Abstract

Social capital is an important collective resource people draw on in
pursuit (if well-being. This article explores the nexus between
household social capital and food security, in a small community in
KwaZulu-Natal. The case study, suggests some social capital-related
failures are linked to food insecurity in the community, including a
breakdown in two-parent families, divergences between religious groups,
ambiguous leadership characterised by conflict, and changes in cultural
norms. The highly variable and household-specific nature of social
capital's role in food security makes it difficult to extrapolate
lessons for targeting social capital in food security interventions
beyond the case-study community. However, the findings point to the
value of including proxies for social capital in vulnerability indices
and food-insecurity mapping systems, and more broadly to the importance
of understanding context-specific interactions between resources
or,capitals', institutional issues, and the human relationships and
power dynamics that shape food insecurity and the outcomes of
interventions to address it.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Food security
  • KwaZulu-Natal
  • Social capital
  • Vulnerability

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Authors

  • Alison Misselhorn

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