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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Social Capital, Social Liabilities, and Political Capital: Social Networks and Informal Manufacturing in Nigeria
Author:Meagher, KateISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:social networks
small enterprises
footwear industry
clothing industry
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Politics and Government
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=47149BA8A30D4E4C6DB0
Abstract:This article addresses the question of why social networks have failed to promote economic development in Africa when they have been associated with economic growth in other parts of the world. Detailed field research traces the role of social networks in the economic organization of two informal enterprise clusters - shoes and garments - in the town of Aba in southeastern Nigeria, an area renowned for the density of its popular economic networks and for the rapid development of small-scale manufacturing under Nigeria's structural adjustment programme. Focusing on the role of embedded social institutions and their restructuring amid the competitive pressures of rapid liberalization, the author considers the extent to which social networks in Aba constitute 'social capital' capable of promoting economic development in the context of ongoing liberalization, 'social liabilities' that undermine accumulation through a social logic of redistribution and parochialism, or 'political capital' through which popular forces are incorporated into the 'shadow structures' of predatory States. The article challenges the essentialism of much of the contemporary literature on African social networks, arguing for a sharper focus on the specific institutional capacities of indigenous economic institutions. It calls for greater attention to the role of rapid liberalization and State neglect in explaining the developmental failures of African informal enterprise networks. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]