PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2016, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (8): 1039-1048.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2016.08.013

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles    

Progress of social capital research in geography

KONG Cuicui(),LIU Jing,ZHU Qing(),JI Xuze,WEI Xinyu,SONG Wenjie,ZHOU Yongru   

  1. Department of Geography and Remote Sensing Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Online:2016-08-28 Published:2016-08-28
  • Contact: ZHU Qing;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41471121;Young Teachers Foundation of Beijing Normal University, No.310400086


With its role in promoting democracy, economic growth, improving health and alleviating poverty gradually being realized, social capital has become the focus of many research efforts in various disciplines. Geographers also realize that social capital plays an important part in explaining geographical phenomena. In recent years, researchers in China and abroad have undertaken various empirical studies based on specific issues, but the introduction of social capital in the study of geography remains to be of a short history. Especially in China, the study of social capital in geography lacks a systematic review and exploration of an analytical framework. Based on the examination of a large number of international and Chinese literature on this kind of research, this article systematically summarizes and reviews the studies from the following aspects: the spatiality of social capital, the introduction of social capital in solving geographical issues, the application of social capital in various sub-disciplines, such as economic geography, urban geography, health geography, and so on. Meanwhile, this article brings about a number of issues that should be further examined and some new research perspectives that deserve to be broadened in the near future. For example, the approach and framework of solving geographical issues from the perspective of social capital and the measurements of social capital in the field of geographical research. By doing so, this article attempts to promote the application of social capital in geographical studies and enrich theoretical research and practices of social capital.

Key words: social capital, spatial scale, regional disparity, geography, regional economic development, social space