Social Capital, Livelihood and Well-Being
How the urban labour market in developing countries function and how individuals access jobs are pertinent questions, particularly in the context of low-income households in cities. The concept of ‘social capital’ provides a substantive basis to the understanding of some of these questions. The caste-kinship bonds and contacts through co-villagers and co-residents of the cluster in which they reside have been quite dominant amongst the low-income households in pursuing rural-based search for urban jobs and, finally, for migrating to the urban areas to get employed (see Sovani 1964; Banerjee 1986, 1991; Banerjee and Bucci 1994; Mitra 1994). The concept of ‘social capital’ tends to offer a formal definition to these channels and highlights their relevance in the context of development and policy planning. Social capitals, as Putnam (1993) defined, are those features of social organisations such as trust, norms and networks that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions. It is the networking that helps create linkages, which in turn forge rules, conventions and norms governing the development process (Chopra 2002).