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Social capital, resource constraints and low growth communities: Lifestyle entrepreneurs in Nicaragua

Klapper, R and Upham, P and Kurronen, K (2018) Social capital, resource constraints and low growth communities: Lifestyle entrepreneurs in Nicaragua. Sustainability, 10 (10). ISSN 2071-1050

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Abstract

In the context of the connections between lifestyle entrepreneurship and sustainability, we discuss the way in which social capital may partially substitute or compensate for manufactured and natural capital. In terms of methods we use a case study community of lifestyle entrepreneurs in Nicaragua, operating under conditions of material resource constraints and weak formal institutions. We find that social capital is highly important in such a community, with the entrepreneurs adopting a range of effectuation or coping practices that enable them to function. We document these practices and consider the broader implications of such capital substitution, noting the particularities of the case study but also the implications for sustainability and the economics of a materially resource-constrained world. We draw particularly on Bourdieu's conception of social capital, which posits that societies inherently organize for multi-capital accumulation, a proposal that itself has implications for sustainability. We conclude that while significant substitution of social for manufactured and natural capital is feasible in communities with values that are supportive of this, it remains to be seen whether this would be attractive to the wider, consumer society. © 2018 by the authors.

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