The paper begins with a discussion of the notion of social capital which seems to gain increasing popularity in both academic and media discourse. The concept of social capital can be understood in several, often contradictory, ways which proves useful both for its positive interpretation and critical analysis. The second part of the paper is devoted to the issue of the relationship between the notion of social capital and modernization theories. The final section of the text discusses three main ideological orientations of the contemporary Polish political discourse: the left (social-democratic) orientation, the right (conservative) orientation and the centre (liberal) orientation. These three discourses are linked to the ideal visions of Poland they imply. These visions in turn are presented both from the positive and critical standpoints. In all cases, it is shown how the notion of social capital can be used to support the arguments both for and against each of the orientations.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.