From Citizendium, the Citizens' Compendium.
The Social Capital Foundation (TSCF) is a non-profit,
non-governmental organization (NGO) that pursues
social capital and
social cohesion. Created in late 2002 by Dr
Patrick Hunout, it is based in
Brussels and Malta. TSCF is international and focuses particularly on the
current developments in the
industrial countries. The profiles of
its members are extremely diverse. Funded with membership,
conference and expertise fees, it is an independent
operating foundation. It is a not a
Social capital is a key concept in
economics, and organizational behavior. It has been theorized
about by a long list of scholars, from Emile Durkheim to Ferdinand
Tönnies, Pierre Bourdieu, Robert Putnam, Robert Bellah, Francis
Fukuyama, Patrick Hunout and others.
However, the approach of the
Foundation cannot be reduced to
the use of the sole concept of social capital.
The Foundation's approach to social
TSCF's approach to "social capital" is distinct from other, more
socio-economic approaches in which the term "capital" approaches
some of its conventional economic meanings. TSCF promotes social
capital defined as a set of mental dispositions and attitudes
favoring cooperative behaviors within society.
The first assumption on which this definition is based is that
social capital must not be mixed up with its manifestations.
Thus, social capital does not consist primarily in the possession
of social networks, but in a disposition to generate, maintain and
develop congenial relationships. It is not good neighborhood, but
the openness to pacific coexistence and reciprocity based on a
concept of belonging. It does not consist in running negotiations,
but in the shared compromise-readiness and sense of the common good
that make them succeed. It is not solely observable trust, but the
predictability and the good faith necessary to produce it. It is not
reductible to factual civic engagement, but resides in the sense of
community that gives you lust to get involved in public life. All
these downstream manifestations cannot be fully and consistently
explained without reference to the upstream mental patterns that
make them possible, or not.
The second assumption is that this disposition is collectivistic.
It is not my individual capacity to build networks that is the most
important for creating social capital but a collective, shared and
reciprocal disposition to welcome, create and maintain social
connections - without which my individual efforts to create such
connections may well remain vain.
In that sense, The Social Capital Foundation's definition of
social capital can be regarded as a semantic equivalent to the
spirit of community. TSCF's approach is close to the one developed
Amitai Etzioni and the
Communitarian Network, although the concerns raised by the
erosion of the community trace back to diverse figures in early
modern sociology such as
Emile Durkheim or the
Chicago School of Sociology, while
jungism also insisted on the existence of a common soul.
TSCF promotes social capital through socio-economic research,
publications, and events. The Foundation sets up international
conferences on a regular basis. While research and knowledge add
verified facts to the debate, social interaction contributes to
further dissemination and awareness around the Foundation's
Patrick Hunout and the
critique of Leviathan's policy
Patrick Hunout, a Franco-Belgian researcher and policymaker,
created in 1999 The International Scope Review and in 2002 The
Social Capital Foundation. His theoretical filiation is both in the
Emile Durkheim and
Ferdinand Tönnies and in the more recent contributions of
cognitive psychology and legal reasoning research by Chaim Perelman.
A former stage of his work had
shown that judicial decisionmaking is only possible to the extent
where judges use, beyond the formal legal provisions, impersonal and
universal values as decision principles - to name these, he coined
the term of "global axiological space" (1985, 1990).
pioneer work on job evaluation (1987b, 1992) showed that job evaluation
methodologies are based on systems of values and that they can be
used at corporate level to promote a common understanding. He later
showed steady interest in evaluation methodologies, not only when
they are applied to job responsibility and staff performance, but
also to the quality of research (he thus elaborated the
sophisticated TISR scientific evaluation methodology in 2007-2010)
or to the quality of service: in 2011, TSCF created a Rating
Department using his Service Quality Scale (SQUAS) based on
reliability and trust, a key concept in social capital theory.
As from the middle of the nineties,
Patrick Hunout started to work on the contemporary economic and
societal crisis as an effect of a refusal of change, notably on the
part of the ruling class. He objected the formation of a new
proletariat, due in particular to the recourse to mass immigration
from third-world countries, as a way te refuse to enter modernity
and to go back into old systems of governance within a stratified
society. He advocated instead the modernisation of Western economies
through the constitution a large, educated and skilled middle-class
of European origin, enjoying high revenues thanks to an equitable
allocation of wealth, sharing common values based on European
heritage, and participating in all decisions of common interest.
Patrick Hunout's model of societal change
His work (1995-1996, 2003b, 2003c, 2008) explored the
formation of what he called a "New Leviathan", around the hypothesis
that the upper class of society seeks to build a new order based on
less equality and less democracy. His approach, in the form of a
structural model that can evoke the analyses of
Michel Foucault, suggests that, contrary to a common view, the
strategies carried forward by the New Leviathan link intimately the
economic, ethnic, and interpersonal fields. These strategies consist
in developing economic flexibility and precariousness, promoting
migrations and a multiethnic society, and pushing forward
individualist, hedonist and consumerist values. In a last resort,
they design a weak society, enslaved to market values and
to governmental controls rendered necessary by the increasing
incapacity of an atomized social body to manage itself. The novels
by Michel Houellebecq have illustrated in their own way the
main outlines of this model.
strategies carried forward by the ruling class explain most
contemporary difficulties; if they would be inverted, a huge
improvement would follow.
Hunout's collectivistic, communitarian inspiration re-emerges when he
suggests, to counter the strategies of New Leviathan, policies
developing a democratic middle-class centered society, promoting an
equitable share of wealth, protecting cultural identity against mass
migrations, and strengthening shared values within the social body.
These orientations are at the heart of the action of The Social
The International Scope Review
TSCF publishes The International Scope Review (TISR), an
international academic journal that releases multidisciplinary
research on the contemporary transformations taking place in the
industrial countries. The Review publishes papers that design
alternative approaches to improve our collective ability to overcome
the contemporary challenges.
By linking three fields: economic relationships, interethnic
relationships and interpersonal relationships, TISR attempts to
offer a global understanding of the changes in society and the
economy. Created in 1999, the journal has delivered 14 issues so
far, bearing on multiple societal issues such as the weakening of
the social bond in the developed countries, the definition and
measurement of social capital, the links between suicide and
individualism, the emergence of the new religions, and the
contemporary crisis of the family link, - but also on sociopolitical
issues such as the real objectives of European integration, the
implications of mass immigration for the Western countries, the
possible development of an organized civil society, tax morale and
Submissions are peer refereed on the basis of an original
in-house evaluation methodology. This methodology is based on
weighted criteria giving importance to both scientific quality and
communication quality, which are not seen as contradictory, on the
opposite. The evaluation procedure is double-blind and is run by at
least two referees, one being an expert of the field/discipline of
the paper submitted, the other being a general reader so as to test
acceptability by the wider public. The values of the Review are
intellectual independence, methodological rigor and respect to the
Consolidating society through social
The response of The Social Capital Foundation to the weakening of
the social bond, as expressed in various issues of The International
Scope Review (1999, 2003, 2004, 2005), consists in expanding social
TSCF's orientation emphasizes:
The social dimension of the market economy: tempering the
effects of the free market on precariousness and social
fragility, not through bureaucratic controls, but through the
development of "socially responsible corporate policies", of the
non-profit economy sector, and of a partnership system between
employers and employees in the spirit of what has been called
The pivotal role of the middle class in
modern society: promoting a society with a large, educated and
wealthy middle-class able to play a responsive role in the
settlement of issues, in order to favor democratic life, which
may have implications for revenues, wage and tax policies, as
well as for education and learning practices.
The necessity for improvement of social
cooperation and participation: on the basis of the above, a
stronger society would involve a massive reduction in the role
of the governments, compensated by a raise in the role of the
organized civil society (NGOs and independent organizations).
Civic participation in the judicial and governmental
institutions would be developed and the legal and tax systems
would be democratized.
The preservation of cultural identity for
community integration: migration policies would be restricted
and third world socio-economic development policies would take
over from them, while the attribution of nationality would be
submitted to community approval. Thus TSCF suggested that "mass
immigration helps maintain the older systems of governance. The
main objective of this policy rapidly became to reconstruct a
new working class, a class that was disappearing since the XIXth
century, not only in terms of financial resource level but also
in terms of submission to authority and social stratification"
(Peace and Conflict Monitor, 09/16/2003).
Finally, raising the level of social
capital would have implications for a wide range of behaviors on
a daily basis, such as showing a lesser individualism,
developing compromise-readiness, being critical to consumption
values, as well as reintroducing congeniality and civility in
family, neighborhood and interpersonal relationships
so as to learn again to live together.
TSCF International Conferences
TSCF sets up international conferences on an ad hoc basis. Conference participants are policymakers, academicians, social
workers, development professionals, and community leaders. The
concept of the TSCF conferences is open to diverse types of
participants - in general, to all those who want to understand
better the world in which they live.
The most important TSCF International Conferences include:
The 2004 Brussels conference on the Future
of Family (Brussels, May 11–13, 2004, "The Future of Family: Recomposition or Decomposition?"),
The 2005 Malta I conference on Social
Capital (Buggiba, September 20–22, 2005, "Social Capital,
Definition, Measurement, Applications"),
The 2008 Malta II conference on Social
Inclusion (Buggiba, September 19–22, 2008, "Perspectives on
Social Capital and Social Inclusion").
While the 2004 conference has shown
a vacillation of the family in the Western countries, it also
suggested that family as social structure may have a brighter future
if well inserted into a strong wider community. Wherever family is
open the wider community, this proves better for the consolidation
of society and economic development, as shown by the work of Putnam
& al. on
Northern vs. Southern Italy. Reciprocally, a strong sense of
community in the wider society helps the formation and maintenance
of solid family links. The 2005 conference has explored the issues
around the definition and measurement of social capital and has
shown the crucial importance of social capital for social cohesion.
The 2008 conference has revolved around issues of economic
development and civic engagement; it suggested ways to make public
policies more efficient by orienting them to the creation of social
capital. In the recent period, the conferences of TSCF tend to
become more encompassing and practical, addressing for example the
issues raised by the world economic crisis that developed after the
so-called "subprime crisis" of 2007-2009.
- Patrick Hunout (2008), A World in
Convulsions: The New Orthodoxy and the Social Order (July 2008,
- Patrick Hunout, Maya David and Jean Dewitt
(2005), Referring Governments to the Community: Henry David
Thoreau Revisited (The International Scope Review, Issue 12,
Volume 7, 2005)
- Patrick Hunout and Brent Shea (2003c),The
Decline of the West Revisited (The Erosion of the Social Link in
the Economically Advanced Countries, The International Scope
Review, Issue 10, Volume 5, 2003, ISSN 1374-1217)
- Patrick Hunout, Brent Shea and Didier Le
Gall (2003b), The Destruction of Society: Challenging the
'Modern' Triptyque: Individualism, Hedonism, Consumerism, (The
Erosion of the Social Link in the Economically Advanced
Countries, The International Scope Review, Issue 9, Volume 5,
2003, ISSN 1374-1217)
- Patrick Hunout and Brent Shea (2003a), A
New Look at Economic Development (Peace and Conflict Monitor, UN
University for Peace, Geneva, Special Report, 09/16/2003)
Patrick Hunout (2000),
Droit du travail et culture sociale : l'exemple allemand,
(L’Harmattan, Paris, ISBN 2738477852).
- Patrick Hunout & al. (1999), Immigration
und Identität in Deutschland und Frankreich, (The International
Scope Review, Thematic Issues, Deutsche Fassung, 1999).
Patrick Hunout (1993),
L’entreprise et le droit du travail : Une comparaison
franco-allemande (CIRAC, Paris, ISBN 2905518251).
Patrick Hunout (1992), « Du classement des emplois ŕ la mesure
des compétences », Formation-Emploi, Paris, 39.
Patrick Hunout (1990),
Droit du travail et psychologie sociale (Pref. Serge
Moscovici, Méridiens Klincksieck, Paris).
Patrick Hunout (1987a), La
psychologie sociale des décisions de justice : une discipline en
émergence (Déviance et Société, vol. XI, n° 3, Geneva,
Patrick Hunout (1987b), L'évaluation et la
classification des emplois (CEREQ, Documents de Travail,
n° 29, Paris).
Patrick Hunout (1985),
Psychologie judiciaire et droit prud'homal (Ph.D. Thesis,
Psychology, Paris, EHESS, 522 f°).
- The International Scope Review (2005),
Vol. 7, Issue 12 (Yearly),
- The International Scope Review (2004),
Vol. 6, Issue 11 (Yearly),
- The International Scope Review (2003),
Vol. 5, Issue 9 (Summer) and 10 (Winter),
- The International Scope Review (1999),
Vol. 1, Issue 1 (Summer) & Issue 2 (Winter),
- The International Scope Review (1998),
TISR Model, 1995-1996, retrieved from