Informations and abstract
Keywords: Civic culture, social capital, trust/mistrust, democracy, comparative politics.
In spite of Almond and Verba's path-breaking work "The Civic Culture" (1963), professional interest in explaining political, and democratic, outcomes with cultural variables has not fared well - until the publication of Robert D. Putnam's "Making Democracy Work" (1993). By advancing a more structuralist perspective, this work expanded traditional understanding of the impact of culture on politics and unleashed social capital research into its current widespread and lively phase of development. The article traces the move from civic culture to social capital, assesses what benefits social capital research has produced to date in comparative politics, and explores the implications of improved tools of investigation for future research. The article also suggests why the conceptualization of social capital continues to be debated.