Skip navigation

Tag Archives: McDonaldization

Social Capital


Theories of Social Capital: Researchers Behaving Badly

Ben Fine

Released March 15th 2010

PB / £ 27.50 / 9780745329963 / 230mm x 150mm / 288 pp

Ben Fine is the world’s most thorough and indefatigible critic of the abuse of the concept of capital that follows from adding “social” to it. … Here he … explore[s] the reasons behind the chaos this causes and the consequences of the penetration of notions of profit into every nook and cranny of our lives. A must-read for all irritated and irritable thinkers in social science. — Barbara Harriss-White, Oxford University

Tracing the evolution of social capital since his highly acclaimed contribution of 2001 (Social Capital Versus Social Theory), Ben Fine consolidates his position as the world’s leading critic of the concept.

Fine forcibly demonstrates how social capital has expanded across the social sciences only by degrading the different disciplines and topics that it touches: a McDonaldisation of social theory. The rise and fall of social capital at the World Bank is critically explained as is social capital’s growing presence in disciplines, such as management studies, and its relative absence in others, such as social history.

Writing with a sharp critical edge, Fine not only deconstructs the roller-coaster presence of social capital across the social sciences but also draws out lessons on how (and how not) to do research.

Ben Fine is Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He most recently co-authored From Economics Imperialism to Freakonomics: The Shifting Boundaries Between Economics and Other Social Sciences (2009) and serves on the Social Science Research Committee of the UK’s Food Standards Agency.

For further information, to request a review copy or to speak to the author please contact Jon Wheatley at or on 0208 374 6424

TEL: 0208 3482724 FAX: 0208 348 9133

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas:

Volumizer Resurrection Ten



The Volumizer was Glenn Rikowski’s AOL blog. It was started up on 29th September 2005. On 30th September 2008, AOL announced that all of its Hometown products, including its blogs and newsletters, would be closed down on 31st October 2008. Glenn’s articles, many of which were written for his students at the Volumizer, will be preserved at The Flow of Ideas. Work has begun on this project, and the latest articles to be included are now available, as listed below:






Rikowski, G. (2008) Nihilism and the De-valuation of Educational Values in England, 10th February, London, online at:



Rikowski, G. (2008) Are We Loving It? McDonaldization and Education. 23rd January, London, online at:



Rikowski, G. (2008) No Learner Left Unhassled, 12th January, London, online at:







Rikowski, G. (2007) Learning to the Max, with Play off the Tracks, 27th October, London, online at:



Rikowski, G. (2007) Ambassadors of Capital: Business Leaders as Head Teachers. 19th August, London, online at:



Rikowski, G. (2007) The Wilby Thesis: A Backward Step for School Privatisation? 18th August, London, online at:




The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at: