Through a close look at events observed in three Guadeloupean voluntary associations—a retirees' club, a youth group, and a dance club—this essay examines the politics of leisure activities, helping to illuminate the ways that social capital operates in associations and how politics permeates everyday life on the French island of Guadeloupe. I consider the ways that Putnam's view of social capital differs from Bourdieu's. I argue associations are an important source of social capital for some marginalized members of Guadeloupean society who convert this social capital into economic, political, or social advancement. At the same time, social capital is unevenly accessible within associations and it operates in a context of political patronage. My data suggests that we need to rethink the concept of social capital to account for the complexity of the ways it works in society.
Social Capital and the Politics of Leisure in Guadeloupean Associations
Nancy L. Green
Although mass migration to the United States and to France did not occur until after Tocqueville's visit to America, by rereading Tocqueville's classic De la démocratie en Amérique through the lens of immigration history, we can question some of the common assumptions about Franco-American differences. First, Tocqueville's comparativist gaze needs to be re-examined, especially with regard to the way in which it has been repeatedly invoked during the Tocquevillian renaissance of the last thirty years to differentiate the French and American experiences. Second, if Tocqueville did not discuss immigrants per se, his analysis of voluntary associations points to an important component of civil society which has been present both in France and the United States ever since immigrants began arriving en masse. Theories about the rise and decline of civil society as well as generalizations about Franco-American differences need to be challenged by including immigration associations in a new Tocquevillian analysis of democracy in both countries.
Tocqueville's account of the role of voluntary associations in democracy is discussed in relation to the French government's repressive Law of 1834. The context was one of insurrection in Lyon and the regime of Louis Philippe, itself the product of an insurrection only a few years before, was particularly nervous about conspiratorial associations, which it attempted to ban with the law in question. Because Tocqueville opposed this law, he emphasized the virtues of political association in the text of Democracy in America and ignored certain problematic characteristics of the one association he used to exemplify his general argument, namely, the “free trade association” that convened in Philadelphia in 1831 to oppose the so-called Tariff of Abominations.
, “Rabbinic Study, Self-Improvement, and Philanthropy: Gender and the Refashioning of Jewish Voluntary Associations in Germany, 1750–1870,” in Philanthropy, Patronage, and Civil Society: Experiences from Germany, Great Britain, and North America , ed. Thomas
Promises of Proximity as Articulated by Changing Moral Elites
of “help to self-help.” This meant that public relief should have a deterring and disciplining effect and essentially be reserved for the “undeserving” poor, while the “deserving” poor ought to be helped through voluntary associations. 38 While
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's work on the concept of the social/ samāj in Hindi is exemplary. He shows how linguistic, reformist, and nationalist discourses are intertwined, and religious discourse is influential in shaping the concept of the social. Samāj refers to voluntary