Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Political Capital for Communication

Political Capital Theory

Political capital in this framework represents the capacity of movement members to gain influence over political processes for the purposes of furthering movement goals. This includes appropriate representation in the media to get issues on the agenda, at public dialogues, within and through the government and as thought leaders with lobbying power in communities across BC.

Regina Briner and Heidi Wittmer in their article "Converting Social Capital into Political Capital: How do local communities gain political influence? A theoretical approach and empirical evidence from Thailand and Columbia" distinguish between instrumental and structural political capital.

“Instrumental political capital is defined in the actors’ perspective as the resources which actors can use to influence policy formation processes and realize outcomes in their interest. Structural political capital is defined in the public perspective and refers to variables of the political system which condition the actor’s possibilities to accumulate instrumental political capital and to use if effectively” (Briner and Wittmer, nd, p. ii).

Without connected, articulate, knowledgeable and respected thought leaders with instrumental political power, the movement as a whole cannot communicate internally or externally with much legitimacy or further it’s goals in the political arena. This will also result in the movement continuing to be underfunded, under resourced, deficient in human capital and lacking in symbolic power. While political capital can be developed through the use of economic capital, the focus on political capital for communication is on how the developed social capital (discussed in a previous blog post) can be converted into political capital.

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