46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
Putnam states that 'the most fundamental form of social capital is the family.' Bourdieu sees the family as the main site of accumulation and transmission of social capital, while Newton states that 'the family may also be the most fundamental source of social capital.' Social capital literature tends to emphasize the role of families in constructing social capital, be this within family networks or beyond in community networks. This paper aims at identifying ways to link exclusive forms of indigenous social capital such as land property, to more inclusive forms of social capital that integrate families and communities in a global process of development. This paper focuses on the role of family landed property in the creation of social networks leading to local development. The case study is of the Faliraki tourist community on the island of Rhodes, Greece. Available primary data refer to a 393-plot sample of cadastral histories and cover a 30-year period, from 1965 to 1995, when the transition from a rural area to an area established as tourist resort in the international market took place. A non-market transfer acts study (inheritances, donations and dowries) has revealed family property management practices and customary rules. One may observe a widespread phenomenon of social dispersion of land property amongst a great number of individuals and families, favoring the spontaneous creation of social networks on different levels and have supported – to a high degree – family businesses and local tourism development. Rather than viewing family businesses as rational decision-makers, the social capital approach of this paper suggests that family businesses and local development are embedded in social relations that influence their activities. Social capital may be the 'missing link' in development, as a complement and catalyst of the other, better-known species of capital.