1. bookVolume 12 (2020): Issue 4 (December 2020)
Journal Details
First Published
24 Feb 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Long-Term Impact of Closing Rural Schools on Local Social Capital: A Multiple-Case Study from Poland

Published Online: 31 Dec 2020
Page range: 598 - 617
Received: 19 Feb 2020
Accepted: 23 Jul 2020
Journal Details
First Published
24 Feb 2009
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

In many European countries, for both demographic and financial reasons, small schools are being closed. A rural school is one of the few public places which enables formal and informal meetings of community residents. When it is closed, social activity changes. This paper presents a multiple-case study of four Polish villages which in the year 2000 organized protests against school closures; two schools were saved and two were closed. Semi-structured interviews with local leaders and office workers were conducted in 2004 and 2016. The study shows that the decline of structural social capital was significantly smaller in those villages where the school was saved. In the village in which the building of the school did not serve the local population due to the decision of the authorities, a significant and long-term decline in both structural and cognitive social capital was observed. That means that local authorities may contribute to the degradation of the local social capital.


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