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The Role of Social Capital and Local Institutions in Coping with Climate Stresses: The Case of Krapum Chhouk Commune in Rural Cambodia

Social capital is a central requirement for a successful climate change adaptation, especially in Cambodia where formal institutions are still poorly developed. Collective action and not-for-profit bonding are important for climate change adaptation; however, these are not easily developed. This study examined the local institutions vital for the livelihoods of citizens who live in flood-prone Krapum Chhouk commune in rural Cambodia. Through observations and in-depth interviews with the local community, it investigated social capital in terms of the dynamics of relationships, relations of trust, and social norms and practices. This study found that most networks were profit-oriented. Traditional practices such as community assistance for either agricultural works or social welfare have been diluted, and relations of trust were an issue in some villages. The connections between local institutions were found to be lacking; cross-membership across institutions was limited. Overall, many indications of weakness were found in community institutions, which may have negative implications on addressing climate change.

Vol. 10 No. 1, June 2013

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