Social capital, social policy, and health disparities: A legacy of political advocacy in African-American communities

Keon Gilbert, Lorraine Dean

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


This chapter will examine the ways in which social capital has been used for political advocacy and civic engagement in health, focusing on the African-American experience. Further, it will give context to how African-Americans have wielded collective effi cacy to combat racism, discrimination, and its harmful by-products on health and access to health services. We will highlight important historical and current developments within many African-American communities to build and sustain social capital. Many of these efforts are endemic to African-American communities across the USA, and others required multiracial cooperation to build partnerships or vertical relationships (linking social capital) to infl uence policy change. This chapter also focuses on the African-American experience because of the unique history of African-Americans in the USA and the ways in which these shared experiences have shaped African-American health. A history of inequality has left imprints on African-American health, and African-Americans have used the mechanisms of social capital to deal with that inequality. Social capital movements have driven the state of African-American health in the post-slavery era, yet when examining social capital and health race/ethnicity has been left out of the conversation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGlobal Perspectives on Social Capital and Health
PublisherSpringer New York
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781461474647
ISBN (Print)9781461474630
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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