Modelling community interactions and social capital dynamics: The case of regional and rural communities of Australia

Modelling community interactions and social capital dynamics: The case of regional and rural communities of Australia Journal Article

Agricultural Systems

  • Author(s): Maru, Y. T., McAllister, R. R. J., Stafford Smith, D. M.
  • Published: 2007
  • Volume: 92
  • ISBN: 0308-521X

Abstract: Tension between dominant urban political and economic centres and associated rural communities continues despite various programs to decentralisation. This phenomenon is often explained in terms of a core-periphery political economy. To generate complementary explanatory hypotheses from a social perspective, we examine the impacts of rural-urban community interactions on the development of social norms such as the strength of mutual cooperation. We explore this using deliberately abstracted models of the "Iterated Prisoners' Dilemma" to represent intra- and inter-community interactions, in regionalised and centralised interaction arrangements. We have considered changes in mutual cooperation as an indicator of social capital dynamics. In our model, increasing interaction of rural communities with urban centres increases "non-cooperative" behaviour of members of the small rural communities. Moreover, as the strength of centralisation (the proportion of interaction between each rural community and the urban centre as compared with the interaction among rural communities) increases, cooperative behaviour among the members of smaller rural communities and mutual cooperation with individuals of larger urban centre decreases. Our hypothesis is that interaction with urban centres disrupts norms used in resolving local social dilemmas. If so, this partly explains the dissatisfaction expressed in rural-urban relations, which may be a fundamental emergent property of particular settlement patterns. Understanding these relationships could guide better policies to facilitate rural-urban interactions in the worldwide trend towards regionalism.

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Maru, Y. T., McAllister, R. R. J., Stafford Smith, D. M., 2007, Modelling community interactions and social capital dynamics: The case of regional and rural communities of Australia, Volume:92, Journal Article, viewed 09 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=3525.

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