This paper argues that lack of formal institutional structure and lack of progress have not discouraged formation of social capital in the South-western tribal belt of Madhya Pradesh. With the help of civil society there is increased awareness of issues pertaining to the loss of natural resources. This has strengthened the social network's capabilities in terms of associated activities and led to trust among the social groups and individuals and collective action for shared goals. In relatively less remote areas, the stratifications created by political and economic processes have displaced the social hierarchy. But in remote rural areas, where economic hierarchy is fragile and reshuffles itself within a short span, the social elites get an upper hand even in non-social affairs. The dominance of social hierarchy in decision-making would, however, not be due to the weakness of political elites; it is rather lack of efficiency in local governance that gives space to social norms and informal institutions in non-social affairs of the community.
Sah, D.C. Commons and Community: Evidence from the South-western Tribal Belt of Madhya Pradesh, CPRC-IIPA Working Paper No. 22. Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), Manchester, UK (2005) 30 pp.