University of Leicester
2012PaschosEPMPhil.pdf (1.25 MB)

Social Capital and Networks Within and Between Greenpeace and Medecins Sans Frontieres: An Ethnographic Study

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posted on 2012-07-06, 13:04 authored by Epameinondas Paschos
This research is a product of a personal involvement with two of the most influential non-government organisations, Médecins Sans Frontières and Greenpeace, which spans over a five year period. It aims to contribute to the advancement of theoretical understanding and public discourse and exchange on social networks and social capital through the investigation of these two organisations, as case studies. Specifically, it engages in exploring, analysing and attempting to interpret how social networks are operating within Médecins Sans Frontières and Greenpeace and how these two organisations have either liaised between them or to their external environment. In succession, and via adopting an ethnographic data collection method and wider research approach, this study makes insightful links between these non-governmental organisations and social capital, which is reflected upon both as element and a product of the processes and interactions of social networks. Through the close involvement of the researcher in both of these organisations, the research makes interesting connections both to the theoretical underpinnings of social capital and to the practical applications, while being reflective of the contextually bounded nature of the approach due exactly to the proximity factor. The fluid and dynamic reality of social networks and capital is visited via the use of diverse examples at micro and macro level, following the “journey” of these organisations through time and space via a variety of research techniques such as personal interviews, observation and note-taking, participation and through the use of secondary external data. The inherently partial nature of ethnographic” truths”, which brings forth the dialectic relationship between the researcher and the subject, is used as an opportunity to generate rich data on how key internal (norms, principles, values, identity, culture and structure) and external factors (environmental and context shifts) influence the formation and communication of social capital within and across the boundaries of the two non-government organisations.



Fournier, Valerie

Date of award


Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Masters

Qualification name

  • Mphil



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