| By T. Carroll and A. Bebbington | Published in Policy Sciences, Vol 33, No 3/4, 2000: 435-457 |

Abstract: This chapter focuses on a special type of structural social capital embedded in second-tier indigenous peasant federations in the Andean countries. It first examines the manifestations of this social capital and then goes on to analyze the strategies of the various social actors for its use, mainly to further the interests of poor and oppressed members, but often in the service of broader societal or narrower partisan purposes. Cases are presented to illustrate how such a social capital resource, once created, can be used or transformed for other than the original purposes. Sometimes these spillovers are socially beneficial, confirming the mutability thesis of Hirschman (1984); but in other cases the diversions can be harmful and disempowering. The authors conclude that even considering these varied uses, meso-level peasant federations, when incorporated into rural development policies, can help to achieve equity and sustainability.