Social capital provides the crucial link between human development, poverty alleviation and good governance in the reports on poverty alleviation emanating from the world financial institutions. The profuse commentary on social capital has focused primarily on the problems in defining social capital and operationalizing it for research purposes. This chapter focuses on how social capital, is used in these proliferating research projects, defines 'the social'. The modem social capital literature draws on the theoretical approaches developed primarily by Pierre Bourdieu and Robert Coleman. Bourdieu's concept is a critical tool that helps explain poverty in class terms. For Bourdieu, social capital is like any other form of capital in that it represents investments which have expected returns. The rediscovery of 'the social' through the proliferation of the concept of social capital has, therefore, allowed a very important set of issues to get onto an agenda previously confined to economic issues.