In this paper we outline some key aspects of the relationship between ethnicity and social capital in contemporary British society. This is a question that has begun to attract a good deal of attention in recent times, particularly in the context of public debate about the changing position of ethnic minority groups and migrant communities within an increasingly multicultural society. We begin by looking at the ways in which the relationship between ethnicity and social capital has been conceptualised. We then explore the ways that the notion of social capital has begun to shape policy debates about ethnicity and families. In doing so we seek to highlight the limitations of existing accounts and the kinds of questions that need to be addressed in conceptual and empirical research.