Once we bowled in leagues, usually after work -- but no longer. This seemingly small phenomenon symbolizes a significant social change that Robert Putnam has identified in this brilliant volume, Bowling Alone, which The Economist hailed as "a prodigious achievement."
Drawing on vast new data that reveal Americans' changing behavior, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures -- whether they be PTA, church, or political parties -- have disintegrated. Until the publication of this groundbreaking work, no one had so deftly diagnosed the harm that these broken bonds have wreaked on our physical and civic health, nor had anyone exalted their fundamental power in creating a society that is happy, healthy, and safe.
Like defining works from the past, such as The Lonely Crowd and The Affluent Society, and like the works of C. Wright Mills and Betty Friedan, Putnam's Bowling Alone has identified a central crisis at the heart of our society and suggests what we can do.
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[Putnam] lays out with considerable precision and far more subtlety than he has
yet been given credit for, the trends in civic engagement and social capital in all
aspects of life.” —James Davison Hunter, The Weekly Standard “A powerful ...
The decline of union membership, another important trend identified in the book,
has also accelerated since the first edition of Bowling Alone. ... few readers
remember that exception to the otherwise downward trends the book described.
The nature of trends in informal social connections remains hotly contested.15 A
great debate between Miller McPherson, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Matthew E.
Brashears (who reported a decline in close personal ties between 1985 and
Thus my latest and fullest interpretation of why social capital has been declining
over the past half century looks at the interplay among all of these trends—
through both their upswing and their downward slide. I therefore encourage
The nationwide introduction of “motor voter” registration, on which states have
collectively spent $100 million to try to swell the ranks of new voters, is merely the
most visible example of this trend. Turnout has declined despite the fact that the ...
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - JosephKing6602 - LibraryThing
Amazing use of archival data and formal US survey information. I read the edition published in 2000; I wish it were being updates for 2020. Very timely issues about civic engagement. Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - jonerthon - LibraryThing
Probably the last of the older titles that has been on my reading list too long. Though it is dated in some ways, I was glad to finally get through this one and understand why so many planners have ... Read full review