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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In the afterword to this edition of Bowling Alone, Jonah Hahn and I explore in
detail the latest evidence on the effects of the Internet and social media on social
capital. In the end, the most debatable aspect of Bowling Alone was perhaps not
... of a treacly sweet, “kumbaya” interpretation of social capital.17 Networks and
the associated norms of reciprocity are generally good for those inside the
network, but the external effects of social capital are by no means always positive
Bonding social capital, by creating strong in-group loyalty, may also create strong
out-group antagonism, as Thomas Greene and his neighbors in New Bedford
knew, and for that reason we might expect negative external effects to be more ...
In some cases the effect was a brief pause in ebullient growth, but in others the
reversal was extraordinary. ... This period of history underlines the effects of acute
economic distress on civic engagement, a topic to which we shall return in ...
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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
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - ddonahue - LibraryThing
The present withdrawal of the individual from social organizations now resembles the situation after WW I as depicted in Chapter IX of Eckstein's Rites of Spring, in which he describes veteran's eschewal of social commitments. Read full review