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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As boomers and their children became a larger and larger fraction of the national
electorate, the average turnout rate was inexorably driven downward.9 This
generation gap in civic engagement, as we shall see, is common in American ...
... to leave people out is to miss the whole point of the exercise. Participation in
politics is increasingly based on the checkbook, as money replaces time. While
membership in a political club was cut in half between 1967 and 1987, the
... the decline appears to have accelerated after 1985. Across the twelve separate
activities, the average decline was 10 percent between 1973–74 and 1983–84,
compared with 24 percent between 1983–84 and 1993–94. The fraction of the ...
The fraction of the American public utterly uninvolved in any of these civic
activities rose by nearly one-third over these two decades. In 1973 most
Americans engaged in at least one of these forms of civic involvement every year.
By 1994 most ...
The fraction of the public who engaged in none of these dozen forms of civic
participation rose by more than one-third over this period (from 46 percent in
1973 to 64 percent in 1994), while the band of civic activists who engaged in at
What people are saying - Write a 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
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