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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I received fan mail from an incredibly diverse group—from a homemaker in
Windermere, England, to Neil Bush of Kennebunkport, Maine. I was moved by
how many readers (like a firefighter from Erie, Pennsylvania) took the time to tell
me that ...
NO ONE IS LEFT from the Glenn Valley, Pennsylvania, Bridge Club who can tell
us precisely when or why the group broke up, even though its forty-odd members
were still playing regularly as recently as 1990, just as they had done for more ...
Roger Whittlesey, TMHS band director, recalled that twenty years earlier the
band numbered more than eighty, but participation had waned ever since.2
Somehow in the last several decades of the twentieth century all these
community groups ...
Your extended family represents a form of social capital, as do your Sunday
school class, the regulars who play poker on your commuter train, your college
roommates, the civic organizations to which you belong, the Internet chat group
Examples of bonding social capital include ethnic fraternal organizations, church-
based women's reading groups, and fashionable country clubs. Other networks
are outward looking and encompass people across diverse social cleavages.
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