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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It wasn't so much that old members dropped out—at least not any more rapidly
than age and the accidents of life had always meant. But community
organizations were no longer continuously revitalized, as they had been in the
Debates about the waxing and waning of “community” have been endemic for at
least two centuries. “Declensionist narratives”—postmodernist jargon for tales of
decline and fall—have a long pedigree in our letters. We seem perennially ...
Nevertheless, my argument is, at least in appearance, in the declensionist
tradition, so it is important to avoid simple nostalgia. Precisely because the theme
of this book might lend itself to gauzy self-deception, our methods must be
A century ago, it turnsout, Americans faced social and political issues that were
strikingly similar to those that we must now address. From our predecessors'
responses, we have much to learn—not least that civic decay like that around ...
From the earliest opinion polls in the 1940s to the mid-1970s, younger people
were at least as well informed as their elders were, but that is no longer the case.
This news and information gap, affecting not just politics, but even things like ...
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