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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“My mother belonged to Hadassah and went to meetings every week. My dad
was active in Rotary and bowled in a league. I've not done any of those things as
an adult, and I've often felt guilty about it. I thought it was just me, but after reading
Some types of social capital, like a Parent-Teacher Association, are formally
organized, with incorporation papers, regular meetings, a written constitution,
and connection to a national federation, whereas others, like a pickup basketball
... transparent. Is life in communities as we enter the twenty-first century really so
different after all from the reality of American communities in the 1950s and
1960s? One way of curbing nostalgia is to count things. Are club meetings really
... working for political parties and other political organizations, discussing politics
with our neighbors, attending public meetings, joining in election campaigns,
wearing buttons, signing petitions, speaking out on talk radio, and many more.
Compared to demographically matched nonvoters, voters are more likely to be
interested in politics, to give to charity, to volunteer, to serve on juries, to attend
community school board meetings, to participate in public demonstrations, and to
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