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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Similarly, urban gangs, NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) movements, and power
elites often exploit social capital to achieve ends that are antisocial from a wider
perspective. Indeed, it is rhetorically useful for such groups to obscure the
Examples of bridging social capital include the civil rights movement, many youth
service groups, and ecumenical religious organizations. Bonding social capital is
good for undergirding specific reciprocity and mobilizing solidarity. Dense ...
Next we examine the changing patterns of trust and altruism in America—
philanthropy, volunteering, honesty, reciprocity. Finally we turn to three apparent
counterexamples to the decline of connectedness—small groups, social
... who were free to vote.4 With the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the
1965 Voting Rights Act, millions of newly enfranchised men and women in the
South were able for the first time in the twentieth century to exercise the right to
... people to mention any local organization—not only “old-fashioned” garden
clubs and Shriners lodges with their odd hats, but also trendy upstarts, like
environmental action committees and local branches of the antiabortion
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