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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... is that both civic engagement and organizational involvement experienced
marked declines during the second half of the ... fewer and fewer Americans are
socializing through membership organizations.5 The decline in church
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 your book I now know that it's the whole
country.” For the great mainline civic and religious organizations that dominated ...
But community organizations were no longer continuously revitalized, as they
had been in the past, by freshets of new members. Organizational leaders were
flummoxed. For years they assumed that their problem must have local roots or at
... who play poker on your commuter train, your college roommates, the civic
organizations to which you belong, the Internet chat group in which you
participate, and the network of professional acquaintances recorded in your
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