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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6 Even the simplest political act, voting, was becoming ever more common. From
1920, when women got the vote, through 1960, turnout in presidential elections
had risen at the rate of 1.6 percent every four years, so on a simple straight-line ...
Of baby boomers interviewed in 1987, 53 percent thought their parents'
generation was better in terms of “being a concerned citizen, involved in helping
others in the community,” as compared with only 21 percent who thought their
Strikingly, the dropout rate from these campaign activities (about 50 percent) is
even greater than the dropout rate in the voting booth itself (25 percent). The new
evidence also includes a much more demanding measure of political ...
The fraction of the public who engaged in none of these dozen forms of civic
participation rose by more than one-third over this period (from 46 percent in
1973 to 64 percent in 1994), while the band of civic activists who engaged in at
On the other hand, since the mid-1960s, the weight of the evidence suggests,
despite the rapid rise in levels of education Americans have become perhaps 10
–15 percent less likely to voice our views publicly by running for office or writing ...
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