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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A great many older Americans wrote to share their personal experience of
community decline and disengagement. They related their nostalgia for a bygone
America that the data in Bowling Alone had captured. “That's exactly how I
In fact, the lion's share of sales have been due to its inclusion as supplementary
reading on the syllabi of college courses. Ironically, even though the book has
been controversial among sociologists, they have assigned it overwhelmingly in
We apparently share this nostalgic predilection with the rest of humanity. As
sociologist Barry Wellman observes, It is likely that pundits have worried about
the impact of social change on communities ever since human beings ventured ...
... important clues to what is happening. American society, like the continent on
which we live, is massive and polymorphous, and our civic engagement
historically has come in many sizes and shapes. A few of us still share plowing
chores with ...
... gardening clubor prayer group and more like the bond between two Yankees
fans on opposite coasts (or perhaps two devoted L. L. Bean catalog users): they
share some of the same interests, but they are unaware of each other's existence.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - JosephKing6602 - LibraryThing
Amazing use of archival data and formal US survey information. I read the edition published in 2000; I wish it were being updates for 2020. Very timely issues about civic engagement. Read full 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