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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Most, it turns out, have held up reasonably well.3 One of the central arguments of
the book is that both civic engagement and organizational involvement
experienced marked declines during the second half of the twentieth century.4
Bowling Alone looked specifically at the second half of the twentieth century and
saw mostly declines in measures of social capital. But it ignored the equally
important first half of the century, when, as I discovered, almost all of the
measures I ...
Roger Whittlesey, TMHS band director, recalled that twenty years earlier the
band numbered more than eighty, but participation had waned ever since.2
Somehow in the last several decades of the twentieth century all these
community groups ...
... religious convention in the seventeenth century to the lyric nineteenth-century
paeans to individualism by Emerson (“Self-Reliance”), Thoreau (“Civil
Disobedience”), and Whitman (“Song of Myself”) to Sherwood Anderson's
Debates about the waxing and waning of “community” have been endemic for at
least two centuries. “Declensionist ... This ambivalence about the consequences
of large-scale changes continued well into the twentieth century. Analysts have ...
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