Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community
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, 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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The membership rolls of such associations across the twentieth century reveal a
strikingly parallel pattern across many different civic associations . This pattern is
summarized in figure 8 , which is a composite of the changing membership rates
would become extinct in America within less than twenty years . ... several
decades of the twentieth century is as striking and persuasive as if southwestern
tree rings and Arctic ice cores and British Admiralty records all confirmed the
same rate ...
Essentially , the trends toward civic disengagement reviewed in section II of this
book register the decay of that very structure over the last third of the twentieth
century . Still , in human affairs it is no small feat to create a set of institutions that
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