Includes bibliographical references (pages -504) and index.
"Putnam's work shows how social bonds are the most powerful predictor of life satisfaction. For example, he reports that getting married is the equivalent of quadrupling your income and attending a club meeting regularly is the equivalent of doubling your income. The loss of social capital is felt in critical ways: Communities with less social capital have lower educational performance and more teen pregnancy, child suicide, low birth weight, and prenatal mortality. Social capital is also a strong predictor of crime rates and other measures of neighborhood quality of life, as it is of our health: In quantitative terms, if you both smoke and belong to no groups, it's a close call as to which is the riskier behavior."--BOOK JACKET.
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 (read more)
Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. A leading humanist and a renowned scientist, he has consulted for the last four U.S. Presidents. He has written fourteen books including Better Together: Restoring the American Community, Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society, and Our Kids: The American (read more)
Chapter One: Thinking about Social Change in America No one is left from the Glenn Valley, Pennsylvania, Bridge Club who can tell us precisely when or why the group broke up, even though its forty-odd members were still playing regularly as recently as 1990, just as they had done for more than half a century. The shock in the Little Rock, Arkansas, Sertoma club, however, is still painful: in the mid-1980s, nearly fifty people had attended the weekly luncheon to plan activities to help the hearing- and speech-impaired, but a decade later only seven regulars continued to show up. The Roanoke,...
Putnam laments the decline in the kind of informal social institutions--bridge clubs, bowling leagues, charity leagues, etc.--that were once the glue for many American communities. In a detailed, well-documented book, he examines how Americans have expended their "social capital," the good will and social intercourse that constitute basic neighborliness, to such an (read more)
December 1, 2000
According to Putnam, people participated to a considerable degree in various public and private groups well into the 1960s, but since then such participation, referred to as "social capital" because of its potential benefits, has declined. The author devotes eight of the book's 24 chapters to an attempt to provide evidence for reduced participation in political (read more)