New York ; London : Simon & Schuster, 2000
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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 and describes in this brilliant volume, "Bowling Alone."
Drawing on vast new data from the Roper Social and Political Trends and the DDB Needham Life Style -- surveys that report in detail on Americans' changing behavior (read more)
Robert D. Putnam
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)
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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...
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)
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)
Very interesting and important, but too long and dry.
Review by bederson
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.
Review by JosephKing6602
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