Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society

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Robert D. Putnam
Oxford University Press, Aug 15, 2002 - Political Science - 516 pages
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In his national bestseller Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam illuminated the decline of social capital in the US. Now, in Democracies in Flux, Putnam brings together a group of leading scholars who broaden his findings as they examine the state of social capital in eight advanced democracies around the world.The book is packed with many intriguing revelations. The contributors note, for instance, that waning participation in unions, churches, and political parties seems to be virtually universal, a troubling discovery as these forms of social capital are especially important for empowering less educated, less affluent portions of the population. Indeed, in general, the researchers found more social grouping among the affluent than among the working classes and they find evidence of a younger generation that is singularly uninterested in politics, distrustful both of politicians and of others, cynical about public affairs, and less inclined to participate in enduring social organizations. On the bright side, social capital appears as strong as ever in Sweden, where 40% of the adult population participate in "study circles"--small groups who meet weekly for educational discussions.Offering a panoramic look at social capital around the world, this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of these phenomena.
  

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Contents

1 GREAT BRITAIN
21
2 UNITED STATES
59
3 UNITED STATES
103
4 FRANCE
137
5 A DECLINE OF SOCIAL CAPITAL?
189
6 FROM CIVIL WAR TO CIVIL SOCIETY
245
7 SWEDEN
289
8 AUSTRALIA
333
9 BROADENING THE BASIS OF SOCIAL CAPITAL IN JAPAN
359
CONCLUSION
393
NOTES
417
CONTRIBUTORS
493
INDEX
497
Copyright

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Social Capital
David Halpern
Limited preview - 2005
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About the author (2002)


Robert D. Putnam is Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University. The founder of the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement, he is the author of the bestselling Bowling Alone, which has been hailed as "powerful" (Wall Street Journal), "a remarkable achievement" (Los Angeles Times), and "wide ranging...luminous...unpretentious and frequently funny" (The Economist).

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