Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Aug 7, 2001 - History - 541 pages
Once we bowled in leagues, usually after work; but no longer. This seemingly small phenomenon symbolizes a significant social change. Drawing on surveys on Americans' changing behavior over the past twenty-five years, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and social structures, whether the PTA, church, recreation clubs, political parties, or bowling leagues. Our shrinking access to the "social capital" that is the reward of communal activity and community sharing is a serious threat to our civic and personal health. 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, other measures of neighborhood quality of life, and health. America has faced this crisis before. At the turn of the last century, social capital was at low ebb, reduced by urbanization, industrialization, and vast immigration that uprooted Americans from their friends, social institutions, and families. Faced with this challenge, the country righted itself. Within a few decades, a range of organizations was created, from the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, and YWCA to Hadassah and the Knights of Columbus and the Urban League and social capital was rebuilt. Putnam calls on Americans to start the process again.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4
4 stars
3
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
2

LibraryThing Review

User 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

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bkinetic - LibraryThing

The data Putnam collected and analyzed represents a major achievement. Yet, after doing all that hard work he failed to go very far down some paths his data showed him. For example, more Americans are ... Read full review

Contents

CONTENTS THINKING ABOUT SOCIAL CHANGE IN AMERICA
15
TRENDs IN CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND SOCIAL CAPITAL
29
Civic Participation
48
Religious Participation
65
Connections in the Workplace
80
Informal Social Connections
93
Altruism Volunteering and Philanthropy
116
Reciprocity Honesty and Trust
134
Education and Childrens Welfare
296
Safe and Productive Neighborhoods
307
Economic Prosperity
319
Health and Happiness
326
Democracy
336
CHAPTER 22 The Dark Side of Social Capital
350
WHAT Is TO BE DONE?
365
Lessons of History The Gilded Age and
367

Against the Tide? Small Groups Social Movements
148
WHY?
159
Introduction
183
Pressures of Time and Money
189
Mobility and Sprawl
204
Technology and Mass Media
216
From Generation to Generation
247
What Killed Civic Engagement? Summing Up
277
Introduction
287
Toward an Agenda for Social Capitalists
402
Measuring Social Change
415
Sources for Figures and Tables
425
The Rise and Fall of Civic and
437
NOTES
445
THE STORY BEHIND THIS BOOK
505
INDEX
515
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2001)

Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard. He is currently president of the American Political Science Association, fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the author of nine previous books. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. To learn more about Bowling Alone and ways to help rebuild our nation's social capital, visit the author's Web sites at www.bowlingalone.com and www.bettertogether.org

Bibliographic information