Robert Putnam Bowling Alone Thesis

Robert Putnam Bowling Alone Thesis-90
And his vivid ten-pin metaphor — derived from the observation that “more Americans are bowling today than ever before, but bowling in organized leagues has plummeted” — set off hand-wringing from coast to coast about America’s declining sense of community.Social capital is the mutual trust and cooperation that arises from the web of connections among people involved in organizations and community groups.New democracies sometimes have trouble building community trust and tolerance because their citizens are not used to working together in civil society.

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Social capital refers to "the connections among individuals' social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them." (p 19) Much like the economic concepts of physical and human capital, the social networks of social capital are thought to have value.

empirically demonstrates a drop in social capital in contemporary America, identifies the cause and consequences of this drop, and suggests ways to improve social capital in the future.

In a civil society, social capital flows easily between people.

Activities that can build social capital include the following: Bowling Alone Robert Putnam’s successful book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2001) put the issue of social capital into the context of popular culture.

Putnam noticed that bowling leagues had declined significantly in the last few decades of the twentieth century.

People still bowled, but as individuals and informal groups, not as part of a league.

For example: a black church may bond individuals based on race and religious belief, but bridge individuals across class lines.

Having described what social capital is, Putnam turns his attention to how it has changed over time by conducting a meta-analysis of a large body of data from various sources.

ever put to the test Andy Warhol’s famous thesis that everyone is accorded 15 minutes of fame, it is Robert D. A former dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, Putnam is an expert on international diplomacy and comparative politics.

Though well respected for works such as his 1993 book , Putnam was little known outside of the academy prior to his 1995 article “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital.” The 13-page paper — presented at an obscure conference in Uppsala, Sweden, and published in the equally obscure – seemed an unlikely path to stardom.


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