Robert Putnam

Social Capital guru; Communitarian?


Barkley Rosser says: He is the great advocate of social capital, but he is the great advocate of the idea of membership in civic organizations as its measure and deepest reality, not generalized trust, although the question of generalized social capital, the “bridging” variety to use his terminology from Bowling Alone, versus the narrow “bonding” social capital that occurs within narrow groups, ethnic or mafia or whatever, is very crucial. He wants the bridging kind.

comment from MargieMacWilliams via email: I read Mr. Putnam's article in Time magazine with a great deal of interest. I simply would like to say that I believe a big part of the isolation of Americans stems from the malls and the loss of the "town". We still live in towns, but we have lost our communities. I can remember when every town had a Grocery Store, Hardware Store, clothing stores, a couple gas stations, dry cleaners, and a five-and-dime--all privately owned (Small Retail). This has been destroyed by the monopolies and huge mega businesses with which no one else can compete. We used to see our neighbors in these stores and we felt like we belonged to a community. That is gone.

Notes from Bowling Alone

Way too long a book, but is nicely organized. I'll fill in some notes on the chapters I read.

Section 1, Chapter 1 - Thinking about Social Change in America

Section 2 - Trends in Civic Engagement and Social Capital

Chapter 2 Political Participation (Political Engagement)

Chapter 3 Civic Participation

Chapter 4 Religious Participation

Chapter 5 Connections in the Workplace

Chapter 6 Informal Social Connections

Chapter 7 Altruim, Volunteering, and Philanthropy

Chapter 8 Reciprocity (Tit For Tat), Honesty, and Trust

Chapter 9 Against the Tide? Small Groups, Social Movements, and the Net (Virtual Community)

Section 3 - Why (is Social Capital declining)?

Chapter 10 - Introduction

Chaper 11 - Pressures of Time and Money (Two Income Family)

Chapter 12 - Mobility and Sprawl

Chapter 13 - Technology and Mass Media

Chapter 14 - From Generation to Generation

Chapter 15 - What Killed Civic Engagement? Summing Up.

Section 4 - So What?

Chapter 16 - Introduction

Chapter 17 - Education and Children's Welfare

Chapter 18 - Safe and Productive Neighborhoods

Chapter 19 - Economic Prosperity

Chapter 20 - Health and Happiness

Chapter 21 - Democracy

Chapter 22 - The Dark Side of Social Capital

Section 5 - What is To be Done?

Chapter 23 - Lessons of History: The Gilded Age and the Progressive Era

Chapter 24 - Toward and Agenda for Social Capitalists


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