Bowling Alone: Revised and Updated: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

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Simon and Schuster, Oct 13, 2020 - History - 592 pages
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Updated to include a new chapter about the influence of social media and the Internet—the 20th anniversary edition of Bowling Alone remains a seminal work of social analysis, and its examination of what happened to our sense of community remains more relevant than ever in today’s fractured America.

Twenty years, ago, Robert D. Putnam made a seemingly simple observation: once we bowled in leagues, usually after work; but no longer. This seemingly small phenomenon symbolized a significant social change that became the basis of the acclaimed bestseller, Bowling Alone, which The Washington Post called “a very important book” and Putnam, “the de Tocqueville of our generation.”

Bowling Alone surveyed in detail Americans’ changing behavior over the decades, showing how we had become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and social structures, whether it’s with the PTA, church, clubs, political parties, or bowling leagues. In the revised edition of his classic work, Putnam shows how our shrinking access to the “social capital” that is the reward of communal activity and community sharing still poses a serious threat to our civic and personal health, and how these consequences have a new resonance for our divided country today. He includes critical new material on the pervasive influence of social media and the internet, which has introduced previously unthinkable opportunities for social connection—as well as unprecedented levels of alienation and isolation.

At the time of its publication, Putnam’s then-groundbreaking work showed how social bonds are the most powerful predictor of life satisfaction, and how the loss of social capital is felt in critical ways, acting as a strong predictor of crime rates and other measures of neighborhood quality of life, and affecting our health in other ways. While the ways in which we connect, or become disconnected, have changed over the decades, his central argument remains as powerful and urgent as ever: mending our frayed social capital is key to preserving the very fabric of our society.
 

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Contents

preface
1
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
Education and Childrens Welfare
296
Safe and Productive Neighborhoods
307
Economic Prosperity
319
Health and Happiness
326
Democracy
336
The Dark Side of Social Capital
350
What Is to Be Done?
365
Toward an Agenda for Social Capitalists
402

Reciprocity Honesty and Trust
134
Against the Tide? Small Groups Social Movements and the Net
148
Why?
183
Mobility and Sprawl
204
Technology and Mass Media
216
From Generation to Generation
247
What Killed Civic Engagement? Summing Up
277
So What? with the assistance of Kristin A Goss
285
Has the Internet Reversed the Decline
415
Measuring Social Change
447
Sources for Figures and Tables
457
The Rise and Fall of Civic and
469
notes
477
the story behind this book
545
index
555
Copyright

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About the author (2020)

Robert D. Putnam is the Malkin Research Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and a former Dean of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. Nationally honored as a leading humanist and a renowned scientist, he has written fourteen books, including the bestselling Our Kids and Bowling Alone, and has consulted for the last four US Presidents. In 2012, President Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal, the nation’s highest honor for contributions to the humanities. His research program, the Saguaro Seminar, is dedicated to fostering civic engagement in America. Visit RobertDPutnam.com.

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