Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

Article excerpt

Bowling Alone:

The Collapse and Revival of American Community Robert D. Putnam (2000) New York: Simon & Schuster Robert Putnam argues that the time has come "to reweave the fabric of our communities."

Evidence shows, Putnam says, that fewer and fewer

contemporary Americans are unionizing, voting, rallying around shared causes, participating in religious services, inviting each other over, or doing much of anything collectively. In fact, when we do occasionally gather-for twelve-step support encounters and the like-it's most often only as an excuse to focus on ourselves in the presence of an audience. Supper eaten with friends or family has given way to supper gobbled in solitude, with only the glow of the television screen for companionship.

In Putnam's view-and according to his research-- our growing atomization in fact poses a grave threat to the nation's welfare. Just as we rely on financial capital, labor, and natural resources for the smooth functioning of our democracy, he contends, so too do we rely on "social capital" to foster cooperation, trust, and a sense of shared stewardship of the common good. …

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