Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society

By Robert D. Putnam | Go to book overview

CONCLUSION
ROBERT D. PUTNAM

In knitting together this quiltlike collection, I begin by summarizing the individual national analyses, highlighting both commonalities in the descriptions each author provides of his or her country and the differences in their theoretical perspectives. In the second half of this chapter I summarize some general themes—and questions—that emerge from our collaborative effort.


NATIONAL PATTERNS

Britain

Peter Hall discusses trends in a wide array of indicators of social capital in Britain. Membership in voluntary associations, he concludes, has been roughly stable since the 1950s, rising in the 1960s and subsiding only modestly since then. While some types of association have faded in importance in recent decades (traditional women's groups, unions, churches, and political parties), others (especially environmental organizations and charitable organizations) have expanded, so that the voluntary sector in Britain remains vibrant. Informal sociability also appears about as intense in the 1990s as in the 1950s, although perhaps slightly less than in the 1960s and 1970s. Rates of political interest and participa-

-393-

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Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Democracies in Flux 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - The Role of Government and the Distribution of Social Capital 21
  • 2 - Bridging the Privileged and the Marginalized? 59
  • 3 - From Membership to Advocacy 103
  • 4 - Old and New Civic and Social Ties in France 137
  • 5 - The German Case 189
  • 6 - Social Capital in Spain from the 1930s to the 1990s 245
  • 7 - Social Capital in the Social Democratic State 289
  • 8 - Making the Lucky Country 333
  • 9 - Broadening the Basis of Social Capital in Japan 359
  • Conclusion 393
  • Notes 417
  • Contributors 493
  • Index 497
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