Bowling Alone

1570 WordsApr 11, 20067 Pages
Summary Robert Putnam's basic thesis is that there is a decline in civic engagement in urban cities. He goes on to explore different probable factors that are causing the decline in civic engagement. First off, he dichotomizes civic engagement into two categories: machers and schmoozers. Machers and schmoozers are people who engage in formal kinds of civic engagement (following politics) and informal kinds of civic engagement (hanging out with friends) respectively. Civic engagement, overall, is on the decline according to Putnam (informal activities in particular, however, are ones that Americans, on average engage in more often). This decline applies to cities because of certain urban characteristics. The city, because of our…show more content…
This relates to Putnam because he theorizes that mobility and sprawl of people can contribute to social capital's decline. However, people that are a minority (not stereotypically middle-class and white) may choose to stay within where they feel they belong. In fact, civic disengagement is liable to happen not only by moving too much, but by its exact opposite, by staying at a place way too long. It seems that any extreme of mobility or remaining can have both detrimental effects to social capital. Also, there was mention of two people of two different races, where a white person donated a kidney to a black person in Putnam's book. Residential segregation could conceivably have not made such an intimate connection between two races possible and so Putnam may need to consider the various reasons people stay with their own kind aside from a patriotic feeling so that he can come up with solutions to our waning civic engagement. Evidence Assessment Is there social capital present from an urban life? In some instances, it is present and absent in others, so what is the so-called "big picture" regarding whether or not it is present or absent overall? For evidence of the increasing presence of social capital, I will use as evidence my own personal experiences and observations. From my experience, city life can only alienate you if you let it. Putnam may be quick to blame electronic media for giving us excuses to decline social capital, or he
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