The Collapse And Revival Of American Community By Robert Putnam

1382 Words6 Pages
In his famous book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Robert Putnam charted the decline in social capital and social institutions since the 1950s while arguing that a vibrant and successful democracy ultimately requires significant engagement from a wide segment of its population. This argument was something that even concerned Tocqueville (2006) regarding the American Experiment. Tocqueville marveled in the strengths of organizations such as the church in America. However, he also warned that the importance of individualism within American society could serve as its own downfall. This is the case that Putnam makes in his book. American life has always been seen as a vibrant community with significant social engagement; however, the trends seem to be reversing. Putnam (2000) describes in detail the decline in participation in civic organizations such as religious groups, the Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, and social groups such as fraternal organizations and bowling leagues. Indeed, the title of the book comes from the reality that while the number of people who bowl has increased by 20 percent, the number of people who participate in bowling leagues has significantly declined. The overarching argument here is that people who refrain from participating in social interaction serves as a disservice to the country and hurts the American Dream by removing the protection of interconnection. Putnam (2000) also details the concerning decrease in
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