Robert Putnam Bowling Alone Thesis

Robert Putnam Bowling Alone Thesis-70
And his vivid ten-pin metaphor — derived from the observation that “more Americans are bowling today than ever before, but bowling in organized leagues has plummeted” — set off hand-wringing from coast to coast about America’s declining sense of community.

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While useful for analytical purposes, this bonding/bridging distinction is not an "either or" category, but is rather a "more or less" dimension.

That is, social capital can (and usually does) exist in both a bonding and a bridging forms simultaneously.

Social capital refers to "the connections among individuals' social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them." (p 19) Much like the economic concepts of physical and human capital, the social networks of social capital are thought to have value.

empirically demonstrates a drop in social capital in contemporary America, identifies the cause and consequences of this drop, and suggests ways to improve social capital in the future.

Bridging networks are good for linking to external assets and for information diffusion for the purpose of "getting ahead" of the status quo.

As Putnam put it, "bonding social capital constitutes a kind of sociological superglue, whereas bridging social capital provides a sociological WD-40" (p 23).

Authoritarian regimes discour-age civil society because civil society can form the basis of resistance to the government.

These governments instill fear and mistrust within their citizens, often turning groups and individuals against one another.

Many political scientists regard social capital as essential to democracy because social capital forges bonds between members of the community.

These bonds enable people to readily join together.


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