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Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

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  1. The decline of Americans participation and socialising
  2. Putnam's theory of Social Capital
  3. The explanations: What killed civic engagement?
    1. The breakdown of the traditional family
    2. Race and the white flag
    3. Big government and growth of the social welfare state: crowding out private initiative
    4. Big business, capitalism and the market

Putnam is observing the decline of organization membership since the 1970s, with a sharp fall in the 1990s. Old volunteers are dying, and kids are not joining. He proves the decline of participation and trust in the American society by using polls. He concludes that social capital increased between 1947 and 1965 and decreased between 1965 and 1998. But he tries to avoid a 'Declensionist' perspective, by reminding that the 1960s was not a golden age. 'Life was straight, Christian, comfortable, and at least in the public sphere, male'.

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