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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Robert Putnam’s 2000 book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, in which he documents the decline in civic engagement, social connectedness and social capital, and sense of community among Americans. Putnam illustrates the devastating effects of these trends for America and Americans by focusing on five “illustrative” fields: child welfare and education, public safety and neighborhood organization, labor- market outcomes and economic performance, health and happiness, and democracy and democracy values. The chapter explains what social capital is and how it works before concluding with an assessment of several areas where scholars have fruitfully engaged or challenged Putnam’s theoretical contribution.

Keywords: Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone, civic engagement, social connectedness, sense of community, America, child welfare, labor market, democracy, social capital

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