Home | Reviews | Blog | Daily | Glossary | Orrin's Stuff | Email

In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used or applied to a greater multitude of objects than in America. Besides the permanent associations which are established by law under the names of townships, cities, and counties, a vast number of others are formed and maintained by the agency of private individuals.

The citizen of the United States is taught from infancy to rely upon his own exertions in order to resist the evils and the difficulties of life; he looks upon the social authority with an eye of mistrust and anxiety, and he claims its assistance only when he is unable to do without it. This habit may be traced even in the schools, where the children in their games are wont to submit to rules which they have themselves established, and to punish misdemeanors which they have themselves defined. The same spirit pervades every act of social life. If a stoppage occurs in a thoroughfare and the circulation of vehicles is hindered, the neighbors immediately form themselves into a deliberative body; and this extemporaneous assembly gives rise to an executive power which remedies the inconvenience before anybody has thought of recurring to a pre-existing authority superior to that of the persons immediately concerned. If some public pleasure is concerned, an association is formed to give more splendor and regularity to the entertainment. Societies are formed to resist evils that are exclusively of a moral nature, as to diminish the vice of intemperance. In the United States associations are established to promote the public safety, commerce, industry, morality, and religion. There is no end which the human will despairs of attaining through the combined power of individuals united into a society.
    -Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
In recent years social scientists have framed concerns about the changing character of American society in terms of the concept of "social capital." By analogy with notions of physical capital and human capital--tools and training that enhance individual productivity - the core idea of social capital theory is that social networks have value. Just as a screwdriver (physical capital) or a college education (human capital) can increase productivity (both individual and collective), so too social contacts affect the productivity of individuals and groups. Whereas physical capital refers to physical objects and human capital refers to properties of individuals, social capital refers to connections among individuals--social networks and the norms of reciprocity and trustworthiness that arise from them. In that sense social capital is closely related to what some have called "civic virtue." The difference is that "social capital" calls attention to the fact that civic virtue is most powerful when embedded in a dense network of reciprocal social relations. A society of many virtuous but isolated individuals is not necessarily rich in social capital.
    -Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone

In 1995, Robert D. Putnam wrote an essay for the Journal of Democracy that caused an unprecedented sensation, Bowling Alone (Journal of Democracy, Jan 1995):
Many students of the new democracies that have emerged over the past decade and a half have emphasized the importance of a strong and active civil society to the consolidation of democracy. Especially with regard to the postcommunist countries, scholars and democratic activists alike have lamented the absence or obliteration of traditions of independent civic engagement and a widespread tendency toward passive reliance on the state. To those concerned with the weakness of civil societies in the developing or postcommunist world, the advanced Western democracies and above all the United States have typically been taken as models to be emulated. There is striking evidence, however, that the vibrancy of American civil society has notably declined over the past several decades.

Ever since the publication of Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, the United States has played a central role in systematic studies of the links between democracy and civil society. Although this is in part because trends in American life are often regarded as harbingers of social modernization, it is also because America has traditionally been considered unusually "civic" (a reputation that, as we shall later see, has not been entirely unjustified).

When Tocqueville visited the United States in the 1830s, it was the Americans' propensity for civic association that most impressed him as the key to their unprecedented ability to make democracy work. "Americans of all ages, all stations in life, and all types of disposition," he observed, "are forever forming associations. There are not only commercial and industrial associations in which all take part, but others of a thousand different types--religious, moral, serious, futile, very general and very limited, immensely large and very minute. . . . Nothing, in my view, deserves more attention than the intellectual and moral associations in America."

Recently, American social scientists of a neo-Tocquevillean bent have unearthed a wide range of empirical evidence that the quality of public life and the performance of social institutions (and not only in America) are indeed powerfully influenced by norms and networks of civic engagement. Researchers in such fields as education, urban poverty, unemployment, the control of crime and drug abuse, and even health have discovered that successful outcomes are more likely in civically engaged communities. Similarly, research on the varying economic attainments of different ethnic groups in the United States has demonstrated the importance of social bonds within each group. These results are consistent with research in a wide range of settings that demonstrates the vital importance of social networks for job placement and many other economic outcomes.

Meanwhile, a seemingly unrelated body of research on the sociology of economic development has also focused attention on the role of social networks. Some of this work is situated in the developing countries, and some of it elucidates the peculiarly successful "network capitalism" of East Asia. Even in less exotic Western economies, however, researchers have discovered highly efficient, highly flexible "industrial districts" based on networks of collaboration among workers and small entrepreneurs. Far from being paleoindustrial anachronisms, these dense interpersonal and interorganizational networks undergird ultramodern industries, from the high tech of Silicon Valley to the high fashion of Benetton.

The norms and networks of civic engagement also powerfully affect the performance of representative government. That, at least, was the central conclusion of my own 20-year, quasi-experimental study of subnational governments in different regions of Italy. Although all these regional governments seemed identical on paper, their levels of effectiveness varied dramatically. Systematic inquiry showed that the quality of governance was determined by longstanding traditions of civic engagement (or its absence). Voter turnout, newspaper readership, membership in choral societies and football clubs--these were the hallmarks of a successful region. In fact, historical analysis suggested that these networks of organized reciprocity and civic solidarity, far from being an epiphenomenon of socioeconomic modernization, were a precondition for it.

No doubt the mechanisms through which civic engagement and social connectedness produce such results--better schools, faster economic development, lower crime, and more effective government--are multiple and complex. While these briefly recounted findings require further confirmation and perhaps qualification, the parallels across hundreds of empirical studies in a dozen disparate disciplines and subfields are striking. Social scientists in several fields have recently suggested a common framework for understanding these phenomena, a framework that rests on the concept of social capital. 4 By analogy with notions of physical capital and human capital--tools and training that enhance individual productivity--"social capital" refers to features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit.

For a variety of reasons, life is easier in a community blessed with a substantial stock of social capital. In the first place, networks of civic engagement foster sturdy norms of generalized reciprocity and encourage the emergence of social trust. Such networks facilitate coordination and communication, amplify reputations, and thus allow dilemmas of collective action to be resolved. When economic and political negotiation is embedded in dense networks of social interaction, incentives for opportunism are reduced. At the same time, networks of civic engagement embody past success at collaboration, which can serve as a cultural template for future collaboration. Finally, dense networks of interaction probably broaden the participants' sense of self, developing the "I" into the "we," or (in the language of rational-choice theorists) enhancing the participants' "taste" for collective benefits.

The easily understood metaphor (of an American citizenry bowling alone, rather than in leagues), the attack on "progressivism" coming from leftwards rather than Right, and the visceral feeling one has on reading Mr. Putnam's argument that he's explaining something we all know to be true and that we're losing something in our society that we'd rather keep, combined to create a rare social sciences article that was accessible and of interest to the general public and that had to be refuted by the Left. even as it was seized upon by conservatives. A few years later, Mr. Putnam followed up with this book-length treatment of his topic, which seeks to shore up his original case, against those critics who sought to minimize or even deny the decline of social capital. The result is rather less readable for the laymen and seems unlikely to satisfy his opponents, while those who bought his thesis in the first place will not need this much more ammunition. Meanwhile, the more important critique of Mr. Putnam's work, I think, comes from his seeming allies on the Right than from his putative liberal opposition.

Mr. Putnam may or may not consider himself a communitarian, it's sometimes hard to figure out who is and who isn't, but his analysis is certainly consistent with that of the Communitarians and has both its strengths and its weaknesses. First, here's a definition of Communitarianism:
Modern-day communitarianism began in the upper reaches of Anglo-American academia in the form of a critical reaction to John Rawls landmark 1971 book A Theory of Justice. Drawing primarily upon the insights of Aristotle and Hegel, political philosophers such as Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Sandel, Charles Taylor and Michael Walzer disputed Rawls assumption that the principal task of government is to secure and distribute fairly the liberties and economic resources individuals need to lead freely chosen lives. These critics of liberal theory never did identify themselves with the communitarian movement (the communitarian label was pinned on them by others, usually critics), much less offer a grand communitarian theory as a systematic alternative to liberalism. Nonetheless, certain core arguments meant to contrast with liberalisms devaluation of community recur in the works of the four theorists named above, and for purposes of clarity one can distinguish between claims of three sorts: methodological claims about the importance of tradition and social context for moral and political reasoning, ontological or metaphysical claims about the social nature of the self, and normative claims about the value of community.
Now, it's all to the good for folks, especially liberals, to oppose John Rawls, but the great frustration of communitarianism, at least from a conservative perspective, is that it seems to focus almost exclusively on the effects of Rawlsianism and other philosophies that government action at the expense of community and that tend to atomize society into mere individuals who relate only to the State. Unfortunately, perhaps because most of the communitarians are traditional liberals, they seem disinclined to go after the causes of community breakdown in any systematic and serious way. The problem, or so it would appear, is that they can not bring themselves to join conservatives in opposition to government itself.

That government is a significant--and I would argue the most significant--part of the problem is apparent just from the fact that the rise of the Welfare State precisely paralleled the breakdown of family and community and by looking at a few of the specific ways that we're all agreed it impacted social capital. Changes to the regime of laws that govern American life made divorce easier to obtain, legalized abortion, and created various new "family" arrangements. Government public works, welfare, and social programs encouraged poor women with children not to marry; made it possible for the elderly to live on their own or in nursing homes, rather than remaining in an extended family under one roof; undermined parental authority and traditional morality by banning prayer and the Pledge from schools while adding things like sex education, evolution, and the like; destroyed physical communities by building public housing projects and highways (which also put individuals into cars as opposed to groups in public transportation); made voluntary associations and fraternal orders and other groups less desirable by imposing diversity upon them; etc.; etc.; etc. The growth of the federal government has rendered a beast so large that few citizens can comprehend it in its entirety, never mind see how they might influence it, and it has assumed many of the roles that were formerly fulfilled by states, counties, towns, and communities, thereby distancing the citizenry from such services unless they are receiving them. The fact of government welfare makes it less necessary for private social services organizations to exist and the fact that our taxes are used to fund the government programs makes it easy to justify to ourselves not also giving to charity, or, more importantly, not donating our time to them. And rising taxes have made it necessary for many households to depend on two wage-earners, where formerly one sufficed. But when it comes time to consider root causes, Mr. Putnam writes:
Circumstantial evidence, particularly the timing of the downturn in social connectedness, has suggested to some observers that an important cause--perhaps even the cause--of civic disengagement is big government and the growth of the welfare state. By 'crowding out' private initiative, it is argued, state intervention has subverted civil society. This is a much larger topic than I can address in detail here, but a word or two is appropriate.

On the one hand, some government policies have almost certainly had the effect of destroying social capital. For example, the so-called slum clearance policies of the 1950s and 1960s replaced physical capital but destroyed social capital, by disrupting existing community ties. It is also conceivable that certain social expenditures and tax policies may have created disincentives for civic-minded philanthropy. On the other hand, it is much harder to see which government policies might be responsible for the decline in bowling leagues, family dinners, and literary clubs.
To begin with, it should be obvious from his rather strange statement that the topic which as he notes may be the cause of the problem he's studying is to large for him to address in a 500 page book. Mr. Putnam, as we can readily understand, is taking on the easier targets to his Left rather than the more substantive ones to his Right. It may be "harder to see" how big government might be responsible for the decline in bowling clubs, family dinners, and literary clubs, but the possibility deserves to be examined. And, as we've already suggested, everything from households where the only adults living there work (so that there are fewer child care options) to government led efforts to break down the homogeneity of civic organizations, may be at work. Yet Mr. Putnam, like most communitarians, appears reluctant to confront the welfare state head on.

Mr. Putnam distributes blame for the decline in social capital across a more diffuse, and pretty unsatisfactory, range of factors: pressures of time and money; mobility and sprawl; technology and mass media; and an artificially heightened engagement by the "Greatest Generation", forced on them by Depression and war, followed by disengagement on the part of the Baby Boomers and after. Much of this seems to be treating effects as causes. Do we really have less disposable time than prior generations that engaged in back-breaking labor just to subsist? Certainly Americans watch too much TV, but why do they do that instead of participate in communal and familial activities? Baby boomers need not have matched the participation levels of their parents, but why don't they match their great-grandparents?

The solutions he offers are fairly paltry too--even if mostly unobjectionable--probablly because just as he's avoided blaming government he's unwilling to take on the task of reforming it. Instead we get:
Let us find ways to ensure that by 2010 the level of civic engagement among Americans then coming of age in all parts of our society will match that of their grandparents when they were the same age, and that at the same time bridging social capital will be substantially greater than it was in their grandparents' era. [...]

Let us find ways to ensure that by 2010 America's workplace will be substantially more family-friendly and community-congenial, so that American workers will be enabled to replenish our stocks of social capital both within and outside the workplace. [...]

Let us act to ensure that by 2010 Americans will spend less time traveling and more time connecting with our neighbors than we do today, that we will live in more integrated and pedestrian-friendly areas, and that the design of our communities and the availability of public space will encourage more casual socializing with friends and neighbors. [...]

Let us spur a new, pluralistic, socially responsible "great awakening," so that by 2010 Americans will be more deeply engaged than we are today in one or another spiritual community of meaning, while at the same time becoming more tolerant of the faiths and practices of other Americans. [...]

Let us find ways to ensure that by 2010 Americans will spend less leisure time sitting passively alone in front of glowing screens and more time in active connection with our fellow citizens. Let us foster new forms of electronic entertainment and communication that reinforce community engagement rather than forestalling it. [...]

Let us find ways to ensure that by 2010 significantly more Americans will participate in (not merely consume or "appreciate") cultural activities from group dancing to songfests to community theater to rap festivals. Let us discover new ways to use the arts as a vehicle for convening diverse groups of fellow citizens. [...]

Let us find ways to ensure that by 2010 many more Americans will participate in the public life of our communities--running for office, attending public meetings, serving on committees, campaigning in elections, and even voting.
Just doesn't get the blood racing, does it? Mr. Putnam started us off by declaring that we've known since at least de Tocqueville's time that there's an intimate connection between social capital and a vibrant democracy, but that our stocks of social capital have been in decline for decades. This would suggest that democracy--the American Republic itself--is at some risk. Are these half-measures and feel good words really enough?

Let us look to Alexis de Tocqueville again, but this time at a lesser known--but in many ways more remarkable--work than even his great Democracy in America. At the very dawn of paternalistic government in the West (in 1833), de Tocqueville saw the effect it was having in England, intuited its long term effects, and issued a warning, Memoir on Pauperism (1835):
[I]ndividual alms-giving established valuable ties between the rich and the poor. The deed itself involves the giver in the fate of the one whose poverty he has undertaken to alleviate. The latter, supported by aid which he had no right to demand and which he had no hope to getting, feels inspired by gratitude. A moral tie is established between those two classes whose interests and passions so often conspire to separate them from each other, and although divided by circumstance they are willingly reconciled. This is not the case with legal charity. The latter allows the alms to persist but removes its morality. The law strips the man of wealth of a part of his surplus without consulting him, and he sees the poor man only as a greedy stranger invited by the legislator to share his wealth. The poor man, on the other hand, feels no gratitude for a benefit that no one can refuse him and that could not satisfy him in any case. Public alms guarantee life but do not make it happier or more comfortable than individual alms-giving; legal charity does not thereby eliminate wealth or poverty in society. One class still views the world with fear and loathing while the other regards its misfortune with despair and envy. Far from uniting these two rival nations, who have existed since the beginning of the world and who are called the rich and poor, into a single people, it breaks the only link which could be established between them. It ranges each one under a banner, tallies them, and, bringing them face to face, prepares them for combat.
If this is not prescient enough, here's what he forecast for us:
If all these reflections are correct, it is easy to see that the richer a nation is, the more the number of those who appeal to public charity must multiply, since two very powerful causes tend to that result. On the one hand, among these nations, the most insecure class continuously grows. On the other hand, needs infinitely expand and diversify, and the chance of being exposed to some of them becomes more frequent each day.

We should not delude ourselves. Let us look calmly and quietly on the future of modern society. We must not be intoxicated by the spectacle of its greatness; let us not be discouraged by the sight of its miseries. As long as the present movement of civilization continues, the standard of living of the greatest number will rise; society will become more perfected, better informed; existence will be easier, milder, more embellished, and longer. But at the same time we must look forward to an increase of those who will resort to the support of all their fellow men to obtain a small part of these benefits. It will be possible to moderate this double movement; special national circumstances will precipitate or suspend its course; but no one can stop it. We must discover the means of attenuating those inevitable evils that are already apparent.
Even as astute an observer as he could not foresee the particular genius of the Welfare State, which is to aggrandize power to itself by convincing the entire citizenry that it has "needs" that government is uniquely suited to fill and that everyone--rich and poor and all in between--are entitled to these benefits. But the great Albert Jay Nock, writing a hundred years later, did delineate the dangers of the then nascent New Deal in his book Our Enemy, the State (1934):
If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State. This is the fact that interests the student of civilization. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like price-fixing, wage-fixing, inflation, political banking, "agricultural adjustment," and similar items of State policy that fill the pages of newspapers and the mouths of publicists and politicians. All these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power.

It is unfortunately none too well understood that, just as the State has no money of its own, so it has no power of its own. All the power it has is what society gives it, plus what it confiscates from time to time on one pretext or another; there is no other source from which State power can be drawn. Therefore every assumption of State power, whether by gift or seizure, leaves society with so much less power. There is never, nor can there be, any strengthening of State power without a corresponding and roughly equivalent depletion of social power.

Moreover, it follows that with any exercise of State power, not only the exercise of social power in the same direction, but the disposition to exercise it in that direction, tends to dwindle. Mayor Gaynor astonished the whole of New York when he pointed out to a correspondent who had been complaining about the inefficiency of the police, that any citizen has the right to arrest a malefactor and bring him before a magistrate. "The law of England and of this country," he wrote, "has been very careful to confer no more right in that respect upon policemen and constables than it confers on every citizen." State exercise of that right through a police force had gone on so steadily that not only were citizens indisposed to exercise it, but probably not one in ten thousand knew he had it.

Heretofore in this country sudden crises of misfortune have been met by a mobilization of social power. In fact (except for certain institutional enterprises like the home for the aged, the lunatic-asylum, city-hospital and county-poorhouse) destitution, unemployment, "depression"and similar ills, have been no concern of the State, but have been relieved by the application of social power. Under Mr. Roosevelt, however, the State assumed this function, publicly announcing the doctrine, brand-new in our history, that the State owes its citizens a living. Students of politics, of course, saw in this merely an astute proposal for a prodigious enhancement of State power; merely what, as long ago as 1794, James Madison called "the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource for accumulating force in the government"; and the passage of time has proved that they were right. The effect of this upon the balance between State power and social power is clear, and also its effect of a general indoctrination with the idea that an exercise of social power upon such matters is no longer called for.

It is largely in this way that the progressive conversion of social power into State power becomes acceptable and gets itself accepted. When the Johnstown flood occurred, social power was immediately mobilized and applied with intelligence and vigour. Its abundance, measured by money alone, was so great that when everything was finally put in order, something like a million dollars remained. If such a catastrophe happened now, not only is social power perhaps too depleted for the like exercise, but the general instinct would be to let the State see to it. Not only has social power atrophied to that extent, but the disposition to exercise it in that particular direction has atrophied with it. If the State has made such matters its business, and has confiscated the social power necessary to deal with them, why, let it deal with them. We can get some kind of rough measure of this general atrophy by our own disposition when approached by a beggar. Two years ago we might have been moved to give him something; today we are moved to refer him to the State's relief-agency. The State has said to society, You are either not exercising enough power to meet the emergency, or are exercising it in what I think is an incompetent way, so I shall confiscate your power, and exercise it to suit myself. Hence when a beggar asks us for a quarter, our instinct is to say that the State has already confiscated our quarter for his benefit, and he should go to the State about it.

Every positive intervention that the State makes upon industry and commerce has a similar effect. When the State intervenes to fix wages or prices, or to prescribe the conditions of competition, it virtually tells the enterpriser that he is not exercising social power in the right way, and therefore it proposes to confiscate his power and exercise it according to the State's own judgment of what is best. Hence the enterpriser's instinct is to let the State look after the consequences. As a simple illustration of this, a manufacturer of a highly specialized type of textiles was saying to me the other day that he had kept his mill going at a loss for five years because he did not want to turn his workpeople on the street in such hard times, but now that the State had stepped in to tell him how he must run his business, the State might jolly well take the responsibility.

The process of converting social power into State power may perhaps be seen at its simplest in cases where the State's intervention is directly competitive. The accumulation of State power in various countries has been so accelerated and diversified within the last twenty years that we now see the State functioning as telegraphist, telephonist, match-peddler, radio-operator, cannon-founder, railway-builder and owner, railway-operator, wholesale and retail tobacconist, shipbuilder and owner, chief chemist, harbour-maker and dockbuilder, housebuilder, chief educator, newspaper-proprietor, food-purveyor, dealer in insurance, and so on through a long list.

It is obvious that private forms of these enterprises must tend to dwindle in proportion as the energy of the State's encroachments on them increases, for the competition of social power with State power is always disadvantaged, since the State can arrange the terms of competition to suit itself, even to the point of outlawing any exercise of social power whatever in the premises; in other words, giving itself a monopoly. Instances of this expedient are common; the one we are probably best acquainted with is the State


Grade: (B)


Robert Putnam Links:

    -Robert D. Putnam (Director, The Saguaro Seminar : Civic Engagement in America)
    -BIO: robert putnam (
    -Better Together (an initiative of the Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government)
    -BOOK SITE : Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam
    -ESSAY : Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital (Robert D. Putnam, Journal of Democracy 6:1, Jan 1995)
    -ESSAY : Bowling Together: Since September 11, Americans' trust in one another and their government has soared. To what political end? (Robert D. Putnam, The Prospect)
    -ESSAY: Walking the civic talk after Sept. 11 (Thomas H. Sander and Robert D. Putnam, February 19, 2002, CS Monitor)
    -ESSAY: Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America (Robert D. Putnam, APSA Net)
    -EXCERPT : Chapter One of Bowling Alone
    -BOOKNOTES : Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam (CSPAN)
    -ESSAY : A Better Society in a Time of War (Robert D. Putnam, October 19, 2001, NY Times)
    -RESPONSE : to A Better Society in a Time of War : Victory Gardens?! (Katha Pollitt, 11/19/01, The Nation)
    -ESSAY: The Dark Side of War-Inspired Civic Virtue (Cathy Young , 11/01/01, Boston Globe)
    -ESSAY: Bombing Alone: Robert Putnam Takes Communitarianism to Its Logical Outcome (Brian Carnell, November 5, 2001, Left Watch)
    -ESSAY : The Strange Disappearance of Civic America (Robert D. Putnam, December 1996, American Prospect)
    -RESPONSES : Unsolved Mysteries: The Tocqueville Files (Michael Schudson, Theda Skocpol, Rick Valelly, Robert D. Putnam, March 1996, American Prospect)
    -ESSAY : The Prosperous Community : Social Capital and Public Life (Robert D. Putnam, March 21, 1993, American Prospect)
    -INTERVIEW : Lonely in America: Robert Putnam argues that the time has come "to reweave the fabric of our communities" (Atlantic Monthly, September 21, 2000)
    -INTERVIEW : "BOWLING ALONE": An interview with Robert Putnam about America's collapsing civic life. (Russ Edgerton, 1995, American Association for Higher Education)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: Bowling Alone: Robert Putnam on American Community (The Connection, July 11, 2000, NPR)
    -Moving Ideas Network
    -PROFILE: Robert D. Putnam: For a Meaningful Political Science (Thomas R. Rochon, APSA Net)
    -ESSAY: SOCIAL CAPITAL: Bowling along (Andrew Leigh, 29-5-2002, Australian Policy Online)
    -ESSAY : Kicking in Groups : Just as intriguing as Robert Putnam's theory that we are "bowling alone"-- that the bonds of civic association are dissolving-- is how readily the theory has been accepted (Nicholas Lemann, April 1996, Atlantic Monthly)
    -ESSAY : Putnam's America : Critics have reflexively affirmed Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone thesis, the notion that Americans are losing their connectedness to one another. But this "social capital" is not diminishing. It's just changing. (Garry Wills, July 2000, The American Prospect)
    -ESSAY : The 'bowling alone' phenomenon is bunk (Robert Samuelson, Washington Post)
    -ESSAY: Are we still bowling alone? (Christopher Shea, 12/15/2002, Boston Globe)
    -ESSAY: 'Bowling Alone' on Screen: Notions of the Political in End of Century American Film (Brian Neve, American Political Science Association)
    -ESSAY: Diversity Causes "Bowling Alone" (Steve Sailer, V-Dare)
    -ESSAY: Groupthink Goes Bowling Alone (Michael Gilson De Lemos, The Laissez Faire City Times)
    -ARCHIVES : Articles by Robert D. Putnam (The American Prospect)
    -ARCHIVES: "robert d. putnam" (Find Articles)
    -ARCHIVES : "bowling alone" (Find Articles)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. By Robert D. Putnam (MARGARET TALBOT, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Bowling Alone (Leslie Lenkowsky, Commentary)
    -REVIEW: of Bowling Alone (Mark Chaves, Christian Century)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Benjamin R. Barber)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (John Leonard, Salon)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Curtis Gans, Washington Monthly)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (CHRISTOPHER FARRELL, Business Week)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Tamara Straus, Sonoma County Independent)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (James A. Montanye, The Independent Review)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Alan Wolfe, Harvard Magazine)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (John Atlas, Executive Director of Passaic County Legal Aid Society and President of the National Housing Institute)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (David Tuller, Blueprint for Health)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Jim Murphy, Voice of the Turtle)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Dennis Altman, Gay & Lesbian Review)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (Alison Van Rooy, Isuma)
    -REVIEW: of Bowling Alone (Cato Journal)
    -REVIEW : of Bowling Alone (ED SCHWARTZ, Center for Consensual Democracy)
    -REVIEW: of Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America. by Robert D. Putnam (Gary D. Lynn, Social Capital)
    -REVIEW: of Better Together by Robert Putnam (Seth Stern, CS Monitor)

Book-related and General Links:
    -ESSAY: Bowling Alone: How Washington Has Helped Destroy American Civil Society and Family Life (Sam Jacobs, Ammo)
    -DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA: Alexis DeTocqueville (xroads)
    -ESSAY: Society and the Crisis of Liberalism: The liberal world order has been recetnly put under a new, strong and dangerous attack-by communitarianism (Vaclav Klaus, Summer 1998, Policy)
    -ESSAY: Rights, Responsibilities, and Communitarianism (Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D.,
    -SYMPOSIUM : Rebuilding Civil Society : A Symposium (The New Democrat, volume 7, number 2 March/April 1995)
    -ESSAY : Can Congress Revive Civil Society? (Senator Dan Coats, With responses from Gertrude Himmelfarb, Don Eberly & David Boaz, Policy Review, January-February 1996)
-ESSAY : Faith Healers : Should churches take over social policy? (Jacob Hacker, June 1999, New Republic)
-ESSAY : What "W" stands for : wishy-washy or wise (Dana Milbank, April 1999, New Republic)
-ESSAY : Stupefied Democracy (William Greider, December 4, 2000, The Nation)
-ESSAY: Individuals and Community: Foundations for Democracy: a look at the writings of three political theorists (Christy Taylor)
    -REVIEW : of The New Golden Rule by Amitai Etzioni (Michael Elliott, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW : of MAKING GOOD CITIZENS : Education and Civil Society.Edited by Diane Ravitch and Joseph P. Viteritti (Gary Rosen, NY Times Book Review)
-REVIEW : of THE GOOD CITIZEN: A History of American Civic Life by Michael Schudson (Nicholas Lemann, Washington Monthly)
-REVIEW: of The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in a Democratic Society by Amitai Etzioni (Aeon Skoble, Policy)

    -Policy Review : Civil Society (September 1998)
    -ESSAY : Not much left to respect : People no longer go to church, get married, or join a political party. Our
great institutions, once hallowed, have been hollowed out. (John Lloyd, December 2001, New Statesman)
    -ESSAY : DEMOCRACY OUT OF  BALANCE : Civil society can't replace political parties (Ivan Doherty, April 2001, Policy Review)
    -ESSAY : On Self-Government :  Families, congregations, and civic associations are America's "schools of liberty." Progressivism threatens them all (Michael S. Joyce, July 1998, Policy Review)
    -ESSAY : The Commonwealth of Freedom : It is time to recapture a lost tradition of community-building (Harry C. Boyte and Nancy N. Kari, November 1997, Policy Review)
    -ESSAY : A New Mission for Philanthropy : Promote civic entrepreneurs, not new government programs (Lamar Alexander and the Commission on philanthropy and civic renewal, September 1997, Policy Review)
    -ESSAY : Family. Faith. Freedom : A manifesto for cultural renewal (Adam Meyerson, May 1997, Policy Review)
    -SYMPOSIUM : "I Have a Dream" : Great ideas for repairing civic life : A Symposium (Harvey Mansfield, Milton Friedman, Virginia I. Postrel, Witold Rybczynski, Jack Miles, Michael Medved, James P. Pinkerton, etc.)
    -ESSAY : Can Congress Revive Civil Society? (Dan Coats With responses from Gertrude Himmelfarb, Don Eberly & David Boaz, January 1996, Policy Review)
    -Communitarianism (Carmen Sirianni and Lewis Friedland, Civic Practices Network)
    -The Communitarian Network : coalition of individuals and organizations who have come together to shore up the moral, social, and political environment
    -The Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies
    -Alliance for National Renewal : Unleashing the Power of Communities  (A National Civic League Program)
    -Amitai Etzioni's Home Page (
    -Alliance for Community Media
    -The American Promise : devoted to helping K-12 teachers bring democracy to life in their classrooms
    -Center for the Community Interest : NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD
    -The Civic Network : A project of The Center for Civic Networking
    -Journal of Markets and Morality
    -A Quarterly Journal: The Responsive Community
    -Radical Middle Newsletter : Thoughtful Idealism, Informed Hope
    -ESSAY : Rights, Responsibilities, and Communitarianism (Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D.,
    -ESSAY : Harmonization Between Communitarian Ethics and Market Economics (Basant K. Kapur, Journal of Markets and Morality)a
    -ESSAY : A Communitarian Critique of Authoritarianism:  The Case of Singapore (Daniel A. Bell, Political Theory, Feb, 1997)
    -ESSAY : Communitarian vs. Individualistic Capitalism (Lester Thurow, New Perspectives Quarterly)
    -LECTURE : The Communitarian Impulse : Colorado College's 125th Anniversary Symposium  Cultures in the 21st Century: Conflicts and Convergences  (Richard Rorty, Delivered at Colorado College on February 5, 1999)
    -LECTURE :  Communitarian critics of liberalism
    -ESSAY : Communitarian Liberalism and Common Schools (Rob Reich, Stanford University, Philosophy of Education)
    -ESSAY : Needed: Catchword For Bush Ideology; 'Communitarianism' Finds Favor (Dana Milbank, The Washington Post,  February 1, 2001)
    -ESSAY : Communitarian Bush?  (James N. Markels, February 2001,
    -ESSAY : Family Values Communitarian-style
    -REVIEW : of  The Lost City: Discovering the Forgotten Virtues of Community in the Chicago of the 1950s , by Alan Ehrenhalt (Peter Coclanis, Reason)
    -BOOK LIST : The Communitarian Bibliography (Communitarian Network)

    -ESSAY : American extremists (Amitai Etzioni , Dec. 20, 2001, Jewish World Review)
    -ESSAY : Homeland defense is best option for volunteerism (Amitai Etzioni, 12/13/01, Jewish World Review)

    -ESSAY : I'll Stand Bayou : Louisiana couples choose a more muscular marriage contract (Joe Loconte, May 1998, Policy Review)

    -REVIEW : of Revolt of the Elites by Christopher Lasch (Scott London)