Summary Of Bowling Alone America's Declining Social Capital

1056 Words5 Pages

Kelsey Lau
Professor Schoenfeld
English 120, section 007
5 September 2017 “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” Summary & Response In this essay, Robert D. Putnam discusses the issue regarding social decapitalization in America. Putnam highlights the striking differences between the traditional forms of civic organization and today’s modern form. With how distinct today is from the 1960-1990’s, he argues that the new form can’t be compared to the traditional form— they each operate differently. Putnam then tackles the importance of social capital, the need to reverse the declination, the root causes of the social decapitalization, the composition of a great social capital, and the measures that America can …show more content…

Not to mention, traditional organizations hold “secondary associations” while new organizations hold “tertiary associations.” In Putnam’s words concerning new organizations state, “the only act of membership consists in writing a check for dues or perhaps occasionally reading the newsletter. Few ever attend any meetings of such organization, and most are unlikely ever (knowingly) to encounter any other member” (Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” p.388). New civic organizations contrast with traditional civic organizations in a sense that the bonds between people aren’t physically direct. While people are supporting the group by sending funds, they aren’t actively partaking in group activities such as meetings. Besides the new civic organizations, there has been an influx of nonprofit organizations and support groups. Secondary associations tend to be nonprofits; nonetheless because of the uprising in nonprofit organizations it’s a mistake to assume that nonprofit agencies carry secondary association. Additionally, because the whole “a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not a square” analogy pertains to nonprofits, conceptually we can’t use the trend between nonprofit organizations and social connectedness. Support groups are dissimilar in a way that it is a method of social connectedness but still does not provide the same properties as traditional civic associations. Putnam refers to Robert Wuthnow regarding support groups, “small groups merely provide occasions for individuals to focus on themselves in the presence of others” (Putnam, “Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital” p. 390). Support groups provide a sense of temporary support that is there to help you at your discretion. Because these “small groups” are presented to collectively work on self-improvement, it is seen as a

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