Bowling Alone America's Declining Social Capital Analysis

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Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital’, is an article written by Robert D. Putnam, in which he proposes that America is suffering a loss of its social capital, and this loss has had a hugely negative impact on society as a whole. Social Capital is a term used to describe the connections, networks and relations within society and the intensity of those connections. Putnam encourages the idea that as interaction within community declines so does the social capital of that community. Putnam puts forward the facts of decline in ‘civic engagements’ and the networks they produce; America had about a quarter less voters in the 1990’s than it had in 1960’s, there are declining numbers attending town meeting, PTA events, involving themselves…show more content…
Social Trust is the idea of ‘faith in people’. Today less Americans believe they can rely on their neighbours and people around them than ever before. Putnam view is this is due to the declining numbers joining group activities and never fully explores other reasoning for this, for instance the media. Most news broadcasts lead with negative reports, as bad/devastating news grabs more attention. The medias delivery of a negative viewpoint is bound to have an impact on it subscribers, their view of the world and society could become more…show more content…
His suggestions include the addition of women to the work place, the greater mobility of the nation, the changing family system and the impact on technology. I can see all these view as valid to some extent, if women go out to work they have less time to attend social groups in the evening as many spend this time doing housework, preparing for the day ahead and relaxing. The changing family system, such as fewer marriages more divorces, would have a huge impact on membership of groups, as a single parents’ free time can be completely nonexistent. America is now a more mobile nation, it has become easier to move across states and set up home again somewhere else. Its Putnam suggestion that increasing mobility has depleted social capital, as it takes time to develop roots to a new area. Also TV has given us a way of relaxing, unwinding and being entertained at home, without having to interact with others. This change has had a huge impact on social interaction but Putnam never explores the possibility that discussing TV show can create bonds, which in many cases may be consider sallow at first but which develop over time like any other social connection. Also blaming other technology source for less social capital but only to a degree, it is important to bear in mind that the spread of internet only exploded to all regions of the western world in the last few decades, and even today many don’t have this facility
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