Civic Involvement Essay

460 Words2 Pages
In Robert Putnam's essay "Bowling Alone" he describes the dwindling amounts of people who are active in their own communities. People are now joining groups that require less time and effort from them, or are feeling discouraged when their friends do not show up for the monthly or weekly meetings. However the staff of the "Wichita Eagle" has a different viewpoint on the issue, claiming some studies actually show an increase in those ages 15 to 25 who are being active in their communities. The information that they gathered can be found in their article "Politics, Civic Involvement Interest Young Americans". The two pieces seem to contradict each other as to whether Americans today are really involved in their own communities and in tune with what's going on in the world around them. Robert Putnam includes many different theories as to why the populations of people going to different community groups are dwindling. One of the main points he makes is the effects of reciprocity that goes along with being in a group. He describes the fellow members of a group as not only being "contacts" but being people with obligations to each other. With each action is the thought " I'll do this for you, if you do something for me in return." This idea may scare people because with all of the other commitments they have, they don't want to add in any favors they must do for others. The article in the Wichita Eagle says almost the opposite of the teens and young adults in the communities today. The survey was done on 1,700 students nationwide, and the results were amazingly contradictory to the theories Putnam provides on the issue. Over 36% of teens surveyed had volunteered in their community, which is the exact opposite of reciprocity. These teens, as well as anyone else who volunteers, do not expect to get something in return for their actions or it would not be
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