Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society / Edition 1

Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society / Edition 1

by Robert D. Putnam
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195171608

ISBN-13: 9780195171600

Pub. Date: 03/26/2004

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In his national bestseller Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam illuminated the decline of social capital in the U.S., revealing how over the last quarter century we have tended to join fewer clubs, know our neighbors less, meet less frequently with friends, and even socialize less often with our families. Now, in Democracies in Flux, Putnam brings together a group of

Overview

In his national bestseller Bowling Alone, Robert D. Putnam illuminated the decline of social capital in the U.S., revealing how over the last quarter century we have tended to join fewer clubs, know our neighbors less, meet less frequently with friends, and even socialize less often with our families. Now, in Democracies in Flux, Putnam brings together a group of leading scholars who broaden his findings as they examine the state of social capital in eight advanced democracies around the world.

The book is packed with intriguing revelations about common trends in the countries studied. The contributors note, for instance, that waning participation in unions, churches, and political parties seems to be virtually universal, a troubling discovery as these forms of social capital are especially important for empowering less educated, less affluent portions of the population. Indeed, in general, the researchers found more social grouping among the affluent than among the working classes and also found evidence of a younger generation that is singularly uninterested in politics, distrustful both of politicians and of others, cynical about public affairs, and less inclined to participate in enduring social organizations. On the bright side, social capital appears as strong as ever in Sweden, where 40% of the adult population participate in "study circles" -- small groups who meet weekly for educational discussions.

Social capital -- good will, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse -- is vitally important both for the health of our communities and for our own physical and psychological well-being. Offering a panoramic look at social capital around the world, this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of these phenomena. It will interest anyone concerned with promoting civil society and vibrant social discourse.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195171600
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
03/26/2004
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
528
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction3
1Great Britain: The Role of Government and the Distribution of Social Capital21
2United States: Bridging the Privileged and the Marginalized?59
3United States: From Membership to Advocacy103
4France: Old and New Civic and Social Ties in France137
5A Decline of Social Capital? The German Case189
6From Civil War to Civil Society: Social Capital in Spain from the 1930s to the 1990s245
7Sweden: Social Capital in the Social Democratic State289
8Australia: Making the Lucky Country333
9Broadening the Basis of Social Capital in Japan359
Conclusion393
Notes417
Contributors493
Index497

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