Social Capital: Critical Perspectives on Community and "Bowling Alone"

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This collection tackles the theme of isolation and the breakdown of mediating social institutions. It is, in part, a response to Robert Putnam's Bowling Alone as well as an attempt to create a broader idea of civil society. These original essays contribute to the examination of democratic theory and practice, exploring one of the most popular causes of this decline in public trust—social capital.

These critical essays are written by specialists and scholars in American politics and American political thought. They utilize diverse methodologies—empirical and philosophical—and multiple perspectives to examine critically the social capital discourse and how it is related to political participation, civic engagement, and American democracy.

Author Biography: Manfred Steger is Associate Professor of Political Science at Illinois State University. Scott McLean is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Quinnipiac University and Political Analyst in the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. David Schultz is Director of the Doctoral Program in Public Administration at Hamline University.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814798140
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 295
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

David Schultz is Director of the Doctoral Program in Public Administration at Hamline University.

Manfred Steger is Associate Professor of Political Science at Illinois State University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
I Tocquevillean Traditions and the Study of Civil Society
1 The Strange Disappearance of Alexis de Tocqueville in Putnam's Analysis of Social Capital 21
2 Equality, Democracy, and Community from Tocqueville to Putnam 50
3 The Phenomenology of Democracy: Putnam, Pluralism, and Voluntary Associations 74
4 Post-Liberal Civil Society and the Worlds of Neo-Tocquevillean Social Theory 99
II Historical Perspectives on Social Capital
5 Liberty, Equality, and ... Social Capital? 127
6 Patriotism, Generational Change, and the Politics of Sacrifice 147
7 Social Capital: The Politics of Race and Gender 167
8 Social Capital as Political Fantasy 183
III Social Engagement in Practice: Local, National, and Global Contexts
9 Social Capital, Civic Engagement, and the Importance of Context 203
10 Building Social Capital on the Street: Leadership in Communities 218
11 Social Rights or Social Capital? The Labor Movement and the Language of Capital 238
12 Robert Putnam, Social Capital, and a Suspect Named Globalization 260
Afterword 281
About the Contributors 289
Index 293
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