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"Social Capital is an important crtique that should stimulate further analysis and dicussion of what constitutes community."
— New Political Science
"The reader emerges with a good sense of the gaps in Putnam's work- or more appropriately in the context of this book, the way in which the 'feelgood' factor of Putnam's work deserves critical analysis."
—Voluntas: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations
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.
I Tocquevillean Traditions and the Study of Civil Society
1 The Strange Disappearance of Alexis de Tocqueville in Putnam’s Analysis of Social Capital
2 Equality, Democracy, and Community from Tocqueville to Putnam
3 The Phenomenology of Democracy: Putnam, Pluralism, and Voluntary Associations
4 Post-Liberal Civil Society and the Worlds of Neo-Tocquevillean Social Theory
II Historical Perspectives on Social Capital
5 Liberty, Equality, and . . . Social Capital?
6 Patriotism, Generational Change, and the Politics of Sacrifice
7 Social Capital: The Politics of Race and Gender
8 Social Capital as Political Fantasy
III Social Engagement in Practice: Local, National, and Global Contexts
9 Social Capital, Civic Engagement, and the Importance of Context
10 Building Social Capital on the Street: Leadership in Communities
11 Social Rights or Social Capital? The Labor Movement and the Language of Capital
12 Robert Putnam, Social Capital, and a Suspect Named Globalization