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Bowling Alone : The Collapse and Revival of American Community
By Putman Robert D.
6/10 from 1 review
Categories: Urban Studies, History
Buy at Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com
1 review
The world we have lost
Well, if you like stats... Americans, it seems, have so many distractions these days that there's no time to be active, or even passive, members of communities, clubs or associations any more. So what? The author remembers a time, or thinks he remembers, a time when people were nicer to each other and social responsibility was something every American aspired to. I doubt it. But Putman puts the blame for the social decay of American life (and eventually the West?) down to this decline. There certainly has been a significant change in perceptions of civility during my lifetime, although this book offers little proof of an actual decline. Perhaps, like Zero-Tolerence policies, perception is all that matters.

Like everyone else, I would love the confidence of a community that supported me when I needed its support, but that also allowed me the freedom to be as private as I choose, but the reality is that people only truly want to help the people that they like, and don't want to help the people they don't like. Forcing us to play together nicely only works when mum and dad are listening. As soon as we are alone, the accusations of difference begin and the exclusions follow. The legions of girl guides and frat boys who grew up into mob-rule racists and regular warmongers may yearn for those days of safety-in-numbers, but for many, many people, the release from forced and fraudulent membership of often closed-minded social groupings is a change for the better.
Rating: 6/10
Link to this review
Posted by Tony on Fri, 21st December 2001, 4:25pm
1 review