Other books byRobert D. Putnam
Making Democracy Work
Civic Traditions in Modern Italy
Why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? In a book that has received attention from policymakers and civic activists in America and around the world, Robert Putnam and his collaborators offer empirical evidence for the importance of "civic community" in developing successful institutions. Their focus is on a unique experiment begun in 1970 when Italy created new governments for each of its regions. After spending two decades analyzing the efficacy of these governments in such fields as agriculture, housing, and health services, they reveal patterns of associationism, trust, and cooperation that facilitate good governance and economic prosperity.
The Collapse and Revival of American Community
Drawing on vast new data that reveal Americans’ changing behavior, Putnam shows how we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and how social structures—whether they be PTA, church, or political parties—have disintegrated. Until the publication of this groundbreaking work, no one had so deftly diagnosed the harm that these broken bonds have wreaked on our physical and civic health, nor had anyone exalted their fundamental power in creating a society that is happy, healthy, and safe. Like defining works from the past, such as The Lonely Crowd and The Affluent Society, and like the works of C. Wright Mills and Betty Friedan, Putnam’s Bowling Alone has identified a central crisis at the heart of our society and suggests what we can do.
The Age of Obama
The Changing Place of Minorities in British and...
Drawing on collaborative research from a distinguished team at Harvard and Manchester universities, The Age of Obama asks how two very different societies are responding to the tide of diversity that is being felt around the rich world. Guardian journalist Tom Clark, Robert D. Putnam -- best-selling author of Bowling Alone -- and Manchester’s Edward Fieldhouse offer a wonderfully readable account. Like Bowling Alone, The Age of Obama mixes social scientific rigor with accessible charts and lively arguments. It will be enjoyed by politics, sociology and geography students, as well as by anyone else with an interest in ethnic relations. Injustice, it turns out, still blight lives of many UK and US minorities -- particularly African Americans. And there are signs the new diversity strains community life. Yet in both countries, public opinion is running irreversibly in favour of tolerance. That bodes well for the future -- and suggests a British Obama cannot be ruled out.
Restoring the American Community
In his acclaimed Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam describes the United States as a nation in which we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and in which our social structures have disintegrated. But in the final chapter of that book he detects hopeful signs of civic renewal. In Better Together Putnam and coauthor Lewis Feldstein tell the inspiring stories of people who are reweaving the social fabric by bringing their own communities together or building bridges to others. Better Together examines how people across the country are inventing new forms of social activism and community renewal. An arts program in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, brings together shipyard workers and their gentrified neighbors; a deteriorating, crime-ridden neighborhood in Boston is transformed by a determined group of civic organizers; an online "virtual" community in San Francisco allows its members to connect with each other as well as the larger group; in Wisconsin schoolchildren learn how to participate in the political process to benefit their town. As our society grows increasingly diverse, say Putnam and Feldstein, it's more important than ever to grow "social capital," whether by traditional or more innovative means. The people profiled in Better Together are doing just that, and their stories illustrate the extraordinary power of social networks for enabling people to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.