- ペーパーバック: 544ページ
- 出版社: Simon & Schuster; New版 (2001/8/7)
- 言語: 英語
- ISBN-10: 0743203046
- ISBN-13: 978-0743203043
- 発売日： 2001/8/7
- 商品パッケージの寸法: 14 x 3.3 x 21.4 cm
- おすすめ度： 3件のカスタマーレビュー
- Amazon 売れ筋ランキング: 洋書 - 11,680位 (洋書の売れ筋ランキングを見る)
Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (英語) ペーパーバック – 2001/8/7
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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.
Alan Ryan The New York Review of Books Rich, dense, thoughtful, fascinating...packed with provocative information about the social and political habits of twentieth-century Americans.
Richard Flacks Los Angeles Times Putnam styles himself as a kind of sociological detective....The reader experiences the suspense that can happen in both detective fiction and science.
Wendy Rahn The Washington Post This is a very important book; it's the de Tocqueville of our generation. And you don't often hear an academic like me say those sorts of things.
Alan Ehrenhalt The Wall Street Journal A powerful argument...presented in a lucid and readable way.
Julia Keller Chicago Tribune A learned and clearly focused snapshot of a crucial moment in American history.
Amazon.com で最も参考になったカスタマーレビュー (beta)
I read Putnam's article by the same title in college and it left a lasting imprint because it crystalized my feeling that Americans are no longer involving themselves in civic and community life. His new book expounds on this depressing thesis and explains, in tremendous detail how Americans no longer value civic engagement or regard relationships with neighbors as worthwhile. He cites declines in participation in public clubs such as the Shriners and Elks clubs as well as more informal social gatherings like poker playing and family dinners. Using statistics and time diaries he plots indicators of civic engagement from its peak in the early 1960's and its subsequent decline thereafter. The greatest casualty throughout this transformation is in social capital, a term which predates Putnam and describes the emotional and practical benefits of personal relationship.
Putnam shows that civic clubs that have shown growth in membership since the 1960's have mostly been in massive national organizations whose membership is nothing more than people on mailing lists who pay an annual fee. Furthermore, religious organizations, whose members participate in their communities at greater rates than non church goers, are beginning to change their focus from civic participation to only tending to the needs of their church members.
The affects of this disengagement have impacted our health, democracy and safety. Putnams points out an axiomatic principle that as people associate with one another in various capacities, whether it be at the kitchen table, the sidewalk, the card club or the PTA, people form relationships that provide a pool of friends who can be relied upon when time are hard, the dog needs to be walked, or the poor elderly woman next door needs her home painted. Each relationship is an asset, the accumulation of which can be called one's "social capital."
Putnam does not place the blame for this on one source, but cites the entrance of women into the workforce, high levels of divorce, and urban sprawl among others as possible contributors. His most damning remarks are reserved for television. According to Putnam, no single technology has had such a damaging effect on America's civic and personal relationships. I enjoyed his attack on TV on a personal level because I decided 5 years ago to throw away my television and have never looked back.
Certainly, Putnam's concerns are not new. He admits to this and provides the reader with an excellent look at the Progressive Era when American's decided to solve the vexing problems of an industialized urban society by forming civic clubs and actively involving themselves in their community.
This is not a particularly fun book to read. In summary, it details how Americans have become spectators on life. The recent success of "reality based" television programs only illustrates how we have traded the potential richness of personal relationships for a false reality on our television screens. Life is about personal relationships, and it is sad to see how Americans have avoided these relationships.
Putnam is not all gloom and doom. As with everything, hope abounds. After reading this book, one should only be encouraged to find ways to involve himself or herself in their communities and invite the neighbors over for a BBQ. This is an important social commentary, and I encourage all to read it.
Putnam's book should be read as an exercise in building social capital. By this I mean, you should distribute it to friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and especially elected officials in your community. Then plan to meet and discuss it over lunch or coffee. This book has the potential for being the most significant book on society in a generation. When we scratch our heads and wonder why in the midst of a booming economy, we have such tragic social dysfunction in our society, you can look to Putnam's book as a perspective that offers promise that social capitalism is a signficant aspect of the answer.
Author Robert Putnam measures "social capital," which is simply the value of people dealing with people--organization and communication, whether it's formal (church council, the PTA), or informal (the neighborhood tavern, the weekly card game). We have suffered a huge drop in such "social capital" over the past 30-35 years; club attendance has fallen by more than half, church attendance is off, home entertaining is off, even card games are off by half. (Yes, there are people who survey for that!)
Why is this important? Because a society that is rich in social capital is healthier, both for the group and for the individual. The states that have the highest club membership and voter turnouts also have the most income equality and the best schools (and those that have the lowest, have the worst). And according to Putnam, "if you decide to join [a group], you can cut your risk of dying over the next year in half." Younger people are demonstrably less social than their grandparents in the World War II generation. They also feel more malaise. Lack of sociability makes people feel worse.
While "Bowling Alone" is a work of academic sociology, with charts and graphs, Putnam makes it as reader-friendly as possible with a good honest prose style and a straightforward presentation. His message deserves to be heard. He also suggests some ways for us to get out of our current blight of social disconnectedness, including a call for the USA to re-live the organizational renaissance we once experienced at the turn of the last century, the Progressive Era, which spawned so many organizations like the Sierra Club, PTA and Girl Scouts that are still with us and going strong.
If you read only one book of sociology this decade, make it "Bowling Alone." The research is astounding, the presentation is great, and the message is one we need to hear.
However, while Bowling Alone does a good job illustrating the loss of community involvement, the last fifteen chapters of the book, which discuss the causes of civic disengagement, and how it can be reversed, are seriously wrong. Just to start, Putnam overlooks many of the events of the last forty years. He pejoratively notes that Americans have become more individualist and distrustful of institutions, but he gives little notice to the Vietnam War, Watergate, the failed War on Poverty, and the inummerable political, corporate, and institutional scandals, which have led to this culture of skepticism.
Furthermore, the book ignores the role of centralized government and litigiousness in weakening communities. People are less likely to vote or get involved in political affairs because top-down bureaucratic mandates and endless lawsuits have undermined local democracy. Putnam laments the drop in the number of Americans who vote, attend town meetings, or write to their Congressman, but does not realize that much of this apathy is comes from the fact that many Americans perhaps rightly believe that these activities are a waste of time. Why should a person give up several hours of their time to go to a town meeting when any decision of significance made at the meeting may be overturned by a federal judge or blocked by a Washington bureaucrat?
The whole book is permeated with an irritating longing for Babbitt-like organizationalism. Many American do informally interact with their families, friends, and coworkers, but have absolutely no interest joining a fraternal organization, with its secret handshakes and exclusive membership. Likewise, many Americans do give their time time and money to causes (e.g. environmentalism) that they support, but are unwilling to make donations to large, poorly-run charities who have nebullous goals (e.g., United Way, Red Cross). Unfortunately, Putnam seems to overlook the decentralizing social trends of the last several decades.
The last two chapters of the book are the absolute worst. He expresses some concern that communitarians need to avoid the 'big-brotherism' of the early twentieth century Progressive movement, but then offers some of his own proposals (e.g., more urban planning, campaign finance reform) which themselves seem heavy-handed.
In spite of these criticism, I do recommend the book. Public apathy is a serious problem, and though I disagree with some of Putnam's conclusions, the book is informative and well-written.