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Bowling Alone is a book written by Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam. In this book, Putnam talks about the decline in civic life in America. He specifically talks about the erosion in relationships, networks, and interactions, a concept which he refers to as social capital, which is somewhat similar to financial or human capital. Social capital allows greater productivity, promotes volunteerism, and instills concern about the society as a whole. Putnam points to evidence of decline in participation in a variety of civic arenas—politics, churches, labor unions, parentteacher organizations, and fraternal organizations. The title of the book derives from Putnam's observation that civil society is breaking down as Americans are becoming more disconnected from their families, neighbors, and communities. Thus the organizations that sustain democracy are ...

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