“Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America”
In Putnam’s article social capital is essentially how government and other socially involved institutions are heavily influenced by how the citizens engage with these institutions (Putnam, 664). A broader definition of social capital would be how a person builds relationships and gains opportunities through various trustful relationships with other people. Putnam describes social capital in the context of social life, networks, a framework of benchmarks that allow society to work together to complete goals and grow. Norms allow groups to align and work together effectively and any group can demonstrate social capital by displaying cooperation through these socially defined mechanisms. Social capital assumes an increasing number of connections between people means the more that people are capable of trusting each other. This is true also for civic engagement (665).
Social capital can be increased and strengthened in many ways. Education has a very powerful role in social capital. Putnam claims that education has the strongest correlation to social capital and civic engagement. People that are more highly educated than others tend to be more likely to trust and engage with others. This is attributed to their skills and resources being picked up through school (667). Studies also show that having a stable home and community correlates with increased civic engagement. Studies suggest that women are more likely to partake in social connectedness for longer periods of time than men. Women are known to partake in PTA meetings, visit friends and relatives, and participate in church according to Putnam (670).
Social capital has been showing t...
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... Putnam says television may also cause aggressiveness among children and that it can cause children to not do as well in school, yet he also mentions that this information is speculative (680).
Personally, I feel like civic engagement has stayed the same or possibly increased since this article was released. Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter have allowed for worldwide engagement between people. Now, more than ever, people are intrinsically connected and almost always have a means of communicating. Putnam’s article seems very pessimistic and possibly even biased in looking for reasons as to why people are not engaging. In many ways, his points hold very well but the way things have changed and developed since the introduction of internet in almost every American household makes the conversation about social capital that much more complicated.
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Education Coorelates to Civic Engagement in Putnam’s article, “The Strange Disappearance of Civic America
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