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Comparing Thomas Volgy And Scott Putnam

            The issue of decline in political participation of the population of the United States has never been so vital. Numerous sociological surveys indicate that people's participation in various social activities is not as active as it used to be in the past. The population of the United States represents a disintegrating group that is more than ever influenced by individualism. People no longer care about other members of the society because for many people personal independence has been of primary importance. Many sociologists have noticed this trend and conducted numerous studied on the issue. Robert Putnam's book "Bowling Alone- and another work "Politics in the Trenches- written by Thomas Volgy can give one much insight into the current social trends that are dubbed "the loss of social capital-.
             Robert Putnam's book "Bowling Alone" argues that "the quality of public life and the performance of social institutions . . . are powerfully influenced by norms and networks of civic engagement." Political activity, social and economic cooperation, and neighborhood comity are all promoted, on this view, by the interactions of individuals in their clubs, leagues, organizations, and families. However, the contemporary accounts of civil society's importance are marked by anxiety as much as celebration. "Bowling Alone," as its title suggests, portrays a significant decline in our associational habits. Citing surveys that track levels of political participation, group membership, and even informal socializing over the past quarter century, Putnam argues that "Americans who came of age during the Depression and World War II have been far more deeply engaged in the lives of their communities than the generations that have followed them." His diagnosis of civic decline has become a subject of vigorous debate, not all of which is accessible or comprehensible to non-sociologists. If Putnam's diagnosis is sound, we must be concerned about depleting our stock of "social capital," defined as the "norms, networks, and social trust" essential to a flourishing democracy.

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