Bowling Alone Essay

1577 Words 7 Pages
Robert Putnam's basic thesis is that there is a decline in civic engagement in urban cities. He goes on to explore different probable factors that are causing the decline in civic engagement. First off, he dichotomizes civic engagement into two categories: machers and schmoozers. Machers and schmoozers are people who engage in formal kinds of civic engagement (following politics) and informal kinds of civic engagement (hanging out with friends) respectively.
Civic engagement, overall, is on the decline according to Putnam (informal activities in particular, however, are ones that Americans, on average engage in more often). This decline applies to cities because of certain urban characteristics. The city, because of our
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100). Certain course materials illustrate how these arguments apply to the city.
Too low or too high a density for a city were shown to lower the functioning level of city people in terms of civic engagement. Finding a balance was key to keeping an optimal amount of civic engagement in the city, as illustrated by "Cities and Social Pathology" by AR Gillis. Therefore, civic engagement should consider the absolute density of a city before jumping to conclusions on the sociological causes of social capital decline. Also, too low or too high a density for a city already implies social disorganization. Too low and your neighbours are spread too far apart, too much and it gives one an impersonal feelings toward their fellow neighbour because of strangers. Putnam does deal with the theory of social disorganization, but only in very superficial terms, therefore, more thought should be put as to how a city is structured, and not only to anything befitting a definition of a city (in terms of population) to blame for a decline in social capital. "Immigration and the City" by Eric Fong was a personal choice for me, being an immigrant myself. With that said, his point about residential segregation is that immigrants are liable to feel residential segregation and feel they belong to a place even if they have the means to move otherwise. I can personally relate to this

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