Community Engagement in a Changing America
Robert Putnam, Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University and founder of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, spoke on two of his critically acclaimed books, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community and more recently Better Together: Restoring the American Community.
Bowling Alone (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000) describes how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbors, and our democratic structures, the devastating effects this has on our lives and communities - and how we may reconnect. Putnam's follow up to this, Better Together (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), is a study of promising new forms of social connectedness, illustrating some of the most compelling ways in which civic renewal is taking place today. In this book Putman articulates how bringing people together by building on personal relationships remains one of the most effective strategies to enhance America's social health.
This lecture was presented by the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, Political Science Department, Nonprofit & Public Management Center, and the Interdisciplinary Committee on Organizational Studies.