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Last Updated on October 7, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 407

Robert D. Putnam’s Bowling Alone addresses the changing socioeconomic climate that has led to a decrease in socialization and squandered opportunities for societal and personal improvement as well as reduced the bonds that people tend to share. He believes that an increase in what he calls "social capital"—the trust and connection between people—would help to improve the race and political relations that seem so stressed today.

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Growing Social Disconnection as a Result of Technology

Putnam addresses the trends of decreasing social capital and growing social disconnection due to changes in the structure of life and technology. He acknowledges that, as cities develop and life changes, people naturally adapt their social tendencies. One of the great benefits of society in the 1950s and the surrounding decades, Putnam argues, was urbanization and the centering of life on the center of the city.

Putnam believes that because people were moving to urban environments during this time, they had more opportunities to interact and socialize with one another. Now, the trend has reversed due to soaring real estate prices, a belief that cities are unsafe, and the availability of technology and transportation that makes distance more acceptable. Putnam also addresses technology and believes that it has thus far had a negative impact on social capital but could be beneficial if it was focused on improving face-to-face relationships.

The Benefits of Social Capital

Putnam believes that socialization and social capital can help people to bond, which has an array of benefits. This bonding has the potential to tear down economic, racial, and political boundaries that segregate the...

(The entire section contains 407 words.)

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