Fifteen years ago, Robert Putnam’s seminal book, Bowling Alone, described how social engagement had markedly declined and people were no longer connecting with their communities. Now, nine years after the 9/11 attacks, Putnam and collaborator Thomas Sander have found a marked turnaround in the civic and political engagement of America’s youth. But it’s not all good news.
In Bowling Alone, Putnam suggested that civic reengagement “would be eased by a palpable national crisis, like war or depression or natural disaster, but for better and for worse, America at the dawn of the new century faces no such galvanizing crisis.” The 9/11 attacks occurred soon after the book’s publication, and Putnam’s bittersweet prediction came to pass with the rise of the post-9/11 generation.
Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, and Sander, executive director of the Saguaro Seminar, found that the generation of Americans born in the 1980s — who were at their most impressionable age when 9/11 occurred and the resulting wars broke out — are more actively engaged than previous generations in politics and their communities. The share of college freshmen since 2001 who report engaging in political discussion is at an all-time high of 36 percent; voting rates have risen three times as fast for under-29-year-olds as for over-30s; and the Obama presidential campaign saw unprecedented youth involvement reminiscent of the era of John F. Kennedy.
“A goal of the project over the coming several years is confirming that this growing social class gap is real and found in multiple data sets,” says Sander. “In addition, our goal is to help understand what causal processes might be at work and what framing of the problem is helpful in spurring policymakers and civic leaders to respond effectively.” — by Lindsay Hodges Anderson
Faculty Researcher Robert Putnam, Malkin Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.
+Ler artigo “Still Bowling Alone? The post 9/11 split”: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/ocpa/pdf/still%20bowling%20alone.pdf
+Ver Robert Putnam Faculty Profile: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/robert-putnam
+Ver site The Saguaro Seminar – Civic Engagement in America: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/saguaro/
+Ver site Journal of Democracy: http://www.journalofdemocracy.org/articles/toc/tocjan10.html
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