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Old 03-21-2018, 01:00 PM
 
Location: San Diego
80 posts, read 82,454 times
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A quick definition of social capital:

Quote:
Social capital refers to the connections among individuals, and the social networks and norms of reciprocity that arise from them. The political, civic, and economic benefits of social capital for a functioning democracy are well documented and thus, a decline in American society is cause for concern.
I just got done reading Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putman, in the book Mr Putman makes the argument that social capital in the United States has declined significantly since the 1950s. This decline has lead to a reduction in community life in America which means social intercourse that helped people form friendships, educate and participate in civic life are dying. Here are some statistics Putman uses to illustrate his point:

Quote:
In the last quarter of the twentieth century, for example, American attendance at club meetings went down by 58 percent. Family dinners declined by 33 percent. Inviting friends to one’s home decreased by 45 percent. The sidebar supplements those findings by posting two other claims: A ten-minute commute slashes social capital (“features of social organization such as networks, norms, and social trust that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit”) by 10 percent, but joining a group reduces by half the odds that one will die next year
My theory is that hyper individualism which birthed during the late sixties has something to do with this. Although technology has probably made things worse, Putman started writing his book in the mid nineties before iPhones were made available, which have undoubtedly made things worse.

However I am curious as to what all of you guys think. Why has social capital along with social trust, civic life and community life declined in America since the 1950s?
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:04 PM
 
6,927 posts, read 3,126,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMesa View Post
A quick definition of social capital:



I just got done reading Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert Putman, in the book Mr Putman makes the argument that social capital in the United States has declined significantly since the 1950s. This decline has lead to a reduction in community life in America which means social intercourse that helped people form friendships, educate and participate in civic life are dying. Here are some statistics Putman uses to illustrate his point:



My theory is that hyper individualism which birthed during the late sixties has something to do with this. Although technology has probably made things worse, Putman started writing his book in the mid nineties before iPhones were made available, which have undoubtedly made things worse.

However I am curious as to what all of you guys think. Why has social capital along with social trust, civic life and community life declined in America since the 1950s?
Another good book to read on the subject is Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. Written in the 80s, it contends that television is the chief culprit or, more accurately, the ability to sit at home and be entertained without social interaction from others. The average American watches five hours of television and change daily. As in literally people get home from work, flip on the boob tube, and tune out until it's time for bed. This is self-isolating behavior.

Postman's belief is that television has negatively affected every single part of our civic life from creating tolerable isolation to how political candidates run for office. It's really a fantastic read, one that holds up 30 years later. Need an example? Go drive around your average suburban neighborhood on a nice Saturday afternoon. How many kids do you see outside running amok? Almost none, because their inside staring glassy eyed at a video game console.

The other impediment? Most new developments over the past few decades have been built without sidewalks. It's a trivial thing, but a neighborhood without sidewalks is less a community and more a collection of houses. In our old neighborhood, there were sidewalks that practically invited people to go out on walks. We met more people just having them walk past and saying 'Hello.' Where we live now there are no sidewalks and the streets twist and turn with all kinds of blind spots. It is an unwalkable neighborhood. I don't think, then, it's a coincidence that we only know our neighbors across the street.

My wife and I are in our mid-fifties. Over time, we've noticed how rare dinner parties have become. Nobody has a dinner party just because. Now, social gatherings are centered around an event (a birthday) or a holiday. But relatively few people simply say, "Hey, let's have a bunch of friends over on Saturday night." We're fortunate that we have a good group of fun and interesting friends. But even so, it's remarkable how much television they watch. I just don't have that many hours in a day.
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Old 03-23-2018, 12:30 PM
 
1,224 posts, read 599,554 times
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There was another thread on this forum a while back that explored essentially the same topic, though it was phrased as "why are fraternal associations on the decline" (e.g. Elks, Moose, etc type clubs).


Another consideration here is that the demands of the workplace have greatly expanded. A strict 9-5 schedule with evenings/weekends free is a luxury for many people who find themselves working multiple jobs or non-standard shifts, or answering emails and logging in at home after normal business hours. There's just not time or energy for hanging out with friends/neighbors, especially after fitting in what time you have left for your own family.
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Old 03-23-2018, 01:28 PM
 
5,889 posts, read 2,344,759 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyDancer View Post
There was another thread on this forum a while back that explored essentially the same topic, though it was phrased as "why are fraternal associations on the decline" (e.g. Elks, Moose, etc type clubs).


Another consideration here is that the demands of the workplace have greatly expanded. A strict 9-5 schedule with evenings/weekends free is a luxury for many people who find themselves working multiple jobs or non-standard shifts, or answering emails and logging in at home after normal business hours. There's just not time or energy for hanging out with friends/neighbors, especially after fitting in what time you have left for your own family.
That's valid. Also feminism , which kicked women out of their homes and into the workforce, thereby crippling their ability to function as the "social organizer".
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Old 03-23-2018, 02:34 PM
 
8,012 posts, read 6,996,048 times
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Originally Posted by phantompilot View Post
That's valid. Also feminism , which kicked women out of their homes and into the workforce, thereby crippling their ability to function as the "social organizer".
Now time for some rational discussion instead of wing nut theories.

The problem has been getting worse with the widespread use of social media. I use to think nothing of it and that it is the responsibility of people to monitor how much time they spend on social media and it still is obviously. But now I've come to realize just how harmful social media and spending too much time on the internet really is.

It really does stunt a person's social and emotional development. First of all there's just so much crap on the web to filter through. Too much misinformation and clickbait.

The biggest of all though is that for many people this has become there primary source of social interaction and that's scary. There's no way you can develop social skills by just sitting in front of a screen all day. Actual dialogue is less than 10% of socializing. The tone of the dialogue and body language is actually the main part of social interaction. You're not going to get that by just socializing through text and forums like this one.

The importance of tone and body language can't be understated because understanding this teaches people empathy, an important part of being human. And that's something I'm beginning to see that people lack.
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Old 03-23-2018, 04:35 PM
 
320 posts, read 326,623 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MinivanDriver View Post
My wife and I are in our mid-fifties. Over time, we've noticed how rare dinner parties have become. Nobody has a dinner party just because. Now, social gatherings are centered around an event (a birthday) or a holiday. But relatively few people simply say, "Hey, let's have a bunch of friends over on Saturday night." We're fortunate that we have a good group of fun and interesting friends. But even so, it's remarkable how much television they watch. I just don't have that many hours in a day.

and by the same coin, all the "young" people i know (couples from mid 20s through 40ish) are doing more dinner parties and similar events than I've experienced before (I'm 41). They are realizing what they were missing and taking it upon themselves to bring it back. They also watch considerably less TV than my older friends. As an example, my wife and I watch barely 2 hours per day, if that. The daily show most days, then about an hour to 90 mins of TV on Hulu or Netflix. Maybe a movie on the weekend.

I think that as the Baby Boomers age out (and die, as dark as that sounds) the younger generations will more than make up for the social loss the older generations that were first sucked into TV experienced.
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Old 03-25-2018, 10:39 AM
 
Location: The Ozone Layer, apparently...
2,387 posts, read 896,072 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LisaMesa View Post
Putman started writing his book in the mid nineties before iPhones were made available, which have undoubtedly made things worse.

However I am curious as to what all of you guys think. Why has social capital along with social trust, civic life and community life declined in America since the 1950s?
We don't need to go out to do anything anymore. Media and social media are good places to start. You cant help but lift an eyebrow when you realize the two people sitting next to each other on the bus are texting each other rather than simply talking to each other.

Online dating: he doesn't want my number so he can call me. He wants to text me.

Both cases make communication de-humanized. Its machine to machine, and not person to person.

I have 1000 channels on my TV. My chances of becoming bored with TV are limited. Why would I go out to a roller skating rink, put-put golf course, or movie theater when all the entertainment I need is available at my fingertips? What's the point of mingling with the masses face to face?

There are a lot of ills associated with social media. Kids post videos to build an image of themselves. What are the images we see?

Kids posing with weapons. Kids assaulting the elderly and other kids. People doing bad things to be a bad ass and hope that their criminal video goes viral, so they will look cool. We are not talking about being cool. We are talking about 'looking cool'.

We see enough violence and we become desensitized. Think about the soldiers that use laptops and setups that can be compared to video games to launch attacks and drop bombs. What could be more de-humanizing and desensitizing than that in someone's mind? I don't have to look at you, or your real town to kill you and destroy your community - its just like a video game.

Now we see kiosks inside our local Burger King and McDonalds. Nothing screams louder than I don't want to be even a minimal amount social than that. I cant even be asked to tell a person my order, and go through the exchange of funds for receipt and food.

They say there is some truth in all fiction, and looking back, we can see how much of what was good science fiction has actually come into being. Can anyone foresee the Matrix coming into reality as well?
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Old 03-25-2018, 11:11 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
84,543 posts, read 77,712,295 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phantompilot View Post
Immigration since 1965. Responsible for most of it. The rest is all the race-baiting and intentional division created by Identity Politics. So in other words...a hatchet job by the left on American society.
Why do you have to politicize it? The main drivers of the phenom the OP discusses, are increased atomization and isolation due to technology: mainly--the internet. This has nothing to do with politics.

However, I would open the discussion up to looking at how social engagement has changed since the 50's, not disappeared. For example, for better or for worse, what was the "99%" movement, the Occupy movement, and similar protests about growing economic inequality and the shrinking of the middle class, if not a type of social engagement? What about the boom in various dance groups (salsa, swing) that didn't exist in the 50's or 60's, the creation of the MeetUp phenom, and the explosion of all manner of volunteer groups since the 50's, if not new venues for social engagement, that replaced the old community clubs like the Elks and Shriners? Also, we still have Rotary and the Lions, which serve some of the function of those old lodges.

While an argument can be made that social capital has declined since the last mid-century, I'd be more inclined to look at how it has morphed.
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Old 03-25-2018, 11:50 AM
 
746 posts, read 262,414 times
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In the second half of the 1960s, anxiety about crime made people afraid to go out. Parents kept their kids on a tighter leash and people became increasingly dependent on cars, preventing those who couldn't drive from socializing.
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Old 03-25-2018, 01:33 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
84,543 posts, read 77,712,295 times
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Originally Posted by redguitar77111 View Post
In the second half of the 1960s, anxiety about crime made people afraid to go out. Parents kept their kids on a tighter leash and people became increasingly dependent on cars, preventing those who couldn't drive from socializing.
Says who? In the late 60's? I have quite a few relatives who were in their teens or in college at that time, and they had complete freedom. Some lived in Berkeley/Oakland, which might have been considered higher-crime areas, but they really weren't. At least, the neighborhoods where the families lived, weren't, nor was downtown Berkeley, and many other parts of the Bay Area. And people in that era in the Bay Area became LESS dependent on cars, because of the spiffy new rapid transit system that went in at that time.

IDK, red; I thought the fear of crime thing happened later. More like a generation later, than when you're saying. People in Seattle and Portland that I know, also had no fear of crime, growing up in the 60's and 70's. Maybe what you're talking about was specific only to a few cities at the time? Maybe LA, Chicago, NYC, possibly?
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