Bowling Alone at Twenty

Two decades ago, Robert Putnam published a book that provoked a small cottage industry’s worth of responses from pundits and scholars alike. Bowling Alone, based on an essay of the same title Putnam had written for the Journal of Democracy five years earlier, made a claim that cut to the quick of American identity: Americans just aren’t doing things together anymore. By choosing to engage in activities individually rather than communally, he asserted, we were putting at risk America’s capacity to build social capital and undermining our national character.

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Alexandra Hudson is an Indianapolis-based writer, a 2019 Novak Fellow and a Young Voices contributor. Follow her on Twitter: @LexiOHudson