Putnam, Robert. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Simon and Schuster: New York, NY, 2000. [especially chapter 3]

Political Values and Civic Engagement, plus the Social Capital Debate

[For a good description of social capital, see]

Bellah, Robert N. et al., Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in Everyday Life. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1985.

Etzioni, Amitai, ed., New Communitarian Thinking: Persons, Virtues, Institutions and Communities. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1995.

Kretzmann, John P. and John L McKnight. Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets. Evanston, IL: Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research, 1993.

Nicholas Lemann, "Kicking in Groups." Atlantic Monthly (April 1996): 22-24.

Loury, Glenn "The Social Capital Deficit." The New Democrat (May-June 1995): 28-29.

Potapchuk, William R., Jarle P. Crocker and William H. Schecter, Jr. "Building Community with Social Capital: Chits and Chums or Chats with Change." National Civic Review 86, No. 2 (Summer 1997): 129-140.

Portes, Alejandro & Patricia Landolt, "The Downside of Social Capital." The American Prospect 26 (May-June 1996): 18-21, 94.

Putnam, Robert D. "Bowling Alone Revisited." The Responsive Community, v5, issue 2, (Spring 1995): 18-33.

Putnam, Robert D. Making Democracy Work. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993.

Putnam, Robert D. "The Prosperous Community: Social Capital and Public Life." The American Prospect 13 (Spring 1993) 35-42. Also available at:

Putnam, Robert D. "The Strange Disappearance of Civic America." The American Prospect (Winter 1996): 34-48. Also available at:

Schambra, William and Michael S. Joyce. "A New Citizenship, A New Civic Life." The Hudson Institute: 139-163.

Skocpol, Theda. "The Tocqueville Problem." Address to Annual Meeting of the Social Science History Association, New Orleans, October 12, 1996. [An adaptation of this piece available here.]

Vanourek, Gregg, Scott Hamilton, and Chester Finn. Is There Life After Big Government?: The Potential of Civil Society. The Hudson Institute.

Walzer, Michael, "Civility and Civic Virtue in Contemporary America." In Radical Principles: Reflections of an Unreconstructed Democrat. New York: Basic Books, 1980.

Walzer, Michael. "Idea of Civil Society." Dissent (Spring 1991): 293-304.

Civic Engagement and Urban Issues

Briggs, Xavier de Souza. "Social Capital and the Cities: Advice to Change Agents." National Civic Review 86, No. 2(Summer 1997): 111-118.

Berry, Jeffrey M., Kent E. Portney, and Ken Thomson. The Rebirth of Urban Democracy. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1993.

Wilson, William Julius. When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor. New York: Knopf, 1996.

Civic Engagement and American Democracy

Boyte, Harry, and Nancy Kari. Building America: The Democratic Promise of Public Work. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1996.

Fung , Archon, and Erik Olin Wright. Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance, 2003.

Elshtain, Jean Bethke, Democracy on Trial. New York: Basic Books, 1995.

Loury, Glenn, "The Divided Society and the Democratic Ideal." Boston University’s University Lecture, 1996.

Sandel, Michael. Democracy's Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1996.

Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995.

Civic Engagement in American History

Ehrenhalt, Alan. The Lost City: Discovering the Forgotten Virtues of Community in the Chicago of the 1950s. New York: BasicBooks, 1995.

Husock, Howard. "Elks Clubs, Settlement Houses, Labor Unions and the Anti-Saloon League." Cambridge, MA: Kennedy School of Government Case Study Program. To order:

Participant Writings

Dionne, E.J. They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.

Gutmann, Amy and Dennis Thompson. Democracy and Disagreement. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1996.

Minow, Martha. Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion, and American Law.

Minow, Martha L. (co-Editor) Imagine Coexistence: Restoring Humanity After Violent Ethnic Conflict.

Minow, Martha. Not Only for Myself: Identity, Politics, and the Law.

Obama, Barack. Dreams From my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. New York: Times Books, 1995.

Sullivan, Lisa. "Civil Society at the Margins." The Kettering Review (Winter 1997): 63-65.

Wallis, Jim. The Soul of Politics: A Practical and Prophetic Vision for Change. New York, NY: New Press, 1994.

Social Capital Generally

Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (Simon and Schuster, 2000)

Robert D. Putnam, Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society (Oxford University Press, 2002)

Robert D. Putnam and Lewis Feldstein, Better Together: Restoring the American Community (Simon & Schuster, September 2003).

David Halpern, Social Capital. Polity Press, U.K., 2004. [Good discussion of social capital and a very useful distinction of micro, meso and macro level social capital and posits that social capital may achieve its effect by different causal pathways at the different levels.]

Ahn, T.K., Elinor Ostrom, eds. Foundations of Social Capital: A Reader. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd. (2003) [Many interesting chapters, but see especially introduction by Ahn and Ostrom which is quite good, although it focuses overly on social capital as a vehicle to solve collective action problems, and not enough on the “private returns” to individuals from being in social networks.

Elinor Ostrom and James Walker (Editors). Trust and Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lessons for Experimental Research.

Field, John. Social Capital. (Routledge, 2004) A good and readable summary of the concept of social capital, the ideas of 3 key social capital thinkers -- Bordieu, Coleman, and Putnam -- a distillation of the work showing the importance of social capital to education, economy and health, a discussion of the dark side of social capital and a discussion of social capital policy.

Briggs, Xavier de Souza. "Social Capital and the Cities: Advice to Change Agents." National Civic Review 86, No. 2 (Summer 1997): 111-118. [also mentioned above in the Social Capital and Urban Issues section.] A similar piece by Xav Briggs is available here.

Gladwell, Malcolm. "Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg." January 11, 1999. New Yorker.
[Article quite useful on the value of bridging social capital -- although he calls them *connectors* -- only weakness is that he makes it sound like there are Herculean connectors, like Lois Weisberg, or non-connectors, when in reality even individuals who have some bridging relationships are adding a lot of value.] Discussion of this also found in The Tipping Point]

Baron, Stephen, John Field, and Tom Schuller. Social Capital: Critical Perspectives (Oxford Univ. Press, 2001).

Better Together, The Report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America. (2002 Reprint of 2000 Report, with new introduction; recommends strategies for re-engaging American communities).
First third is at:
Second third is at:
Final third is at:

Click here for other general introduction material introducing social capital
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