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Better Together: Restoring the American…
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Better Together: Restoring the American Community (2003)

by Robert D. Putnam

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Even though I'm not planning to read Bowling Alone, and this is 'not quite as good' according to many reviewers, I might read this, if just for the hopefulness/ feel-good examples. It is at CC now.
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 5, 2016 |
This book profiles twelve organizations that have had success in building social capital. It discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches, with the hope of learning something about what does and doesn't work. The authors find that starting at the small group level, sharing stories, and bridging connections to larger groups all contribute to building communities and organizations that work better. Although reading it in 2014 I can tell that this book is starting to show some of its age (the Craigslist chapter was difficult to read b/c it was so out of date), the ideas are still useful and make me want to know what has been figured out since the book was written. ( )
  JanesList | Apr 4, 2014 |
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Getting individuals to articulate their needs and the possibilities they see and crating relationships that knit individuals into powerful groups is the core of the IAF's [Industrial Areas Foundation] work. Cortés lays out the principles underlying the organization's methods in his response to a college student who asked what 'motivates people to support a cause with actions as well as words':     ' When I hear your question, what I think you're really saying is, "How can I convince people to do what's good? How do I get them to do what's right? How do I get them to follow my agenda?" That's not organizing. What I mean by organizing is getting you to recognize what's in your best interest. Getting you to recognize that you have a child, that you have a career and a life to lead, and that there are some things that are obstacles to the quality of your life. I need to get you to see how you can affect those things through relationships with other people.' p 16
'No permanent allies, no permanent enemies' is a core principle. p 19
"I learned a long time ago that anxiety is contagious." Sister Judy Donovan, qtd p 29
...the willingness of those in power to open the doors to citizen influence rather than protect their 'turf' is a critical element of the social-capital story. p 248
Using the social-capital lens allows us to see that in each of these cases the supposed inefficiency actually is essential for creating the virtuous circles of human connectivity that are basic to the organization's effectiveness and that have valuable spillover effect beyond the group itself... the 'process' is crucial to the product. pp 270-271
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743235479, Paperback)

In his acclaimed Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam describes the United States as a nation in which we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and in which our social structures have disintegrated. But in the final chapter of that book he detects hopeful signs of civic renewal. In Better Together Putnam and coauthor Lewis Feldstein tell the inspiring stories of people who are reweaving the social fabric by bringing their own communities together or building bridges to others.

Better Together examines how people across the country are inventing new forms of social activism and community renewal. An arts program in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, brings together shipyard workers and their gentrified neighbors; a deteriorating, crime-ridden neighborhood in Boston is transformed by a determined group of civic organizers; an online "virtual" community in San Francisco allows its members to connect with each other as well as the larger group; in Wisconsin schoolchildren learn how to participate in the political process to benefit their town. As our society grows increasingly diverse, say Putnam and Feldstein, it's more important than ever to grow "social capital," whether by traditional or more innovative means. The people profiled in Better Together are doing just that, and their stories illustrate the extraordinary power of social networks for enabling people to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In his acclaimed Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam describes the United States as a nation in which we have become increasingly disconnected from one another and in which our social structures have disintegrated. But in the final chapter of that book he detects hopeful signs of civic renewal. In Better Together Putnam and coauthor Lewis Feldstein tell the inspiring stories of people who are reweaving the social fabric by bringing their own communities together or building bridges to others. Better Together examines how people across the country are inventing new forms of social activism and community renewal. An arts program in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, brings together shipyard workers and their gentrified neighbors; a deteriorating, crime-ridden neighborhood in Boston is transformed by a determined group of civic organizers; an online "virtual" community in San Francisco allows its members to connect with each other as well as the larger group; in Wisconsin schoolchildren learn how to participate in the political process to benefit their town. As our society grows increasingly diverse, say Putnam and Feldstein, it's more important than ever to grow "social capital," whether by traditional or more innovative means. The people profiled in Better Together are doing just that, and their stories illustrate the extraordinary power of social networks for enabling people to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.… (more)

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