Institutional ties

Loose Connections: Joining Together in America's Fragmented Communities, by Robert Wuthnow

Has the fabric of community broken down in America? That question, implicit in Robert Wuthnow's earlier books, is explicit here. At first, Wuthnow's answer seems to be yes. Compared to the close-knit world of his parents, Wuthnow writes, "my own ties have been more long distance and ephemeral. Some observers would argue that these changes are symptomatic of a large-scale breakdown" in our ability to be cohesive and to generate effective civic commitment.

But Wuthnow does not endorse that thesis. "My own view is that our involvement in our communities is changing rather than simply declining," he states. "But this raises important questions of how and why it is changing."


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