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Steven Sherman's interesting point about Putnam's overestimation of
communal sensibilities in the past is nicely illustrated in Jason Kaufman's
new book *For the Common Good? American Civic Life and the Golden Age of
Fraternity.* The book is directly addressed at Putnam's work and argues
that the types of organizations touted by Putnam were actually divisive and
exclusionary, especially along the lines of race, class, and gender.

Danielle Kane

>>This article doesn't provide much in the way of evidence for its
>>claims.  It seems kind of strange to post it to this list, precisely the
>>sort of space for communicating and networking that the article dismisses
>>as fantasy.  While I see the point about the contrast between bridging
>>and bonding forms of social capital, I have to wonder whether it is
>>somewhat exaggerated.  One hundred years ago, were Protestants and
>>Catholics and Jews, Blacks Whites and Chinese really mixing so
>>much?  Don't people usually communicate partly on grounds of shared
>>interest or already existing connections?  There is also a lot of
>>rhetoric thrown around the way filters, etc. block out undesirable
>>voices.  Quite frequently, by blocking spam, they facilitate genuine
>>community dialogue.  Community organizations, even some churches, get
>>locks on their doors not to be exclusionary but to stay in the business
>>of being places where people can meet and 'be civic'.  Same thing is true
>>on the internet.  Havi!
>>ng moved to a new place three years ago, I can trace much of my extensive
>>social network to the internet, either as starting point or as enhancer.
>>Steven Sherman
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