America's Civic Disengagement Analytical Essay by hellojujubasciencespo

America's Civic Disengagement
A discussion on how and why Robert Putnam argues that civic engagement is in decline in America.
# 67384 | 2,340 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2005 | FR
Published on Jul 08, 2006 in Sociology (General) , Political Science (General) , Communication (General)

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This paper examines how America has been characterised by a dramatic decrease in civic engagement and how this decrease is not only illustrated by low turnouts at presidential elections, which reveals a fall in electoral political participation, but also by lower civic engagement through active participation in social and political organisations. Robert Putnam suggests that American society's civic disengagement is, in large part, due to the development of the television. The paper argues that, if the American society is indeed characterised by a significant decrease in civic engagement, the development of television and other forms of media technologies does not lead necessarily to a more 'politically cynical' society.

Putnam's Thesis: The Loss in Social Trust is Responsible For Less Civic Engagement
The End of America's Republican Civic Engagement?

From the Paper:

"Mouritsen questions Putnam's concept of social capital by interrogating the 'civil' in Putnam's conception of 'civil society'. Mouritsen insists on the fact that Putnam puts largely the emphasis on a civic community that emerges almost spontaneously from the people, "from the microcosmos of society" (MOURITSEN, 2003: 651). Putnam's considerations on the forming of social capital are thus based on the assertion that voluntary forces emanating from the people, from 'below', constitute the foundation of a civic consciousness. Mouritsen therefore criticises a conception of civil society that appeals to a narrow sense of republicanism: in this logic, many social scientists used to see the civil society as a civic space emerging independently from state forces, according to the "classical republican ideology of self-governing citizens" (MOURITSEN, 2003: 652). "

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