In Putnam’s piece “Bowling Alone” he has a clear concern for the rate of decline in civic engagement. Which I would agree is something to worry about although, maybe more so at the time the article was written than today. I believe the rise of technology during the 90s into the 2000s created a large generation gap. There was a major shift in how people spent their time. With the continuous increase of online time being invested by our society, it has shifted not only our free time but has created a new social platform (Armstrong, 2018).
Putnam also believed that women entering the workforce had a major impact on civic engagement (Putnam). This would mean that this part of society had significantly less time to participate in civil society, be that of political or mundane (Putnam). It seems to me both of these small factors are part of larger issues. Focus on these small factors can improve the larger issue in great bounds.
I also believe that in the 90s these were issues of decline, whereas now, these are sources of an increase in civic engagement.
By the time this article had been published, women had been in the workforce for over thirty years. I would agree that this had an impact on the decline in civic engagement. This changed the time available that women had to invest in their communities. There was also an increase in single family as well as two-career households. These factors can also lead into the issues of maintaining cost of living.
With a single income home, this will create a great deal of stress and pressure on time and funds available as well. Over the years, women have had a greater decrease in civic engagement compared to men (Putnam). Although I agree that the family dynamic of women entering the work force had an impact, I don’t think that it was a major factor to the national decline of civic engagement.
Another major disadvantage of the 90s, was the state of development of technology. Technology and television swept the nation by storm. I have also personally thought this to be a major piece in various social issues of today’s generation. Although, through technological developments, means of current and accurate information is more accessible now than ever. Newspapers have often been caught in scandals by publishing misleading articles. While this may still be true on the internet, as well, sources are offered to ensure accurate information. The internet has definitely given a voice to our youth particularly involving school shootings amongst other issues. According to Armstrong, the evolution of social media has also leveled the playing field with its immediate access (Armstrong, 2018). The social media platform has created opportunities such as online access to petitions and non-partisan voting platforms. Having these new platforms allows people to become involved no matter their location and they also have the option to remain anonymous.
In short, I would agree with Putnam’s piece to the degree that both women entering the workforce and technology has changed our social platform. At the time he wrote this, no one could have ever fathomed the advances that were to come. Our society has shifted the focus to social media. There may have been a decline in physical civic engagement but this new platform has increased opportunity by having immediate access to information. I believe that in the 90s these small factors Putnam addresses, did contribute to a decline in civic engagement. Although, the development of these factors has evolved into a resource to increase civic engagement opportunities which should result in an increase in participation.