Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lab #15

Mary Margaret, Hannah, and I went bowling to explore Robert Putnam’s assertion that the level of the social capital is declining. His book Bowling Alone" suggests such a decline is even reflected at bowling alleys where the level of social capital was once considered quite high. Putnam claims that people today are bowling alone more then ever before. Despite our expectations, we found the bowling alley full of families and even a birthday party. Granted we went to the bowling alley once on a Sunday afternoon, however, the level of social capital was very high. The building was full of people just happy to be spending time with each other.

Among all of the families and the birthday party, we only found one man bowling alone. We spoke to him as he was leaving and he explained to us that he didn’t normally bowl alone, but it was his birthday, so he had some free time. He also mentioned that his wife and kids were at the mall. We found this arrangement interesting because people generally spend their birthdays with their family.

Finally, we spoke with one of the employees. We asked him about the trends of the bowling alley such as if more people bowled alone on particular days. He answered that he rarely saw anyone bowling alone and that the few people that were alone were competitive bowlers practicing. In this case, we all agreed that the bowling alley’s social capital was still quite high and concluded Putnam’s assertion regarding bowling to be false.

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