Friendship and Community Organization

  • Rebecca G. Adams
  • Koji Ueno
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Summarizing a collection of chapters describing how the character of civil society has changed over the past fifty years in eight advanced democracies, Putnam (2002) recently observed that mass participation in elections, political parties, unions, and churches has declined. Contrary to his own observations that more people in the United States are now “bowling alone” (Putnam, 2000) however, the contributors to the volume he was summarizing, Democracies in Flux, reported impressionistic evidence that these common declines in formal social capital have been at least partially offset by increases in the “the relative importance of informal, fluid, personal forms of social connection” (p. 411). The contributors to this volume expressed concern that the “new individualistic forms of social engagement may be less conducive to the pursuit of collective goals” (p. 412). Friendship, although not a particularly new form of social engagement, is an example of an individualistic form of it. This makes understanding of the role of friendship in community organization and civic engagement more important now than it would have been during a period when formal social capital was more plentiful. Furthering this understanding is the purpose of this chapter.


Social Capital Community Member Community Organization Civic Engagement Friendship Network 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca G. Adams
    • 1
  • Koji Ueno
    • 2
  1. 1.University of North CarolinaGreensboro
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityFlorida

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