New Sweeping Interview with Robert Putnam in American Interest

The sweeping interview covers everything from Professor Putnam’s environment growing up, to the Saguaro Seminar, to comments on his recent diversity research, to a discussion of the decline of unstructured kids games like “Kick the Can”, Spud, among others. Putnam also discusses evidence of a widening class gap in America. The discussion of diversity research mentions George Gerbner’s “mean world” hypothesis, Jane Jacob’s research on Death and Life of Great American Cities, and Saguaro field studies showing how diversity plays out across generations in communities across America like Adrian, Michigan. Putnam also talks about how the mass migration of women from “kitchens to offices” has put enormous pressures on community life in America, even as it has infused extremely valuable talent into our economy; he notes that we have failed to view the public dimensions of this and still treat the ability of families to connect into community as purely a private issue to be negotiated within that family. And he reacts to the changing nature of politics today and talks about national service and its hope in forging stronger bridging social capital.

Read the interview here.


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