Articles, Commentary, Lectures

Bush, J., & Putnma, R. D. (2010 July). A better welcome for our nation's immigrants. The Washington Post.

Putnam, R. D. (2001 Spring). Social Capital: Measurement and consequences. Isuma: Canadian Journal of Policy Research 2, 41-51.

Putnam, R. D., & Sander, T. H. (2005 Sept 10). Sept. 11 as civics lesson. The Washington Post.

Putnam, R. D. (2005). Answering mother-in-law questions can move the discipline forward. Perspectives on Politics 3, 313-314.

Putnam, R. D. (2006 June 25). You gotta have friends.

Putnam, R. D. (2007). E pluribus unum: Diversity and community in the twenty-first century. The 2006 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture. Scandinavian Political Studies 30:2, 137-174.

Putnam, R. D. (2008 March). Commentary: The rebirth of American civic life. The Boston Globe.

Putnam, R. D. (2008 March 20). Immigration and social cohesion. Harvard Kennedy School Insight.

Putnam, R. D., & Sander, T. H. (2009 Dec). How joblessness hurts us all. USA Today.

Putnam, R. D., & Sander, T. H. (2010 Jan). Still bowling alone?: The post-9/11 split. Journal of Democracy 21:1, 9-16.


Putnam, R. D. (1993) Diplomacy and domestic politics: The logic of two-level games. In P. B. Evans, H. K., Jacobson, & R. D. Putnam, R. D. (Eds.) Double-edged diplomacy: International bargaining and domestic politics (pp. 431-468). Berkely & Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Abstract: Domestic politics and international relations are often inextricably entangled, but existing theories (particularly “state-centric” theories) do not adequately account for these linkages. When national leaders must win ratification (formal or informal) from their constituents for an international agreement, their negotiating behaviour reflects the simultaneous imperatives of both a domestic political game and an international game. Using illustrations from Western economic summitry, the Panama Canal and Versailles Treaty negotiations, IMF stabilization programs, the European Community, and many other diplomatic contexts, this article offers a theory of ratification. It addresses the role of domestic preferences and coalitions, domestic political institutions and practices, the strategies and tactics of negotiators,  uncertainty, the domestic reverberation of international pressures, and the interests of the chief negotiator. This theory of “two-level games” may also be applicable to many other political phenomena, such as dependency, legislative committees, and multiparty coalitions.

Putnam, R. D., & Sander, T. (2006.) Social capital and civic engagement in individuals over age fifty in the United States. In S. P. Simson, & L. B. Wilson (Eds.) Civic engagement and the baby boomer generation: Research, policy, and practice perspectives (pp. 21-42). Binghamton, NY: The Hayworth Press, Inc.

The book examines a range of topics including current issues and trends in civic engagement, the relationship between civic engagement and leadership, issues in elder service and volunteerism, intergenerational relations and civic engagement. It is an important source of information for anyone working with non-profit, government, and corporate organizations concerned with public policy, community affairs, volunteerism, research, practice, and education.

Putnam, R. D. (2009). Is America becoming a more class-based society? In G. King, K. Schlozman, & N. Nie (Eds.) The Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives (pp. 158-159). New York: Routledge.

This book contains many of the new and exciting ideas that permeate formal and informal political science discussions throughout academic institutions. Each of these distinguished authors has contributed a brief, informal essay, only a few pages long, about a single novel or insufficiently appreciated idea on some aspect of political science. The book leads to unexpected connections between the diverse ideas and points of view. The book is of interest to anyone who thinks about political science, whether scholar, teacher, or student.


Campbell, D., & Putnam, R. D. (2010). American grace: How religion Is reshaping our civic and political lives.

Note: This new book will be published late in 2010. The result of two groundbreaking surveys on religion and public life in America and roughly 15 in-depth case studies of diverse congregations across America, American Grace objectively examines the impact of religion on American life. Visit the authors’ blog specifically related to the American Grace research.

Clark, T., Fieldhouse, E., & Putnam, R. D. (2010). The age of Obama: The changing place of minorities in British and American society. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

In this highly readable book, Putnam and co-author Guardian writer Tom Clark address many questions surrounding the U. S. presidential election of Barack Obama. The book draws on sweeping, collaborative research by a distinguished team from Harvard and Manchester Universities. The most obvious question for Britons is whether the Obama phenomenon could happen in the UK, or is it true, as Obama himself has suggested, that his story is a uniquely American one? Despite some caveats—especially the small though growing black British political class—the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Cohen, D., Feldstein, L. M., & Putnam, R. D. (2003). Better together: Restoring the American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

In Bowling Alone, Robert Putnam decried the collapse of America’s social institutions. But while travelling to promote the book, one question came up at every appearance: what can we do to end the atrophy of America’s civic vitality. What can bring us together again? Seeking an answer to this question, Putnam and Feldstein visited places across the country where individuals and groups are engaged in unusual forms of social activism and civic renewal. These are people who are renewing their communities and investing in new forms of “social capital”--good will, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse. Better Together describes a dozen innovative organizations that are re-weaving the social fabric of our country, and brings the hopeful news that our civic institutions are taking new forms to adapt to new times and new needs. Available as an eBook at the publisher’s site.

Leonardi, R., Nonetti, R. Y., & Putnam, R. D. (1993). Making democracy work: Civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Why do some democratic governments succeed and others fail? Based on substantial empirical research and an in-depth examination of Italian politics and government, this book argues that the quality of civic life and the nurturing of "civic community" are central to the cultivation of successful institutions in a democratic society. The book makes particular use of the notion of social capital. The writers’ focus is on a unique experiment begun in 1970, when Italy created new governments for each of its regions. After spending two decades analyzing the efficacy of these governments in such fields as agriculture, housing, and health services, they reveal patterns of associationism, trust, and cooperation that facilitate good governance and economic prosperity.

Putnam, R. D. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

In a groundbreaking book based on vast new data, Putnam marshals evidence from an array of empirical and theoretical sources to show how we have become increasingly disconnected from family, friends, neighbours, and our democratic structures—along with how we may reconnect. Putnam warns that social capital—the very fabric of our connections with each other—has plummeted, impoverishing our lives and communities. Putnam draws on evidence including nearly 500,000 interviews over the last quarter century to show that we sign fewer petitions, belong to fewer organizations that meet, know our neighbours less, meet with friends less frequently, and even socialize with our families less often. We're even bowling alone; more Americans are bowling than ever before, but they are not bowling in leagues. Putnam shows how changes in work, family structure, age, suburban life, television, computers, women's roles and other factors have contributed to this decline. He explores some of the possibilities that exist for rebuilding social capital. Read Chapter 1 at the publisher’s site.

Putnam, R. D. (Ed.). (2002). Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in Contemporary Society. New York: Oxford University Press, Inc.

Putnam brings together a group of leading scholars who broaden his findings as they examine the state of social capital in eight advanced democracies around the world and explore social transformations using the notion of social capital within “economically advanced democracies”. In general, the researchers found more social grouping among the affluent than among the working classes, and they find evidence of a younger generation that is singularly uninterested in politics, distrustful of politicians and of others, cynical about public affairs, and less inclined to participate in enduring social organizations. Social capital is vitally important both for the health of our communities and for our own physical and psychological well being. This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of these phenomena and why they are important in today's world.