[URBANTH-L]RE: Robert Putnam

Allen Feldman feldallen at gmail.com
Mon Aug 13 03:23:06 EDT 2007

We should  not buy we into Putnam's idea of progress model in mounting
critique. Civil rights guaranteeing freedom of movement  and settlement, is
a foundational  civic value in itself in an American society-- one that was
intensely associated with the development of private life and private
property and was not intended as a motor  for building social trust and
volunteerism. American diversity has more often than not  been a founded in
inequity. The post colonial frontier settlement of the  18th and 19th
centuries which created mixed settlement patterns of Europeans, displaced
Native Americans,Mexicans, slaves and later ex slaves,  and mixed race
fractions, was not   expected to promote communal trust and solidarity or an
equitable public sphere. Nor is the antithesis  between diversity  and
community solidarity something new. Racist social orders are inherently
diverse as are  colonial societies.  What is so unique in American society
to buck this trend-- the faithful guarantee and enforcement of civil rights?
Tell that to African-Americans who were denied the right to vote in recent
national elections or subjected to police profiling on the most diverse
space in the country-- the nation's public road system. Do we have  a study
from Putnam of communal solidarity and volunteerism on the highways? Are
spatial mobility and  trans-local communication nets discussed? Is sedentary
face to face interaction the sole  definition of community here?
Putnam's study from the summary below assumes, at baseline, an ideal
Habermasian transparent public sphere  as his definition  of civic community
with no communicative (media) distortion in which economic  inequity and
historical  institutional racism play no role in inhibiting communal
identification. Gemeinschaft was not originally associated  by Tonnies with
a  culturally, racially and ethnically diverse and economically
differentiated society with an extreme division of labor, but Putnam has
here stood Tonnies on his head.

Allen Feldman
New York University
On 8/11/07, susann mazur <susanmazur at hotmail.com> wrote:
> His recent Skytte Award Lecture, on the same topic, in the Scandinavia
> Journal of Political Studies, can be accessed in full here:
> http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2007.00176.xSusan Mazur-Stommen,
> Ph.D. www.indiciaconsulting.com 951.687.8661> From: jancius at ohio.edu> To:
> urbanth-l at lists.ysu.edu> Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2007 19:30:02 -0400> Subject:
> [URBANTH-L] REV: Is Diversity Bad for Cities?  public-policy think tank in
> Boston. > _______________________________________________> URBANTH-L mailing
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