In the reading about Italy this week Putnam and his collaborators use four diffe


In the reading about Italy this week Putnam and his collaborators use four different indicators to assess and compare civic engagement in the North and South of Italy. What do you think of those indicators? Are they good or bad measures to assess civic engagement? Think about the “interpersonal trust” indicator we learned about in Lecture notes Part I, do you think it can be a good indicator of civil engagement and social capital? Do you agree with Putnam on the importance of civic engagement for democracy?
The indicators mentioned by Putnam are good indicators, however they are not without their faults. For example, I do not believe that everyone who reads newspapers will be civically engaged, since there are other reasons to read a newspaper other than politics. Also, how would you measure that today with newspapers being obsolete? Todays equivalent would be the Internet which has even more uses than just politics, and also makes it easier for fake news to spread, making them worse for democracy. Interpersonal trust is a good indicator of civil engagement and social capital because it is impossible to have organizations that pursue their own interest other than their families without having trust for others. Civic engagement is important for democracy, but is not a good indicator of democracy as seen when support for the Nazi party spread fastest in regions with strong association indicators.


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