featured articles: informal education, lifelong learning and social action


robert putnam

picture: robert putnam - robert. d. putnam. Robert Putnam has been described as the most influential academic in the world today. His book Bowling Alone seems to have struck a chord in with many concerned with the state of public life and the decline in social capital. Is the hype justified? We explore Robert Putnam’s contribution and its significance for informal educators.

civic community. What are the essential conditions of successful democracies? What is the significance of civic community for the development of good institutions? We explore Robert Putnam’s path-breaking analysis of civil traditions in Italy.

social capital. The notion of social capital is a useful way of entering into debates about civil society – and it is central to the arguments of Robert Putnam and others who want to ‘reclaim public life’. We examine it's nature - and some of the issues surrounding its use.