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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Of Canines and Civics

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Theolog has a post by Amy Frykholm about dog parks in which the author suggests that dog parks foster community in American neighborhoods in a way that nothing else at the present time does. She quotes Robert Putnam and the whole "Bowling Alone" argument that civic engagement in America is rapidly deteriorating. And while she anticipates that people of Putnam's persuasion will hardly be moved by what's on offer at the dog park, she's compelled to see in it something quite significant.

Here's a money quote:
Over the three years that [my friend] has been visiting the dog park, my friend has become close with a lesbian couple and their Scotch Terrier. They arrange meetings at the dog park and invite each other over for dinner. The dogs like each other, and gradually, the humans have gained each other’s trust. They ask each other for help when they need it; they invite each other to significant events. They’ve built a small, fragile community.
Trust. Reciprocity: these are two of the things that make up Putnam's ideal of "Social Capital." They're precisely the things that Frykholm sees emerging among the gaggle of mutt-lovers congregating daily in their fenced-in playpen.

Maybe I should get a dog.

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:52 AM


I think there are ways to build up social capital that don't involve picking up dog crap.

Seriously - you do not want a dog.

Repeat after me: "I do not want..."
commented by Anonymous landon, 1:34 PM  
Landon is right about social capital but for most people dogs are great! You just need the right kind of dog for you. A nice Greyhound would be great for you I think.
commented by Blogger Donna, 12:04 AM  

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