by Andrew Leigh
UNSW Press, $34.95 pb, 207 pp, 9781742231532
Since the mid 1990s, when Robert Putnam lionised the concept in his famous essay ‘Bowling Alone’, writing on ‘social capital’ has proliferated. It caught the eye of politicians, including then United States President Bill Clinton, and for a while it seemed that everyone was lamenting its decline; it became a staple of debate among politicians, within policy networks, and in the major newspapers. Australia had its own proponents, including public intellectual Eva Cox, and former politicians Mark Latham, Lindsay Tanner, Carmen Lawrence, and Peter Costello.