Kay Lehman Schlozman is the J.Joseph Moakley Endowed Professor of Political Science at Boston College and co-author of, most recently, Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism is American Politics and The Private Roots of Public Action: Gender, Equality, and Political Participation.
My mom was known in the family as "POC"--short for "Pillar of Community." Her estimable talents were in constant demand for every community effort, from leading the townwide campaign to register every eligible voter to serving on the school board. Like Mom, I do my share; but unlike Mom, I do only my share, and then always as a soldier, never as a general.
Recent debate about American society has focused attention on declining
civic participation and the consequent fraying of the social fabric.
Are declining bowling league memberships evidence of the erosion
of civil society? Or are bowling leagues just being replaced by
youth soccer leagues? Lost in the discussion is the fact that
what matters is not only the amount of civic activity but its
distribution, not just how many people take part but who they