För ett år sedan gästades Sverige av Robert Putnam, den världsberömde Harvardprofessorn i statsvetenskap som fått hela landets folkrörelsedrömmares blod att koka med boken "Den ensamme bowlaren". Han erhöll då nämligen landets (och en av världens, faktiskt) finaste utmärkelse för statsvetenskapliga studier - Skytteanska priset.
I samband med detta höll Putnam en föreläsning om sin nya forskning, i närvaro av höjdare såsom sessan Victoria och Leif Pagrotsky. Man kan förstås tänka sig att detta skulle mötts med total fascination av våra medier och intresserade samhällsdebattörer - men det blev knäpptyst efteråt. Putnam berättade nämligen om något vi inte vill prata om: att etniskt diversifierade samhällen tycks skapa misstro mellan människor.
I dagarna har hans Skytteanska föreläsning publicerats i Scandinavian Political Studies, vilket uppmärksammas i New York Times.
In highly diverse cities and towns like Los Angeles, Houston and Yakima, Wash., the survey found, the residents were about half as likely to trust people of other races as in homogenous places like Fremont, Mich., or rural South Dakota, where, Putnam noted, “diversity means inviting a few Norwegians to the annual Swedish picnic.”Putnams Skytteanska föreläsning finns i fulltext på nätet: E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century (även i pdf på samma plats). Några utdrag:
More significant, they were also half as likely to trust people of their own race. They claimed fewer close friends. They were more apt to agree that “television is my most important form of entertainment.” They had less confidence in local government and less confidence in their own ability to exert political influence. They were more likely to join protest marches but less likely to register to vote. They rated their happiness as generally lower. And this diversity effect continued to show up even when a community’s population density, average income, crime levels, rates of home ownership and a host of other factors were taken into account.
It was not a result that Putnam, the author of the much-discussed 2000 book “Bowling Alone,” was looking for when he sat down six years ago to examine the mass of data he had collected.
The more ethnically diverse the people we live around, the less we trust them.Och snart kanske det kommer en rapport i en dagstidning nära dig. Nej, just ja. Skojar bara. Såna här saker skriver vi ju inte om.
[...] In highly diverse Los Angeles or San Francisco, for example, roughly 30 percent of the inhabitants say that they trust their neighbours ‘a lot’, whereas in the ethnically homogeneous communities of North and South Dakota, 70–80 percent of the inhabitants say the same. In more diverse communities, people trust their neighbours less.
[...] in-group trust, too, is lower in more diverse settings [...] In other words, in more diverse settings, Americans distrust not merely people who do not look like them, but even people who do.
[...] Diversity seems to trigger not in-group/out-group division, but anomie or social isolation. In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to ‘hunker down’ – that is, to pull in like a turtle.
[...] In areas of greater diversity, our respondents demonstrate:
• Lower confidence in local government, local leaders and the local news media.
• Lower political efficacy – that is, confidence in their own influence.
• Lower frequency of registering to vote, but more interest and knowledge about politics and more participation in protest marches and social reform groups.
• Less expectation that others will cooperate to solve dilemmas of collective action (e.g., voluntary conservation to ease a water or energy shortage).
• Less likelihood of working on a community project.
• Lower likelihood of giving to charity or volunteering.
• Fewer close friends and confidants.
• Less happiness and lower perceived quality of life.
• More time spent watching television and more agreement that ‘television is my most important form of entertainment’.
[...] inhabitants of diverse communities tend to withdraw from collective life, to distrust their neighbours, regardless of the colour of their skin, to withdraw even from close friends, to expect the worst from their community and its leaders, to volunteer less, give less to charity and work on community projects less often, to register to vote less, to agitate for social reform more, but have less faith that they can actually make a difference, and to huddle unhappily in front of the television. Note that this pattern encompasses attitudes and behavior, bridging and bonding social capital, public and private connections. Diversity, at least in the short run, seems to bring out the turtle in all of us.
Men, ska jag tillägga innan debatten urartar i kommentarsfältet, Putnam anser att problemen går att överbrygga.