Connecting the Dots - Government, Community, and Family

By Peggy Wireman, PhD

Connecting the Dots - Government, Community, and Family header image 3

Connecting the Dots

With a Foreword by John Nichols, Washington Correspondent for The Nation

Read what others are saying about Connecting the Dots - Government, Community, and Family:

“In Connecting the Dots, Peggy Wireman calls for a national commitment to support our families and communities. She reminds us of what we too often forget: that as Americans we are called to care about the common good, which means working for the many, not just the privileged few. Through powerful illustrations, Peggy Wireman brings to light that the American dream is in serious need of renewed commitment.” – Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin

 “A work of great expertise. An asset to the urban analysis literature and a great tool for practitioners.” – Jurg K. Siegenthaler, Professor Emeritus, American University, Department of Sociology, Washington, D.C.

“…an important, insightful, and provocative book that provides a clear blueprint for building stronger communities and families.” – Mark R. Rank, Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare, Washington University in St. Louis

“…a real focus on the bread-and-butter concerns of the average family. Local, state, and federal policies needed to help families cope with today’s changing economy.” – Kathleen Falk, County Executive, Dane County, WI

“Dr. Wireman’s chapter on race, class, age and ethnicity is a must read for practitioners and students who wish to explore, better understand and engage in a dialogue on race on a personal and policy level.” – Marc Herstand, Executive Director National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter

Despite its size and social diversity, the United States is one nation, and what happens in one city or neighborhood ultimately affects all Americans. Connecting the Dots addresses the complex relationships between family and community, and between community and other players affecting family and community life, including the private sector, government, nonprofit groups, and religious organizations.Contrary to much rhetoric, Wireman argues that America does not suffer from a loss of family values, but from a shift in business practices and public commitments. The American dream of work hard, buy a home, and give your children a better life is no longer realistic for millions of workers, both white-collar and blue-collar. At an individual level, millions of Americans face significant challenges as they go about trying to meet the everyday responsibilities of earning an income, feeding their families, maintaining their health, finding housing, handling everyday household chores, and caring for their children.                             

Besides identifying top-down structures, laws, and attitudes that create a supportive context for family life, the book includes bottom-up anecdotal examples to ground its policy-oriented discussion. It also provides statistical data needed to develop realistic solutions. Wireman examines diversity as well, since how America handles racial and ethnic differences remains crucial to its future. She discusses ways in which communities have created social capital, community cohesion, and local organizational ability.

Wireman provides a framework for policymakers, local community leaders, and neighborhood activists to use in analyzing their situations and selecting the best approach; she also describes what various players can and must do to uphold the American dream. Connecting the Dots will be of keen interest to sociologists, political scientists, economists, and social workers.

Connecting the Dots provides non-partisan direction, with many of the positions and programs within Dr. Wireman’s book supported by both Republicans and Democrats.