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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 - Mar. 21.docx

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Ivanka Knezevic

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Space and society - The relationship between spatial form and social structures is the main underlying question of urban sociology. It is reciprocal: - Influence of space on social relations is assumed in urban planning. Main characteristics: materiality (form, density, size) and centrality. - Influence of society on spatial forms: social structures and agency produce accommodating spatial forms (e.g. industrial city). - Much urban-sociological research does not really consider space: space may be incidental to research on both “the city in society” and the “society in the city.” Cities and their surrounding areas - Cities are relatively large, densely populated, permanent settlements in which most residents do not produce their own food. - Cities depend on the surrounding areas, initially for food, then for market demand for manufactured goods, and finally for labour. - Conflicts of interest between cities and surrounding areas (now including suburbs: 416 vs. 905). - Migration of the middle and upper class out of central cities in North America after WWII means loss of city tax base; city services are funded by municipal taxes, but are used by residents of a much wider area, including the recently- moved middle and upper class. - Economic factors and political decisions influence urbanization: growth in the proportion of the population living in cities. Explaining the rural and the urban – Toennies - Gemeinschaft = opportunity 1. Familiarity with all members 2. Homogeneity of members; high conformity 3. Informal social control - Gesellschaft 1. Presence of strangers 2. Heterogeneity of members; diversity of norms 3. Formal social control 1 Explaining the urban – Simmel 1. Achievement of individualism (personal freedom and development of individuality) in a Gesellschaft. - Cf. Guay and Hamel: individualization of social relationships in post-modern city. 2. Intellectualism/rationality 3. “Blasé attitude” 4. Reserve - Causes: heterogeneity and rapid change, and money economy. - This is “urbanism as a way of life” (Wirth. 1938) or “urban culture.” - Blalock. 1967: “middleman minorities” in pre-industrial trading centres. The industrial city - Pre-industrial cities were either political/administrative or trading centres. - Industrial cities grew because of : 1. Advances in transportation (steam power, which enabled growth of trading market) and agricultural technology (land drainage, fertilizers, which produced surplus agricultural population); 2. Improved means of accumulating capital (the joint stock company); and 3. Industrialization (requirement that workers be concentrated in a central location). - Consequences: economies of scale and facilitation of capitalist market economy. - Problems: sanitation, transportation, housing. The Chicago School: a model of an immigrant city - Park and his colleagues studied “social pathologies” – crime, mental illness, juvenile delinquency, family breakdown, etc. anonymous urban life destroys the
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