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University of Toronto St. George

STARTING POINTS- LORNE TEPPERMAN CHAPTER 2: MATERIALSETTINGS Demography: the study of human populations- their growth and decline through births, deaths, and migration Environmental geography: the systematic study of the interaction between humans and the surrounding natural world, focusing on the human impact on the environment and vice versa Human capital: a skill or skill set, usually including educational attainment or job-related experiences, that enhances a worker's value on the job; the result of foregoing income and a long-term investment in personal improvement Population composition: the makeup or mix of different social types in a population; for example, the different numbers of men and women, old and young people Population pyramid: a graphic depiction of the age-sex composition of a population Cohort: a set of people with a common origin or starting point; birth cohort- a set of people born in the same year or set of years Human geography: the systematic study of the location of human enterprises and characteristics; for example, health, education, commerce and trade; closely linked to other social sciences like sociology Megacity: a geographic locale with a large concentrated population, sometimes defined as exceeding 5 milion people. Aka megalopolis or megapolis Bedroom suburb: a residential area near a large city that provides housing and services for people who commute each day into the downtown urban area CHAPTER OUTLINE – two main approaches are macroanalytical:functional and critical theories WAYS OF LOOKINGAT... POPULATION FUNCTIONALISM – Thomas Malthus: while the Earth's available food increases additively, population increases exponentially - population increasing exponentially at a constant rate is adding more people every year than it did the year before - there is a real risk a population will grow faster than its food supply will increase - positive checks: increasing the death rate ex) war, famine, pestilence, disease - preventive checks: limiting the number of births ex) abortion, infanticide, delaying marriage etc – carrying capacity: number of people who can be supported by the available resources at a given level of technology – hundreds of million s of mothers are still producing children at the rate of 4 children per mother CRITICALTHEORY'SAPPROACH TO MALTHUS – problems poor countries face today result not from overpopulation but from an unfair and harmful distribution of the world's wealth – famines as a result of improper land use, civil wars etc – famine has not historically been a significant 'positive check' on population size – poverty and inequality contribute to overpopulation also – zero population growth (ZPG); occurs when births are exactly balanced by deathsWAYS OF LOOKINGAT... URBAN LIFE FUNCTIONALISM – some view social problems in the city as resulting naturally from growth and specialization ex) more wealth in the city-> more intense competition for the local resources – others focus on the tendencies of the city that promote social disorganization, weak social controls and consequent deviance and distress – pre-industrial communities were mainly small, rural settlements in which members shared the same experiences and developed similar values, norms and identity - Emile Durkheim called this 'common conscience' - lives of those people were often interconnected in a tight, homogeneous social order-> Durkheim called this 'mechanical solidarity' - by contrast, new urban-industrial society was based on interdependent linked together by 'organic solidarity' - members of this new society were no longer self-sufficient; all were dependent on one another for survival and prosperity – functionalism approach looks for universal laws of social development and for the ways that particular institutions or arrangements like cities help society move to a new equilibrium, with a higher level of functioning CRITIALTHEORY – the theory attribute the urban problems such as homelessness and poverty not to the effects of size, but to the workings of capitalism – cities suffer urban problems because no powerful group is interested in preventing this from happening – critical theorists believe that solving urban problems requires more than housing – the problem of cities is a problem of economic inequality- an unequal distribution of wealth and poverty SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM – study how people experience city life on an everyday basis – George Simmel-> cities are so inherently stimulating and quick-paced that to prevent sensory overload, inhabitants need to reduce their sensitivity to events and people around them – symbolic interactionists tend to doubt that everyone in the same structural setting has the same experience – Herbert Gans-> how the meaning of city life varies among groups and subcultures - subculture; group of people who share some cultural traits of the larger society but who as a group also have their own distinctive values, beliefs, norms, style of dress, and behaviour - urban subcultures allow individuals who are otherwise isolated within an impersonal city to form connections with others often their neighbours WAYS OF LOOKINGAT...THE ENVIRONMENT FUNCTIONALISM – everyone is implicated in the pollution of the environment ex) cornucopia view of nature - nature as a storehouse of resources that exists only for the use of humans ex2) growth ethic - this view linked closed with materialism celebrates the imagined ability of technology to easily solve all the problems in the world including those that technology itself caused - things will always get better and therefore encourages us to discard just about everything in favour of the production and consumption of new items ex3) individualism - privileges personal goals and desires over collective interests as driving force of 'tragedy of the commons' (Garrett Hardin); unwelcome result of actions by many self-interested individuals acting independently that taken together deplete a shared limited resource, even though none intended to have this effectCRITICALTHEORY – when environmental problems arise, they hurt the poor more often and more severely than they do the rich – disasters result more often from 'the spread of capitalism and the marginalization of the poor than from the effects of geophysical events' SYMBOLIC INTERACTIONISM – studies how the meanings and thought patterns learned in social interaction affect environmental problems, with a particular focus on how they influence people's perception of these problems – why and how certain environmental problems enter the public consciousness – looks at how environmental polluters manipulate symbols to protect themselves from criticism - many companies use 'greenwashing'; technique involving redesigning and repackaging their products as 'environmentally friendly' or
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