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SOC205H1 (16)
Chapter 5

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Brent Berry

Chapter 5  Old model : community based on place  New model: based on interests  Community: complex set of relationships that operates at several different levels not just neighboring o Many definitions of community  Changes in the past 100 years  Recent debates about demise of ‘community’ consequences  Feidinand Tonnies identified the term of Gemeinschaft relations  Gemeinshaft relations usually translated as community. Describes those social relations that included neighbourness, informal social control and that valued needs of the group over individual, sense of togetherness based on commonality, physical proximity and stability  Tonnies argued that in a village or small town, Gemeinschaft relations predominated.  Durkheim used the term mechanical solidarity to define the same homogenous, pre- industrial society.  Mechanical solidarity was a solidarity that developed out of common beliefs and sentiments within a group.  The late nineteenth century was also a time of change. Tonnies believed the social relations were increasingly less characteristic of Gemeinschaft and growing more characteristic of Gesellschaft.  Tonnie described Gesellschaft as a direct result of the transformation from a folk-type society to a modern, urban, capitalist society, formal, impersonal, individualistic.  In America, Durkheim’s concern about a complex division of labour and Tonnies’s concern about the loss of a folk-type society were replaced early in the twentieth century by concern about the fate of community as a result of urbanization.  Human ecology: the relationship between people and their environment  Robert Park (1915) suggested that the modern methods of urban transportation and communication-the electric railway, and automobile, and the telephone-have silently and rapidly changed in recent years the social and industrial organization of the modern city o Primary groups—intimate association characterized by face-to-face association important in forming group norms and ideals. o Secondary groups—better described as ‘interactions’ than as relationships. They are fleeting exchanges between strangers or routine instrumental interactions, such as those between customer and store clerk.  Wirth argued that city and rural life were polar opposites o The size of the urban environment made it impossible for all urban residents to know each other and as a result necessitated the shift from primary to secondary relationships. o Wirth observed that the density and heterogeneity of the urban environment led people to live in homogeneous groups. o Wirth argued that mixing across groups was difficult, and as a result urban residents were highly segmented  Urban ethnography—a method of studying urban culture and organization first hand through participant observation and non-participant observation  Suburbanization—the growth of low-density, single-family residential communities on the outskirts of the central city—thought to produce homogeneity-people searching for anonymity—exchanging community for privacy  Empirical—replying on or providing evidence based on observations or experiments  Suburban environments did not directly determine the behavior of its residents— reduced the dominance of the Chicago schools human ecology within the study of urban sociology  Community and social network o Ethnographic focus on solitary relations in very specific localities—ignored the existence of weaker social ties, non-clustered ties, and ties to those at a distance-technological changes contribute to decentralization of social relations o Social network analysis---the study of social structure based on an analysis of the
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