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SOC205H1 (16)
Chapter 3

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Brent Berry

Chapter 3 Three main divisions in urban sociology o orientation vs structuralist orientation o spatial vs associational emphasis o realist vs constructionist interpretation  Culturalist orientation deals with the experiential aspect of cities, addressing how urban life feels, how people react to living in an urban setting and how the city organized personal lives.  The structuralist orientation hold the ultimate causes of urban ways of thinking and acting are found externally in wider patterns of power and wealth in society The Chicago School  Human ecology-evolving physical form of the city st  Urban ethnography-method of studying urban culture and organization 1 hand through participant observation and non-participant observation  The city was composed of a constellation of different social worlds or natural areas.  Cressey provided what is possibly the first systematic account of the challenges and ethical dilemmas of doing ethnographic research.  Combined theory and ethnographic fieldwork in studying Chicago  Originated the symbolic interactionist approach, social disorganization theory, subcultural theory, and the methods for ecological analysis.  Ecological studies, making spot maps of place of occurrence of specific behaviors, including alcoholism, homicides, suicides, psychoses, and poverty, and then computing rates based on census data. A visual comparison of the maps could identify the concentration of centain types of behavior in some areas, correlations of the rate by areas were not made until later.  1915 park published key essay “THE CITY”  Park was interested in o Evolving physical form of the city(its different types of land uses)---> human ecological perspective o How the city was composed of mix of different social worlds, each with its own distinct language, traditions and way of life---> urban ethnography  Chicago School Contributor—Luis Wirth o Family immigrated from Germany to the U. S. Midwest when he was 14, lived adult life in Chicago o He studied how immigrant groups adjusted to urban life (especially Jewish immigrants), and the distinct social processes of the city. o Believed in the potential of sociology for solving real problems (strong supporter of applied sociology) o Found both positive and negative effects of city life, and his framing of them still guides our understanding of urban life today. o Had a profound interest and understanding of minority groups through firsthand knowledge as a immigrant Jew…has since been applied to other groups  Urbanism as a way of life 1938 o Classic essay in urban sociology for its contribution of theory of urbanism  Urban lifestyle  Function of population density, size, and heterogeneity o Negative effects of urbanism  Urbanism is a form of social organization that can harm culture  Its substitute secondary for primary contacts, weakening the bonds of kinship and diminishing the social significance of the family  Also contributes to the disappearance of neighbourhood and undermines the traditional basis of the social solidarity  Wirth was concerned that urbanism was in party affecting family unity by lowering reproductive rates and postponing marriage, resulting in larger families  This postponement ultimately leads to more single people and social isolation( less interaction) o Positive effects of urbanism  The growth of cities has had a modernizing effect on civilization  There was a lot of optimism for how science and the machine age could solve durable human social problems  There was tendency to view cities from a functionalist perspective that would come into equilibrium to solve disputes (biological analogy)  Wirth said that “Metropolitan civilization is without question the best civilization that human beings have even devised” o Because of freedom, toleration its center of progress, invention, science ,and rationality o The history of civilization is a history of cities o Today we are more so than ever an urban nation and cities are widely thought to be the economic engines of society  However despite the durable contribution of Wirth, there were some blind spots that later came into focus as cities have further changed over the 20 century Five theoretical models 1. Human ecology model  Park treated human ecology as at best a loose collection of concepts borrowed from plants and animal biology and applied to human collectivities.  The breakdown of the city into separate communities bounded by transportation and barriers within which distinct cultures are developed  Human ecologists argued the city reflects the sub social competition for space and resources  American industry cities were said to be dominated by industrial and commercial interest  As land become scarcer and more prohibitively expensive in the central business district more marginal uses such as warehousing and light manufacturing established themselves in the surrounding ‘zone in transition  Roderick McKenzie set four key ecological processes i. Specialization and segregation of population and land uses ii.Centralization of popular and specialized services and activities iii. Population concentration as the result of concentrated patterns of commercial and industrial growth iv. Invasion and succession—the processes whereby one segment of the urban population makes an incursion into the territory another and eventually replace it  Alihan dismissed their emphasis on sub-social, ecological forces as wrong-headed; the dominant influences on the city, she insisted, were social and culture  Form argued that land values were not determined by impersonal, automatic mechanism, rather they were linked to political processes such as zoning and urban renewal  Hatt disputed the assumption that natural areas could be immediately identified in Chicago and other industrial cities. It makes more sense, he claimed, to regared these natural areas as deliberately constructed from census tract data by the urban researcher
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