Some Basic Facts• Sociologists based in the University of Chicago• Dominant in American Sociology esp. during inter war years• Famous for ground breaking studies of urban life
The Main Men• Founder Albion Small• Pioneer William Thomas• Innovator Robert Park• Key Thinker Ernest Burgess• Key Thinker Louis Wirth
Influences• Both Small and Thomas studied in Europe and were influenced by key German thinkers: notably
Key Assumptions• Cities manifest a way of life that differs radically from that found in rural (country) areas
Topics & Areas of Study1• Park and Burgess, focused on the way in which the spatial structure of the city emerged from the struggle for space and resources, with capitalism being merely one feature or medium of that struggle.• Main methods ethnography and spatial analysis
Topics & Areas of Study 2• Communities; Wirth: The Ghetto1928• Study of Jewish Community in Chicago• Places: Cressey: The Taxi Dance Hall a Sociological Study in Commercialized City Life 1932• Groups: White :Street Corner Society 1942
Key Aims• Sought To Identify and clarify the nature of and key factors that influence social interactions within modern urban environments
Therefore….• A distinct, branch of study is required in order to understand the dynamics of Urban Life• For many this marks the true birth of Urban Sociology as a discrete area of study with specific goals and distinct methodologies• For specialist area of study specialist theoretical tools are required
Definition• The City is defined as “a relatively large, dense, and permanent settlement of heterogeneous individuals• Louis Wirth Urbanism as a way of life 1938
KEY CONCEPT 1• The City is the divided into concentric zones
KEY CONCEPT 2• The Zone of Transition area 2 formerly a prosperous business area becomes run down and hosts a transitory population- area for socially problematic behaviours-vice, drugs, etc
Legacy• Introduced specialist Urban Sociology• Pioneered the use of Participant Observation within groups and Communities• Introduced and Developed Urban Ecology as a principle in understanding city life• Influenced a whole new generation of theorists both sides of the Atlantic
Including• Goffman Asyums, Presentation of Self In Everyday Society• Becker Outsiders and other key studies in Deviance• Blumer Self And Society
• Park and Burgess, focused on the way in which the spatial structure of the city emerged from the struggle for space and resources, with capitalism being merely one feature or medium of that struggle.• Main methods ethnography and spatial analysis
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