Chicago school te 2


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A more in depth account of Chicago School- than previous introductory one.

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Chicago school te 2

  1. 1. Chicago School 2 Individual in Society
  2. 2. RECAP• The Chicago School – The Study of Human & Environment• Two Major Theoretical Elements• Symbolic Interactionism: the self emerges thru interaction with others• Urban Ecology: fundamental features of urban environment produce entire range of urban social behaviour
  3. 3. RECAP• Ecological approach to understanding cities – cities as ‘organisms’ (Darwinian adaptation again)• Individuals and Groups adapt to their environment and compete for space in the city• Dominant groups displace weaker groups• Landscape of the city reflects ongoing competition for space and resources
  4. 4. BURGESS• Concentric division of city• Zones identify outcome of competition, land use, residency and processes of social stratification
  5. 5. WIRTH• Follows Georg Simmel• “the city sets up a deep contrast with small town and rural life” The Metropolis and Mental Life• Wirth: Stresses:-• Greater importance of Mass Media• Greater Division of Labour• Weaker social control• Tendency to instrumental relationships
  6. 6. METHODOLOGY• Ethnography:- The direct observation of social activity & and description & evaluation of such activity• Can entail both Direct & Participant Observation
  7. 7. Also• MAPPING: The city• Shaw and McKay• Coordinating data from census electoral rolls etc spot maps to demonstrate the location of a range of social problems with a primary focus on juvenile delinquency; rate maps which divided the city into block of one square mile and showed the population by age, gender, ethnicity, etc.; zone maps which demonstrated that the major problems were clustered in the city centre.
  8. 8. LIFE HISTORY• Oral Histories• One to One Interviews• Written Diaries/Letters
  9. 9. Strengths• Gives subjects chance to “tell their own stories in their own way” Hitchcock 1995• Can produce data that is rich, evocative personal and highly localised ibid• “Life History is superior that it enables the construction of a mosaic-like picture of individual and events Becker 1966• Needless to say such an approach requires great empathy with subject(s)
  10. 10. FOCUS OF STUDY• Social Worlds• Within The Larger Whole• A desire to go from “the specific to the general”
  11. 11. Natural Areas• Transitional urban structures in which social differences maintained themselves a larger undifferentiated society (Deegan 2001)• e.g.. The Jewish Ghetto Louis Wirth• Gold Coast and Slum Zorbagh 1929•
  12. 12. Taxi Dance Hall Cressey 1932 (below)Aim “to trace the natural history of the taxi dance hall as an urbaninstitution to discover those conditions.. Favourable to its rise .. To analyseits function in terms of.. basic wishes & needs of its patrons
  13. 13. • Cressey used Symbolic Interaction, social ecology & triangulated data to determine the natural history and functions of the institution
  14. 14. Symbolic Interaction• Cooley & The ‘Looking Glass Self’ - Social Self formed through our interpretation of others’ responses to our self presentation• Mead & the Social The Self• The ‘I’ – the instinctual, spontaneous part of the self (id?)• The ‘Me’ - (the social self) the self as a meaningful ‘object’ that is constructed and reconstructed in interaction and through which action is managed and impulses socialised (ego + superego?)
  15. 15. Therefore “The self is a social construct, that theway we come to act and see ourselves asindividuals is in part the result of the wayother people see us” Taylor Walton Young P142 1972 (my emphasis)
  16. 16. A Critical View• Urban Ecology; in stressing the “Organic” nature of urban development , the extent & role of planning & design on cities is underemphasized. Not all urban development is a “Natural Process”•
  17. 17. Spatial Models• Burgess’ Spatial Model of Concentric Zones is a North American phenomenon.• Critics have argued that such a model does not correspond to reality in Europe, Japan and developing countries
  18. 18. Theoretical IssuesSymbolic Interactionism:- with its focus on the pattern & mature of individual interactions SI take insufficient account of the influence that powerful institutions within the social structure bring to bear on daily life.
  19. 19. Ethnography• Often accused of ethnocentrism-a term imported from anthropology- in that they import values from their own backgrounds when making assessments & assumptions about social worlds.• Mary Jo Deegan says whilst “the white, male middle class perspective of many Chicago sociologists raises ..issues ..more subtle .. Complex theoretical problems need to be considered.•
  20. 20. • How many ways can the same be defined?• Can a stranger ever understand an insider or an alien culture?• What is the role of observation and its distinctiveness from voyeurism or spying?• What is reality?...Can anyone be objective”• Mary Joe Deegan The Chicago School of Ethnography 2001
  21. 21. Chicago:The Beat Goes On• • The Legacy: • Giddens: Structuration • Contemporary Symbolic Interactionism – making a comeback? (Plummer, Denzin, Hochschild, Brewer) • Studies of small town life • Close, intimate studies • Participant observation • Case studies • Multiple methods
  22. 22. And finally• Chicago Ethnographers.. Generated a vital picture of urban life grounded in local studies and a sympathetic eye on human behaviour Deegan op cit