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Return to Book Page. Preview — Urban Sociology by William G. The fifth edition of this text presents a balanced review of the ecological arguments that the urban arena produces unique experiential and urban-based cultural effects while exploring the broader political and economic contexts that produce and modify the urban environment.

In addition to examining the urban dimensions of such topics as community formation and continuity, The fifth edition of this text presents a balanced review of the ecological arguments that the urban arena produces unique experiential and urban-based cultural effects while exploring the broader political and economic contexts that produce and modify the urban environment. In addition to examining the urban dimensions of such topics as community formation and continuity, minority and majority dynamics, ethnic experience, poverty, power, and crime, it provides an analysis of the spatial distribution of population and resources with regard to the metropolitanization of the urban form, and the interaction between urban concentration and development and underdevelopment.


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  • - Urban Sociology: Images and Structure by William G. Flanagan.

From a first chapter that begins with a discussion of some of the more micrological features of the urban experience, the text focuses on the significance of the more macrological cultural, social organizational, and political dimensions of urban change, in an historical span that includes the first cities and concludes with an exploration of the implications of cyberspace, transnationalism, and global terrorism for the future of urban sociology.

While the work focuses primarily on the North American case, its analytical and integrated discussion makes it applicable to urban societies in general. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages.

Sociological Perspectives on Urban Life

More Details Original Title. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Urban Sociology , please sign up. Lists with This Book. All news. Skip to content Browse. Civic tech barometer Rythms in Social Sciences Synopsum. The latest news Increasingly high rents One likely result would be a much larger set of categories by which to classify settlements and a more logical array of typologies.

That might encourage urban sociologists to study some of each of the kinds of settlements in which most Americans live, work, and play. Once the intellectual borders in which the current typology has trapped the field are opened, researchers now called urban sociologists can take their concepts from all over the disciplinary map. In fact, because every last one of the structures, processes, cultures, and other phenomena that are studied in sociology's many fields take place in one or another kind of settlement, the concepts that are applied in all these fields can be used by settlement sociologists as well.

The Sociology of Urban Society

In theory, the concepts that scientists use do not have to reflect those of the lay world. Thus, theoretical physicists can work with string theory and dark matter but are not required to conduct studies of heaven or even the sky. However, social scientists, and sociologists especially, cannot distance themselves quite as casually from lay concepts. Indeed, sociologists themselves will be hard put to look at settlements and not see them as cities or suburbs or small towns. Even the term urban evokes so many images, social processes, and structures that it is as difficult to drop from everyday discourse as from the field's conceptual repertoire.

Being realistic, the old typology will not soon disappear from sociological thought. However, in that case urban sociologists should begin to further develop and systematize the field's basic typology or formulate typologies that connect with the research questions being studied. There is at least one other possibility: to divide what is now a single field into four. One field would essentially continue today's urban sociology for those whose interest is limited to cities. However, that field should then be renamed the sociology of the city.

The second field would be the sociology of settlements I have outlined above. A third field, which is especially necessary to grasp the complexity of settlements, would be devoted to community studies, a genre that has always been related to urban sociology but cuts across and is useful to other fields in the discipline.

Sociology of “Urban Space” as a Social Medium, and as a Medium of Perception and Experience

Qualitative community studies are particularly necessary, whether they involve participant observation or interviewing or both, because they can grasp the richness of social processes, structures, and cultures in ways other research methods cannot. They also permit thick descriptions of the everyday lives of people, groups, and institutions.

The fourth field is spatial sociology, which needs to be separated from urban sociology because spatial analyses should be undertaken in virtually all fields of the discipline. Why spatial analysis has surfaced in and has been restricted to urban sociology as much as it has is therefore puzzling. The separate field is needed for another reason; spatial analysis deviates too much from the other ways of doing urban sociology.

However, one of the dominant forms of spatial analysis has a very different agenda, to show that space and place have independent social effects that can shape a variety of aspects of social life prior to social intervention. Moreover, this spatial analysis takes such effects for granted and thus only needs to describe them rather than discover them by empirical study. Whether space and place have social effects and if so, what kinds of effects, is a worthwhile question for empirical analysis.

However, that analysis must also consider the likelihood that these effects are themselves socially caused. Consequently, the analysis must trace the causal processes by which settlement structures and institutions turn space into place, and then see what social effects follow. As long as turning space into place and a built environment costs money, one major social cause is generally to be found in the settlement economy and its distribution of capital and income.

Thus, looking at the social effects of space and of place making is the last stage in a long causal analysis.


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Spatial research that incorporates this or similar models would be a useful field in any future urban sociology. One of these days, the sociology of settlements, whatever it is called, will expand to cover virtual settlements. When more people spend a larger part of their lives on the web or its successors so that the places they create and the environments they build will be located in and on virtual space, the social effects and other complexities of physical space and place may become clearer. The comparative study of physical and virtual settlements should be productive for our understanding of both.

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Volume 8 , Issue 3. The full text of this article hosted at iucr. If you do not receive an email within 10 minutes, your email address may not be registered, and you may need to create a new Wiley Online Library account. If the address matches an existing account you will receive an email with instructions to retrieve your username. Free Access.

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