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What is URBAN SOCIOLOGY? What does URBAN SOCIOLOGY mean? URBAN SOCIOLOGY meaning – URBAN SOCIOLOGY definition – URBAN SOCIOLOGY explanation
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ license.
Urban sociology is the sociological study of life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. It is a normative discipline of sociology seeking to study the structures, processes, changes and problems of an urban area and by doing so provide inputs for planning and policy making. In other words, it is the sociological study of cities and their role in the development of society. Like most areas of sociology, urban sociologists use statistical analysis, observation, social theory, interviews, and other methods to study a range of topics, including migration and demographic trends, economics, poverty, race relations and economic trends.
The philosophical foundations of modern urban sociology originate from the work of sociologists such as Karl Marx, Ferdinand Tönnies, Émile Durkheim, Max Weber and Georg Simmel who studied and theorized the economic, social and cultural processes of urbanization and its effects on social alienation, class formation, and the production or destruction of collective and individual identities.
These theoretical foundations were further expanded upon and analyzed by a group of sociologists and researchers who worked at the University of Chicago in the early twentieth century. In what became known as the Chicago School of sociology the work of Robert Park, Louis Wirth and Ernest Burgess on the inner city of Chicago revolutionized the purpose of urban research in sociology but also the development of human geography through its use of quantitative and ethnographic research methods. The importance of the theories developed by the Chicago School within urban sociology have been critically sustained and critiqued but still remain one of the most significant historical advancements in understanding urbanization and the city within the social sciences.
Many theories in urban sociology have been criticized, most prominently directed toward the ethnocentric approaches taken by many early theorists that lay groundwork for urban studies throughout the 20th century. Early theories that sought to frame the city as an adaptable “superorganism” often disregarded the intricate roles of social ties within local communities, suggesting that the urban environment itself rather than the individuals living within it controlled the spread and shape of the city. For impoverished inner-city residents, the role of highway planning policies and other government-spurred initiatives instituted by the planner Robert Moses and others have been criticized as unsightly and unresponsive to residential needs. The slow development of empirically-based urban research reflects the failure of local urban governments to adapt and ease the transition of local residents to the short-lived industrialization of the city.
Some modern social theorists have also been critical toward the apparent shortsightedness that urban sociologists have shown toward the role of culture in the inner city. William Julius Wilson has criticized theory developed throughout the middle of the twentieth century as relying primarily on structural roles of institutions, and not how culture itself affects common aspects of inner-city life such as poverty. The distance shown toward this topic, he argues, presents an incomplete picture of inner-city life.The urban sociological theory is viewed as one important aspect of sociology.