Sociology Index


Books on Urban Sociology, Urban Sociology

As in the notion of modernity, urbanism refers to the form of social organization and values typically found in large urban settings. The values in urbanism are those of individualism and impersonality and the major characteristics of social organization are a developed division of labor, high rates of geographic and social mobility and predominance of impersonality in social interaction despite the acute social interdependence.

Alfred Agache, French Sociology, and Modern Urbanism in France and Brazil - David K. Underwood, The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Vol. 50, No. 2 (Jun., 1991)

Abstract: The 1930 master plan for Rio de Janeiro, drawn up by the French architect-urbanist Alfred Agache, had an important impact on Rio and on the development of modern planning in Brazil.

Reflecting the socioscientific methods of Edmond Demolins and the Musee Social in Paris as well as the sociological ideas of Gabriel Tarde and Emile Durkheim, the plan exemplifies the ambitions and techniques of the urbanism of the Societe Francaise d'Urbanistes (SFU).

Agache, a leading theorist, teacher, and practitioner of SFU urbanism, developed a sociological urbanisme parlant that evolved out of his Beaux-Arts training and his background in French sociology. Agache's ideas on the fine arts and urban planning were synthesized and refined in the courses on social art history and urbanism, the first of their kind in France, that he taught at the College Libre des Sciences Sociales in Paris. In defining theoretically and expressing artistically the Brazilian capital's urban program in terms of the fine art of applied sociology, Agache provided the Brazilians with a blueprint for socioeconomic and moral reform on the levels of both urban and national development.

New Agendas for Social Policy and Criminology: Globalization, Urbanism and the Emerging Post-Social Security State, Tony Fitzpatrick, School of Sociology and Social Policy, Nottingham
Abstract: The subjects of social policy and criminology have long been concerned with the criminalization and regulation of the poor. The premise of this paper is that in recent years new forms of criminalization and regulation have emerged that various authors, from both disciplines, have begun to theorize. The paper aims to contribute to this growing literature by bringing together diverse themes that deserve to be extensively discussed in conjunction with one another. These are: first, globalization; second, the changing nature of the state; third, the reorganization of space and time, especially at the urban level. It proceeds through examinations of some of the recent work of Jock Young, David Garland, Ramesh Mishra, Peter Taylor-Gooby and Zygmunt Bauman. It concludes that theoretical and empirical research should analyse the reorganization of space and time which is being effected by the "post-social security state" and it is this which constitutes the new agenda for social policy and criminology.

The Role of the Family and Women Under Contemporary Urbanism
Authors: Mackenzie, Suzanne; Seymour, Lee 
This paper examines how selected aspects of contemporary urban environment influence the form and function of the family and the position of women within the family and within society. The study was undertaken within the framework of Marxian analysis and with a specific focus on how advanced industrial capitalism perpetuates the family in its present form. The hypothesis is that the positions of the family and of women have changed fundamentally since the capitalist mode of production brought about a spatial and functional separation between domestic and industrial activities. Specific indications of this separation include that the means of making a livelihood passed from the hands of the family into the hands of the capitalist class, women were left with only the responsibility for the domestic sphere, women and children were drafted as cheap labor and kept in unskilled positions, women became financially dependent on men, and the family unit became peripheral to commodity production. Review of socialization, historical, and political-economics literature indicates that, in addition to these historical influences, several other phenomena have contributed to the position of the family and of women in modern urban societies. Among these phenomena are sprawling urban housing patterns (which encourage individualized and spatially isolated family units and artificial stimulation of consumption), the perpetuation of this isolated family function in accordance with the long term nature of housing resources, and capitalism's inherent necessity for growth in the form of more consumption units structured along these same lines. Additional research is suggested on the role of women in the family under capitalism in the contemporary urban environment.

Street culture - The dialectic of urbanism in Walter Benjamin’s Passagen-werk 
Joseph D. Lewandowski, Department of Philosophy, Central Missouri State University,
Philosophy & Social Criticism, Vol. 31, No. 3, 293-308 (2005)
This article develops a sociological reading of Walter Benjamin’s ‘Arcades Project’, or Passagen-werk. Specifically, the essay seeks to make explicit Benjamin’s non-dualistic account of structure and agency in the urban milieu. I characterize this account as the ‘dialectic of urbanism’, and argue that one of the central insights of Benjamin’s Passagen-werk is that it locates an emergent and innovative cultural form - a distinctive ‘street culture’ or jointly shared way of modern urban life - within haussmannizing techniques of architectural administration and spatial domination. In the modern metropolis, Benjamin sees a new kind of collective - an embedded and effervescent sociocultural group held together not by the functionalist imperatives of capitalist urban planning but by an improvisational mode of street life.

Urbanism, Race, and Crime 
John H. Laub, College of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University Boston, Massachusetts 
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 20, No. 2, (1983)
There is general agreement that urbanism is an important correlate of criminality. However, the interpretation of the relation is a matter of theoretical dispute. Some argue that differences in crime rates across the urban-rural dimension can be attributed to differences in the compositions of the populations residing in those areas. The most common argument is that there is a confounding effect between urbanism and race. This paper uses National Crime Survey data to test the compositional argument. The findings imply a reconsideration of the accepted relationship between urbanism and crime generally portrayed in the criminological literature. Data limitations are noted.

Type of Place, Urbanism, and Delinquency: Further Testing the Determinist Theory 
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Vol. 30, No. 2, (1993) � 1993 SAGE Publications
This research examines the relationship between type of place and juvenile delinquency in an effort to extend knowledge about determinism or the "determinist" theory. This theory predicts a positive relationship between type of place and delinquency, and that relationship will be mediated by "urbanism," the negative consequences of exposure to urban environments. The theory is tested using two measures of type of place, six measures of urbanism, and three delinquency indexes. The results provide little support for the determinist theory. Delinquency does not predict urbanness, and urbanness does not predict urbanism. Urbanism does, however, prove to be a significant predictor of delinquency. -

Society, State, and Urbanism: Ibn Khaldun's Sociological Thought by Fuad Baali 
Review: Christopher Prendergast, Contemporary Sociology, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Jul., 1989)

Tokyo Urbanism (Anthropology 470)
Instructor: David Slater
Course Description: The city has been at the center of much of the most important developments in the social science (including modernization, urbanization, class and race relations), and today it is once again at the forefront of social theory (see postmodernism, transnationalism, identity politics and social geography). By the same token, the city in general and Tokyo in particular, has been a very important feature in modern Japanese history. 
This course attempts to position Tokyo within this growing literature from urban studies. We will not try to construct any single perspective on the city. Instead, we will call upon a wide range of approaches to see how they might be used and adapted to the study of Tokyo. I say adapted because most of our readings take as their tacit referent European and Anglo-American urban contexts. Reading with Tokyo in mind enables use to reexamine this literature in a new and largely unexplored context. 
By juxtaposing urban “theory” with Tokyo “ethnography” taken from both literature and our own excursions out beyond the class room, it is my hope that we all will walk out into our city with a new perspective.
Unlike in years past, we will spend more time on the theoretical readings and less on the history and ethnography of Tokyo. Some Tokyo readings will be included in each thematic section in order to give you some orientation, but more often the engagement with Tokyo will come from your own explorations in and around the city. Your final paper will have to engage Tokyo in some substantive way, “opperationalizing” our theoretical readings. (This will be explained in more detail as we go through the course).