Previous Chapter Chapter 10: Embracing the Cultures of Urban People and Places

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Embracing the Cultures of Urban People and Places
Embracing the cultures of urban people and places

Social analysts and philosophers look at the social world in two very different but surprisingly complementary ways. One might choose other words to describe their respective positions, but the ones Charles, Louise, and Richard Tilly (1975, pp. 1–11) came up with almost 40 years ago worked pretty well then and still make sense today. They grouped these worldviews into two categories: “breakdown” theories and “solidarity” theories.

The scholars who think the world is breaking down see the institutions, customs, codes, habits, values, and beliefs that people have made as badly divided or fractured, perhaps irreparably so. Under such conditions people would be expected to fight with each other a great ...

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