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Saskia Sassen

In: The SAGE Handbook of Sociology

Chapter 27: The City: Its Return as a Lens for Social Theory

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The City: Its Return as a Lens for Social Theory
The city: Its return as a lens for social theory

The city has long been a strategic site for the exploration of many major subjects confronting society and sociology. But it has not always been a heuristic space – a space capable of producing knowledge about some of the major transformations of an epoch. In the first half of the twentieth century, the study of cities was at the heart of sociology. This is evident in the work of Simmel, Weber, Benjamin, Lefebvre and, most prominently, the Chicago School, especially Park and Wirth, both deeply influenced by German sociology. These sociologists confronted massive processes – industrialization, urbanization, alienation, a new cultural formation they called urbanity'. Studying ...

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