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A journalist and sociologist, Robert Park (1864–1944) was one of the charismatic figures around whom the Chicago School of urban sociology coalesced in the 1920s and 1930s. Influenced by Georg Simmel's conception of sociology as the study of patterns in human behavior that result from the “formal” properties of social interaction, Park added a dash of Herbert Spencer's social Darwinism and envisioned society as an ecological order where individuals cooperate and compete in the struggle for survival. Before joining the Chicago department at the age of 50, Park worked as a newspaper reporter in Minneapolis, Detroit, New York, and Chicago and later as a public relations consultant for Booker T. Washington and the Tuskegee Institute. These settings helped forge his substantive interests: in cities, the ...

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