Providing a thorough and comprehensive survey of the contemporary urban world that is accessible to students, Urban People and Places: The Sociology of Cities, Suburbs, and Towns will give balanced treatment to both the process by which cities are built (i.e., urbanization) and the ways of life practiced by people that live and work in more urban places (i.e., urbanism) unlike most core texts in this area. Whereas most texts focus on the socio-economic causes of urbanization, this text analyses the cultural component: how the physical construction of places is, in part, a product of cultural beliefs, ideas, and practices and also how the culture of those who live, work, and play in various places is shaped, structured, and controlled by the built environment. Inasmuch as the primary focus will be on the United States, global discussion is composed with an eye toward showing how U.S. cities, suburbs, and towns are different and alike from their counterparts in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America

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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