3

Urbanisation and urbanism
In this chapter we look at the ways in which sociologists and social anthropologists have tried to understand the growth of towns-urbanisation, and the nature of social life in towns-urbanism.While it is true that there have been urban settlements in various human societies for something like the past 5000 years, not all towns were or are alike; their quality of 'townness' is often the result of very different influences. While it is probably obvious that ancient Rome and modern London are different-although we may not be able to define the differences very precisely-the differences between Lagos (Nigeria) and Paris might not be so easy to describe.When sociologists look at towns, they are, broadly speaking, interested in two sets of related problems. These are:
1. the social and economic reasons for the development of towns in particular places;
2. the types of social relation that characterise towns.

If we look at these ideas in more detail we will see first of all what is specific about the sociological approach, and secondly how the sociology of development deals with these problems from its particular perspective.

In one sense, when we look at the reasons for the development of a town, we are asking questions about its biography, its history. You may have been taught in geography lessons that big towns like Manchester developed because natural resources were nearby, and these could be processed using the available technology so as to produce cotton goods. That kind of explanation would only be the very beginning of a sociological explanation. It leaves unanswered questions such as: Why did that technology become available and profitable to use at that time?

-53-

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Sociology and Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vi
  • Part One - Introduction and Overview 1
  • 1 - Feeling the Effects of Development 3
  • 2 - Development Theory: the Light of Experience 33
  • Part Two - Town and Countryside 51
  • 3 - Urbanisation and Urbanism 53
  • 4 - Industrialisation 73
  • 5 - Rural Development: Entering the Market 95
  • 6 - Rural Development and Social Differentiation 112
  • 7 - State, Government and Education 130
  • 8 - Gender and Development 148
  • Part Three - Themes in the Sociology of Development 171
  • 9 - Defining and Measuring Development 173
  • 10 - Case Material 192
  • Glossary 219
  • Bibliography 225
  • Index 229
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