Cities in World Perspective

Cities in World Perspective

Cities in World Perspective

Cities in World Perspective

Excerpt

Urbanization is the process of city-making and peopling. Urbanism is the way of life of city people. Taken together, urbanization and urbanism are the subject matter of urban sociology. Cities in World Perspectives provides an introduction to this interesting and international subject.

Just what belongs in a basic introduction is, to some extent, a matter of judgment, but the center of gravity of informed opinion has changed more rapidly in the last decade than in the previous four (Walton 1976: 302). In general, changes in the field of urban studies have favored historical, internationally comparative, institutional, and Marxist approaches, and these trends are reflected in this book (Zukin, 1980). These new research directions have produced illuminations compelling thoughtful and informed students of the subject to rethink basic problems. On the good side, this obtrusive critique has prompted a "resurgence of intense and challenging theoretical debate" in the field of urban sociology (Saunders, 1980: 13). In marked contrast to the somnolent orthodoxy that prevailed a decade ago, urban sociology currently struggles to restrain the fragmentatior that arises from too much new thinking. The problem of integrating new materials is the raw aspect of intellectual breakthrough. In a historical sense, integration is impossible now, and must wait for solution upon the passage of time.

On the other hand, the effort to integrate, however halting, is the process by which urban sociology moves toward a new synthesis. People must have a big picture, but as Bendix has observed (1978: 15), there is a basic tension between the advance of knowledge--which depends upon specialization-and the integration of specialized results. The hazards and challenges of integration are so great . . .

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