Social Structure and Personality in a City

Social Structure and Personality in a City

Social Structure and Personality in a City

Social Structure and Personality in a City

Excerpt

In 1949, the Social Sciences Research Committee of the Australian National Research Council undertook to sponsor for UNESCO two community studies in Australia, one urban and one rural. They were to be part of an international study of communities and social tensions, the other countries taking part being India, France and Sweden. The Department of Psychology at Melbourne University was asked to carry out the Australian project.

The material reported in the City Studies is drawn from a number of researches carried out in the period 1947-50 by staff and students of the Department, in particular by those associated with the course entitled 'Collective Behaviour'. This preface is intended to give brief outlines of these researches and to acknowledge the work of the many persons who have been of assistance.

PRELIMINARY STUDIES

The Department of Psychology at the University of Melbourne was founded in 1946, and the first course in Collective Behaviour was given in 1947. From the beginning it was decided that this course was to be broadened to include the systematic training of students for research in social psychology. Consequently, several innovations were made in the traditional methods of teaching psychology.

One was the carrying out of class projects, of which the first was an exercise in the construction of a scale for measuring anti-semitism, using the Thurstone 'method of external judgements'. Another was to group the students of the course into syndicates of five, so that the work was carried out by teams rather than by individuals. Whenever possible teams or syndicates have been used throughout the later researches.

In 1948 the Department undertook to carry out a study of attitudes towards other races and nations for the Dyason Educational Trust (now called the Espada Trust), as an aspect of the study of tensions. This project also was carried out by staff and students of the Collective Behaviour class. It comprised three separate researches:

The first was a survey of the opinions of 370 adults drawn at random from the electoral rolls for Greater Melbourne, each adult being interviewed for about three-quarters of an hour. The issues . . .

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