Studying the City
Over the last few weeks, we have discussed how the city has been studied as an object. In particular, we have compared and contrasted human ecological (HE) and political economic (PE) approaches. This assignment asks you to reconsider this work, effectively treating the study of the city as the object of analysis.
Your essay should address the following questions:
1. Manuel Castells argues that urban sociologists are writing less about the city as an object than they are about broad-scale social phenomena, such as rural to urban migration or mass society.
a. Within urban sociology the HE and PE models have been widely used. Discuss what you believe are the underlying motivations and concerns animating both.
b. What events or processes do you believe were occurring at the time this work was produced that may have informed it?
i. Note: You may need to do some Internet research to find specific details about such events.
2. David Harvey writes that cities are organized as they are due to a variety of social processes, none of which are inevitable. Can we say the same about the study of cities? If so, what social processes might these be?
3. Last, what might a new model for the study of cities look like? Which elements of the HE and PE approaches would you retain and what additional considerations should be made? Does it matter to the study of cities whether the researcher has a more pessimistic or optimistic view of cities?
Your final essay should be approximately 1250 words (5 pages double-spaced).
Please include a word count at the end of your essay, a bibliography, and number each page.
The main two readings are Manuel Castells “Theory and Ideology in Urban Sociology”
-The Link to this reading is: http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic1050993.files/2-15%20-%20Manuel%20Castells%20-%20Theory%20and%20ideology%20in%20Urban%20Sociology.pdf
The other main reading is David Harvey’s “Contested Cities: Social Processes and Spatial Form.” Although, I am not sure what the link is.
Examples of Political Economic reading’s we’ve done in class are:
-Harvey Molotch’s “City as a growth machine: Toward a political economy of cities.” The link to this is: http://www.soc.iastate.edu/sapp/soc506GrowthMachine.pdf
Kenneth Jackson’s “Metropolitan Growth in the US, Germany, and Japan since WWII”
-the link to this is: http://www.ghi-dc.org/publications/ghipubs/bu/038/11.pdf
Examples of the Human Ecological Approach reading’s we’ve done in class are:
-Louis Wirth’s “Urbanism as a way of life” (link is: http://www.sjsu.edu/people/saul.cohn/courses/city/s0/2768119Wirth.pdf)
-Georg Simmel’s “The Metropolis and Mental Life” (the link is: http://www.esperdy.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Simmel_21.pdf)
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