Abbey Ritter-Week 3 Urban Sociology 327

Gemeinschaft is a sociological term meaning community. It is defined as a sociological model where social bonds are very important and based off of shared values and beliefs. Gemeinschaft represents a pre modern society while Gesllschaft represents our modern society. Gesllschaft is the opposite of Gemeinschaft. Instead of focusing on personal bonds, it refers to impersonal bonds and detached societies, which makes them much more complex. Both of these terms can describe the way of life for rural and urban living societies.


In the videos posted on our class blog site, the “Father of Sociology,” Emile Durkheim, describes the difference between modern and pre modern societies. Pre modern society, also known as Mechanical Solidarity, is based off individuals having the same jobs, values, and beliefs as one another. Modern society, also known as Organic Solidarity, focuses more on interdependence. This means individuals all having different jobs and roles but still depending and relying on one another. This reliance is what holds modern society together, according to Durkheim. Modern society is very individualistic and based off consumerism and “gratifying one self.” There are two different divisions of labor according to Durkehim. Pre modern divisions of labor everyone does the same things. Modern divisions of labor individuals have specialized roles and individuals cannot necessarily survive on their own. Mechanical Solidarity is focused on retributive justice whereas Organic Solidarity is focused on restitutive justice.

The work of the Early Chicago school focused on Simmel’s sociological studies. Simmel focused on how city life can contribute and transform an individuals consciousness. The Early Chicago school was more focused on studying social behavior and interaction within urban cities. In order to understand these studies one must first examine what define urbanization and urbanism. According to Gottdiener, Hutchison, and Ryan, “Urbanization refers to the origins of cities and the process of city building” (53). Sociologists refer to urbanization when studying the rise and fall of cities using history to compare. In contrast, urbanism studies the culture and patterns of daily life. This may involve daily activities, social and political conflict, and symbols and meanings. Characteristics of urbanism would be focusing on pure consumerism and monetary exchange. Simmel felt that urbanism and modernity meant the possibility to be an individual while also having constraints. The signs of signs of modernity were cultural freedom and individual cultivation.¬†

The concentric zone model was created by Ernest Burgess in 1923. It describes how cities grow, internally through the interior¬†structure of cities. The center of the model is the central business district which is basically the downtown of a city with commercial businesses. The next ring is the zonal transition. This ring has subdividing larger houses and apartments where most people rent. The next ring is the zone of working class which has modern houses which are newer and more spacious. The middle class usually occupies most of this zone. And the final ring is the commuter zone which is furthest from the city where mostly upper class residents live. Robert McKenzie studied urban trends when there were changes in transportation and communication before the 1850. In 1927 street gangs in Chicago were mainly of foreign extraction and Thrasher found that this was due to lack of opportunities for immigrants. Thrasher would locate gangs and provide detail of these areas. His studies showed the areas of Chicago that each gang covered and what the gangs were known as. The northside was home to the “Gloriannas, Death Corner, and Bughouse Square.” The westside was home to the “blackspots, the spark plugs, the beaners, and the hard boiled buckets-of-blood.” The south side of chicago was dominated by Poles and Italians known as the “Torpedos and So-So’s.” And the black gangs on the south side were called the “Wailing shebas and the wolves.” Thrashers research is important because it shows the important information he was able to accomplish through his exhaustive research. ¬†These immigrants were fighting for adjustment opportunities and wanted to defend their territory from outsiders.

In conclusion, one can see the varying theories from early sociologists. Sociologists have been examining and pondering social activity for quite some time. It is interesting to see the conflicting views of each sociologist and the factors that contribute to our modern society. Attending college in the city of Richmond, it is very awesome to be able to learn about how individuals adapt to the environment of a city such as this. We are affected by the social construction of cities and we also play a role in forming these social constructions.


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