SOCY 327- WEEK 12- GABRIELA MONJE

In chapter 9, comparative Urbanism, it talks about the various reasons why urban public behavior is important. This is because it is helpful in representing different cultures, which is seen as the urban way of life and often has positive effects on the lives of city dwellers. More specifically, Daniel J. Monti argues that cities continue to inspire both a public spirit and a civic mindedness among their inhabitants. They have an ability to coexist and cooperate in the everyday routines of public habits and customs; this is in the manifestation of a civic culture. In addition, with its elements that are being borrowed or adapted to from other cultures, helps the many different groups of people of a city get along and make sense of the world they are living in. Within each city, they have a distinct style, temperament, and public rhythms, therefore, generalizations are often misleading. So, although there is unevenness of some aspects of civic culture, other parts work well throughout the city because they are shared. To be more exact, these are found in the “ceremonies, customs, and codes for appropriate public behavior.” These are essentially expressions of how persons in that place have worked out a way to be together in public, while still carrying on their private lives peaceably and predictability. An example was given how urbanities typically line up awaiting the arrival of a bus in a single line rather than a cluster. This is unspoken, untaught norm of civic culture which is quickly learned and allows strangers to be mutually respectful of one another and stand in an orderly manner once the bus arrives. In this example and other urban public behavior, it shows how these reflect the shared values, norms, and practices of a civic culture that makes it possible for all groups of people to become part of an inclusive community. The presence of this civic culture implies a practical existence that works and makes sense to city residents and it may appear in a blend of conservative and liberal practices.

Furthermore, there are some differences and similarities between (Ming Beijing) Peking and Hellenic Athens. First, Beijing, formerly called Peking has a 3,000-year history and was established in northeastern China to protect the country from invaders from the north. During the 19th century C.E., when the Yuan emperor ruled China, Kublai Khan transformed Beijing into a capital city. However, in 1368, the emperor Yung Lo spared no expense in transforming the city into a monument to all of Chinese culture and to himself as a symbolic head of the culture. The design of the city created to symbolize everything vital to Chinese life, arranged the whole city on a perfect north-south axis with temples and altars around. Beijing had a southern section, called the Outer City or Chinese City which contained most of the city’s population. Whereas, in the northern section, had a different character; referred as the Tartar City or Inner City that was surrounded by a massive wall. In addition, centered locally within the walls of Tartar City was another area called Imperial city. It was protected by another wall and consisted with artificially constructed lakes and hills and was the focus of the political and religious power of Ming Civilization. Ming Beijing was based on elaborate Chinese cosmology, with its various temples and altars serving as religious symbols of the sun, earth and heaven. More specifically, the Chinese believed that everything revolved around the “Son of Heaven,” the emperor, as the northern most major city of China, Beijing became the emperor’s capital. Moreover, Ming Beijing is an example of the city’s ability to intensify culture because it was a symbolic world, a whole city that was built on the cultural themes of harmony with nature, security and power. In Beijing, the priests were “specialists” who were sequestered within the walls of the Forbidden City.

In comparison, in Hellenic Athens, which was situated on the rocky northern coast of the Mediterranean. At the heart of this Golden Age was the city of Athens, which lead to an identification of Athenian culture almost synonymous with its Greek achievement. In the preclassical period, four migrating tribes settled in Athens and came under the control of feudal overlords called selves. By the 8th century, these overlords were responsible for several hundred independent Greek city-states or poli. In the Golden Age, Athenian life was seen as the celebration of human possibilities. The people had a belief in democracy, which was grounded historically, for the city-states that preceded the Golden Age were independent units. This fierce independence help characterize the Greek citizen, so when Athens was close to revolution, Solon proposed a reorganizational of the Athenian constitution. This allowed all “free citizens” a place in the city’s governing body, also known as the assembly. Moreover, the ideals of human development and versatility were important to Hellenic civilization. Athenians developed the body through constant work, exercise, and sport which included the Olympic Games. They also managed their spiritual life differently, they had no system of formal or mystical religion, they placed the gods at great distance from the people of the city. In Athens, the “priest” was just another layman who made no prophecies and executed his religious duties as part of his civic duties. In addition, the wealth and leisurely pace of Athens during the Golden Age rested on the goods and services of others. Their culture was of a character different that of Ming Beijing, Athens seemed to be more humane in character.

Capitalism made the symbolism of the city change. Under the influence of capitalism, spawned cities where economic gain was an unrestrained obsession. Prior to living capitalism, there were several factors that prompted this change. First, there was the feudal order of the Middle Ages that began to erode as merchants mainly in the cities gained power. These merchants want to broaden their market so they established trade routes among cities all over Europe between 1200-1500. However, some downfalls of the capitalistic city included major urban population growth, but an increase in economic vitality. Now there were no longer bound to lords and manors, individual workers could sell their labor to whoever would pay them the highest wages. Unfortunately, this led to economic activity becoming competitive, since everyone was striving for profits, workers, to get the greatest economic benefits and they had to outdo each other somehow. In addition, millions of poor families lived in the cities and many unprofitable districts fell into shocking decay. Within these areas, people suffered greatly and since people are now more focused on material goods and technological innovations, which meant they were less mindful of social and environmental needs that required further attention. Lastly, most streets in urban areas are arranged on a grid because it is the most efficient and economical approach. Land surveyors, real-estate speculators, builders draw up the deeds and can benefit from such uniformity.

1 comment for “SOCY 327- WEEK 12- GABRIELA MONJE

  1. December 10, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Very detailed essay; great job!

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