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The Urban World, 9 th Ed. J. John Palen. Chapter 7: Urban Culture and Lifestyles. Introduction Social Psychology of Urban Life Reevaluations of Urbanism and Social Disorganization Characteristics of Urban Populations Urban Lifestyles A Final Note of Caution Summary. Introduction.

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chapter 7 urban culture and lifestyles
Chapter 7: Urban Culture and Lifestyles
  • Introduction
  • Social Psychology of Urban Life
  • Reevaluations of Urbanism and Social Disorganization
  • Characteristics of Urban Populations
  • Urban Lifestyles
  • A Final Note of Caution
  • Summary
introduction
Introduction
  • Move to the consideration of the city as a unique social organizational form and social milieu
  • Urbanism rather than urbanization
  • Understanding the influences of the beliefs and myths about city, suburban, and rural life
social psychology of urban life
Social Psychology of Urban Life
  • Early Formulations
    • Tönnies’s description of the shift from gemeinschaft (a community where ties are based upon kinship)to gesellschaft (a society based on common economic, political, and other interests)
    • Karl Marx’s dichotomy between the urban and the rural
    • In all frameworks, the rural represents the past
slide5

The Chicago School

    • Concerned with examining scientifically the changes produced by urbanization
    • Influenced by Georg Simmel’s earlier vision of the social-psychological consequences of city life
  • “Urbanism as a Way of Life”
    • Louis Wirth argued that the city created a distinct way of life—called “urbanism”—that is reflected in how people dress and speak, what they believe about the social world, what they consider worth achieving, what they do for a living, where they live, with whom they associate, and why they interact with other people
reevaluations of urbanism and social disorganization
Reevaluations of Urbanism and Social Disorganization
  • Determinist Theory
    • Wirthian social disorganization, which included decline of family and weakening of bonds, breakdown of primary groups, and decline of cultural homogeneity
    • Community Lost: urbanization is said to more or less automatically produce the characteristics of urbanism as a way of life
  • Compositional Theory
    • Gans suggests that the city is composed of not just one urban way of life but rather a wide variety of lifestyles
    • The nature of the individual’s local community and primary groups are most important
slide7

Subcultural Theory

    • Claude Fischer argues that space does matter, and there is something different about cities
    • Urbanization strengthens and intensifies subcultural groups
    • Being middle class in a small town is not the same as being middle class in a city
    • Size does matter
characteristics of urban populations
Characteristics of Urban Populations
  • Age
    • Urban population is younger than rural because they attract immigrants
    • Cities have more activities for young adults
  • Gender
    • Less-developed countries have a higher proportion of urban males
    • Developed countries there is a higher likelihood that single women will leave rural areas for city jobs
slide9

Race, Ethnicity, and Religion

    • Cities more heterogeneous than small towns
    • Raises the potential of intergroup cleavage, competition, and conflict
      • More likely when represented by socioeconomic status boundaries
  • Socioeconomic Status
    • North American cities have been losing middle-class residents since World War II
    • Overall city income averages tend to hide sharp individual and neighborhood variations in socioeconomic status
urban lifestyles
Urban Lifestyles
  • Cosmopolites
    • Urban sophisticates, most often having incomes to match their lifestyles
  • Unmarried or Childless
    • Overlap with the cosmopolites; younger and apartment dwellers
    • Brains have replaced money and accomplishment trumps religion and wealth
  • Gay Households
    • Estimated to be some 8.8 million gay, lesbian, or bisexual persons in the United States
    • According to the U.S. census, gay male households are more likely to live in downtown gay neighborhoods, while lesbians more commonly reside in suburban areas
slide11

Ethnic Villagers

    • Residents in neighborhoods dominated by a single ethnic group often called “urban villagers” or “urban provincials”
    • Often mislabeled as slums
  • Neighborhood Characteristics
    • Territoriality: strong sense of territory
    • Ordered Segmentation: each ethnic group carefully and specifically defines its territory
    • Peer-Group Orientation: a group made up of members of the same age and sex who are at the same stage of the lifecycle
    • Family Norms: Family life in middle-class families is child-oriented, but in settled, ethnic, working-class areas family life is generally adult-oriented
slide12

Housing: not primarily viewed as a status symbol

    • Imagery and Vulnerability: psychological distance from the city; they are “in” but not “of” the city
      • Vulnerable to change induced from the outside
  • Deprived or Trapped
    • For the 15 to 20 percent of the population who are the bottom, the slum has the character more of an urban jungle than an urban village
    • Most of the residents of unstable slums are for all practical purposes excluded from the economic and social life of the larger society
    • Housing Problems
a final note of caution
A Final Note of Caution
  • Urbanism as a way of life is remarkably diverse
  • There is no single urban lifestyle per se
  • It is important to distinguish between the different urban lifestyles