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Louis Wirth (August 28, – May 3, ) was an American sociologist and member of the His interests included city life, minority group behaviour and mass media and he is recognised as one of the leading urban sociologists. Wirth writes that urbanism is a form of social organisation that is harmful to culture , and. Louis Wirth posits similar reasons for the differences in the urban and rural milieu as does Georg Simmel. Wirth argues that the shift between. Louis Wirth has mentioned four characteristics of urban system or urbanism Following Louis Wirth, Urbanism is a way of life, is characterised by extensive.

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Ellwood Robert E. The extreme degree of interdependence and the unstable equilibrium of urban life are closely associated with the division of labor and the specialization of occupations. The operations of the pecuniary nexus lead to predatory relationships, which tend to obstruct the efficient functioning of the oife order unless checked sirth professional codes and occupational etiquette. They live and are known for their status symbols, bank balances, assets, salaries, buildings with modem furnishings etc.

It has not only tolerated but rewarded individual differences.

Thomas John M. Thus they can be linked with the problems of anomie. Mamoria is of the opinion that urbanism is a cultural- social-economic phenomenon which traces interaction between the social and technological processes. Such functions as the maintenance of health, the methods of alleviating the hardships associated with personal and social insecurity, the provisions for education, recreation, and cultural advancement have given rise to highly specialized institutions on a community-wide, statewide, or even national basis.

By virtue of his different interests arising out of different aspects of social life, the individual acquires membership in widely divergent groups, each of which functions only with reference to a single segment of his personality. The urban people live close together but without emotional ties. Characteristically, urbanites meet one another in highly segmental roles. To a greater or lesser degree, therefore, our social life bares the imprint of an earlier folk society, the characteristic modes of settlement of which were the farm, the manor, and the village.

Following Louis Wirth, Urbanism is a way of life, is characterised by extensive conflicts of norms and values, by rapid social change, by increased social differentiation, greater social mobility, by higher levels of education and income, by emphasis on material possessions and individualism, by impersonality of relationships and decline in Intimate communication and by increase in formal social controls.


The shortcomings which attach to number of inhabitants as a criterion of urbanism apply for the most part to density of population as well A sociological definition must obviously be inclusive enough to comprise whatever essential characteristics these different types of cities have in common as social entities, but it obviously cannot be so detailed as to take account of all the variations implicit in the manifold classes sketched above.

This constitutes essentially the state of anomia, or the social void, to which Durkheim alludes in attempting to account for the various forms of social disorganization in technological society. Frequently there is only the most tenuous relationship between the economic position or other basic factors that determine the individual’s existence in the urban world and the voluntary groups11 with which he is affiliated.

On the basis of the postulates which this minimal definition suggests, a theory of urbanism may be formulated in the light of existing knowledge concerning social groups.

A sociological definition of the city

Responsibility for controlling behaviour in cities is largely shifting to the police, the courts and other agencies of government to enforce the norms of certain groups. While the city has broken down the rigid caste lines of preindustrial society, it has sharpened and differentiated income and status groups. This interdependence and this instability are increased by the tendency of each city to specialize in those functions in which it has the greatest advantage.

Formal controls are instituted to counteract irresponsibility and potential disorder. Chicago University Presspp The characterization of a community as urban on the basis of size alone is obviously arbitrary The Urban Society and Civilization. Urbanism as a characteristic mode of life may be approached empirically from three interrelated perspectives: Urban people were seen as less isolated, less dependent on kin, influenced by science and professionals rather than by the sacred and priests.

It follows, too, that the masses of men in the city are subject to manipulation by symbols and stereotypes managed by individuals working from afar or operating invisibly behind the scenes through their control of the instruments of communication.

The increased dominance of secondary relationships was believed to be a feature of urbanization. It has brought together people from the ends of the earth because they are different and thus useful to one another, rather than because they are homogeneous and like-minded.

Kohn Herbert J. As long as we identify urbanism with the physical entity of the city, viewing it merely as rigidly delimited in space, and proceed as if urban attributes abruptly ceased to be manifested beyond an arbitrary boundary line, we are not likely to arrive at any adequate conception of urbanism as a mode of life.


Views Read Edit View history. Sewell William J. The transfer of industrial, educational, and recreational activities to specialized institutions outside the home has deprived the family of some of its most characteristic historical functions. Since for most group purposes it is impossible in the city to appeal individually to the large number of discrete and differentiated citizens, and since it is only through the organizations to which men belong that their interests lpuis resources can be enlisted for a collective cause, it may be inferred that social control in the city should typically proceed through formally organized groups.

Nervous tensions which urbaniam from such personal frustrations are increased by the rapid tempo and the complicated technology under which life in dense areas must be lived.

The technological developments in transportation and communication which virtually mark a new epoch in human history have accentuated the role of cities as dominant elements in our civilization and have enormously extended the urban mode of living beyond the confines of the city itself. It is a developing concept as the urban life pattern Itself, as it appears, is a developing and constantly changing phenomena.

We must also infer that urbanism will assume its most characteristic and extreme form in the measure in which the conditions with which it is congruent are present.

Louis Wirth – Wikipedia

The groups with which he is affiliated do not lend themselves readily to a simple hierarchical arrangement. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Were it not for the attraction and suggestions that the city exerts through these instrumentalities upon the rural population, the differences between the rural and the urban modes of life2 would he even greater than they are.

Louis Wirth has mentioned four characteristics of urban system or urbanism — heterogeneity of population, specialisation of function, anonymity and Impersonality and standardisation of behaviour. In cities mothers are more likely to be employed, lodgers are more frequently part of the household, marriage tends to be postponed, w the proportion of single and unattached people is greater.

They entailed commitment, face to face relationships and emotional intensity. There is superficiality and impersonalness among the urbanities.