Communities and Urbanization

Topics: City, Town, Suburb Pages: 7 (2636 words) Published: May 29, 2005

George Murdock once said that a community is one of the two truly universal units of society organization, the other one being family (Schaefer, 461). We are all part of a community, and in many cases, we are a part of multiple ones. In chapter 20 of our textbook, we are looking at communities and urbanization. It discusses urbanization and how communities originate. It also looks at the different types of communities. Communities are defined as "a spatial or political unit of social organization that gives people a sense of belonging" (Schaefer, 548). It can be based on a place of residence, such as a city, neighborhood, or a particular school district. It could also be based on common identity, such as gays, the homeless, or the deaf. Lets take a look at communities and urbanization through the functionalist perspective, the conflict perspective, and symbolic interaction. According to the functionalist perspective, communities are very much structured to maintain their stability as a society. When you look at such things as urban ecology, it is a prime example, because it looks at how different elements in urban areas contribute to stability (Schaefer, 464). According to the conflict perspective, communities are very much structured in a way that separates different communities by certain conflicts. You have the upper class of a community, and then you have the lower working class. You have black and Jews, and then you have the KKK. All these things cause different communities to be separated and structured to unify each different community. One very example of the conflict perspective in this chapter is new urban sociology. Symbolic interaction can be viewed many different ways according to communities. Anywhere from the upper class using very proper etiquette and high posture, to gays wearing a piercing only on their right ear. You also have your working class that may look older and more rigid than the officials and owners of companies who have not had to do a lot of manual work throughout their lives. The list can go on and on. All of these are ways that symbolic interaction helps to set up different communities. How did communities originate?

A community is a spatial or political unit of social organization that gives people a sense of belonging. The community has changed over time, from hunting, fishing and gathering societies or highly modernized postindustrial cities. Early Communities used the basic tools and what they have learned to survive. For food they would have to go hunting, foraging for fruits or vegetables, fishing and herding. Back then they didn't have what we had; they had to depend on the physical environment and what they could use in their own environment. It was no longer necessary to move from place to place for food, people were able to create crops for farming. As time went on agricultural techniques grew more sophisticated and division of labor became developed. People were able to produce more food than they needed so that's how exchanging foods came about. This was a critical step in the emergence of cities. People were able to produce enough food for themselves and for people who didn't involve themselves in farming. It leads to expansions of goods, leading greater differentiation, a hierarchy of occupations and social inequality. Surplus was a precondition not only for the establishment of cities but for a division of members of a community into social classes. The ability to produce goods for other communities marked a fundamental shift in human social organization.

Preindustrial cities, as it is termed generally had only a few thousand people living within borders and was characterized by relatively closed class system and limited mobility. In these early cities you were based on characteristics such as family background and education. All of the people living in those towns depended on about 100,000...
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