Short Film Contest
 Home » Subject » Sociology » Notes » Scope Of Urban Sociology

Scope Of Urban Sociology

1.City -City forms the central joint of urban socio. Like many other sociological categories, the city is an abstraction composed of concrete entitled like residences & shapes & an assortment of many functions.

The city has been defined acc. to several points. of view. A place is legally made a city by a declaration by a competent authority. Attempts to define a city statistically, have failed due to the absence of a representative measure. Others have defined a city as a place which has become so large that people no longer know each other. Since the quest for a single definition has met with little success, some authors, notably Sorokin & Zimmerman, Maurier & Sombant hold that a proper definition must consist of a combination of factors multiple or 'compound' definitions. Sorokin & Zimmerman enumerate & characteristics in which the urban world differs from the rural world. These are (1) occupation (2) environment (3) size of community (4) density of population (5) heterogeneity (6) social differentiation & stratification (7) mobility & (8) system of interactions. As occupation forms the main basis for other social activities, we call a city an agglomeration where people are engaged in other than agricultural occupations.

2.Urban social Actions - Urban social actions guided by urban social relationships are secondary & specific in native. They are segmentary in character & mainly aim at the fulfillment of a single function of an urbanite's life. Thus while in rural areas imitation of one's fathers work is work & education combined in one, in urban centers specialized & formal education paves the way for one's career in a technical job.

3.Urban social Relations - Urban social relations are many & diverse & formal in character. Urban social institutions leased on these are again specialized agencies which serve particular functions, say education through schools, law enforcement by the city govt. etc. Elaborate procedure is laid down to guide the activities of these institutions & membership is through necessity & availability of the service. Thus site density heterogeneity & specialization are the typically urban characteristics. Urban sociology studies human social life in relation to these factors.

4.Urban Problems - On the other hand we have novel & peculiar urban problems which a necessary concomitant of urbanization such as housing, sanitation, slums, preusions & recreation, pollution of all types, fluidity of the law & order situation, increase in rise, vice & deviance, various physical & mental disorders, increasing suicides & divorces, traffic problems, zoning anomalies etc. The study of all these forms is an important corollary of the study of urban socio. Thus urban socio is a study of all aspects related to man's modification of environment to subserve his varied purposes with all its implications.

Urban sociology studies all aspects of a city life such as its size, density of population social organization, problems etc. Urban studies is a specialized discipline which been recently developing in urban socio which exclusively deals with an analysis of urban problems. Urban problems occupy the major attention of urban sociologists today because of its complexity & its craving for an immediate solution. They arise at an instant much as unanticipated increase in traffic at a place in a single day becomes a problem.

Thus we see that the scope of Urban Sociology is very vast because although urban socio is a recent science, urbanism forms a major part of contemporary life patterns which is slowly encroaching upon & engulfing the existing forms of rural life. In short, urban socio-studies the nature & characteristics of a city, its size, density & characters of its people, its spatial pattern & changes thereon; the peculiar type of relations & social interactions formed in the urban milieu, the nature of primary social institutions such as family in an urban setting, the novel instructions of commercial reaction, education etc. It moreover studies all the implications & complexities & consequences of urban social problems, the various urban social groupings including deviant groups & the various aspects of urban social attitudes. On short, urban sociology is a developing science which studies all aspects of urban life.

Urban Sociology Studied:
  1. The development of towns, social disorganization, the problems of urban life & town planning.
  2. The interaction between the urban environment & the development of human personality,
  3. The structure of family, role of family & the permanent & changing elements of a family.
  4. The institution of marriage in an urban context, the fundamentals & the trends.
  5. Factors responsible for family disorganization.
  6. Class structure & class struggle in urban societies.
  7. Such features of social disease, pollution, slums, gambling dues, recreation centers, bars & clubs & the right life.
  8. The factors & causes of social & personal disorganization & the remedies thereof.
  9. Investigates industries & industrial relations, the causes of disharmony bet, the labour & the management & the ways & means of bringing about harmony & peaceful constructive relations.
  10. Not only the facts of urban life but also evaluations the facts in order to understand their causes & means of improvement.
  11. Social tensions in order to learn the real causes behind them. If we know exactly the cause of a disability its solution automatically presents itself to us.

Thus urban socio is not merely a theoretical study but it has an applied aspect as well.

The foregoing discussion makes amply clear the value & importance of urban socio. The metropolises of today in advanced countries are standard bearers of revolutionary changes in social, political economic & cullinal movements. The process of urbanization has been greatly hastened in advanced countries due to industrialization & technological change. Thus urbanization has also given rise to a member of economic, social &cultural problems. As a result of urbanization there is change of personal tendencies & trends, the norms & standards of marriage & family have undergone a sea- change & there has been considerable rise in corruption & disorganization. It has also given rise to groove problems of health psychological as well as physical. In order to understand & remedy this sorry state of affairs we need a systematic study. And as the problems are grave & crucial, governments. Are closely attentive to these. It is in this connection that the need of urban socio is felt. An urban sociologist is a social doctor or engineer & like doctors & engineers he is concerned with the organization & the disorganization of the urban society. Therefore without his services urban problems cannot be effectively solved. That is why the services of urban sociologists are in high demand. In order to reconstruct towns the services of urban sociologists are indispensable.

It is very difficult to compare rural & urban society and this has prompted Gift & Halbert to write, thus the familiar dichotomy between 'Rural & Urban' is more of a theoretical concept than a division based upon the facts of community life. Some of the difficulties faced are that there is no universal definition of village and town which can clearly distinguish then. For, actually the difference between town & village is merely one of degrees, as a result of which it is very difficult is make a clear distinction between the two. Even though the environment of the city and the village are different, a town can have a variety of environment within itself including that of a village but obviously that part of the city cannot be called a village. Both towns and villages influence each other and at times it becomes difficult to decide whether a place is a town a village considering that villages have improved electricity & education etc and the population charge also that to resemble with similar birth rate and family size.

But, in spite of the existence of these difficulties, sociologists have shown distinction between both the societies. The chief among them are the following.

1.Differences in social organization - The biggest distinction between rural and urban society is that of social organization. These exhibit differences in the following respects:

  1. Family - The families in the villages & towns exhibit the following differences (a) In the villages the families are comparatively stronger than the families in the town, where greater importance is attached to the individual than to the family (b) In the villages the system of joint family is to be found in greater member than in the town (c) In the villages there is greater control, intimacy & organization than in the families in towns (d) In the towns, as compared with the village, the functions of the family are more steadily decreasing.
  2. Marriage - (a) In the towns there is a preponderance of love marriages in comparison with the villages (b) In towns as compared to the villages, one finds a number of divorces (c) In towns greater freedom is allowed in selection of a life partner.
  3. Condition of women - Generally, the women in the villages are not much, if at all, educated & their social status is also low.
  4. Neighborhood - In the villages the neighborhood has a greater importance than it has in the towns, where sometimes people do not even know their neighbours.
  5. We feeling - In the rural community the `we feeling' is found to be far stronger than in the urban community. The influence of the community on the individual in the village is greater than in the towns.
  6. Inequality of classes- The inequality of classes is much more demarcated in the towns than in the villages & there are correspondingly more conflicts in the towns. On the words of Bogardens, "Class extremes characterize the city".

2.Differences in Social Restrictions - A great difference is evident between the social control characteristics of the rural & urban societies. About the social control in the villages, Biesanz write, "In the rural community custom is the king, the followings & more control most of behavior. "On the other hand, the society does not exercise much control over the individuals in the urban society. In the crowds & the high velocity of life in towns no one has time to look to another. In the words of Kingsley Davis," He can escape the oppressive control of any primary group when he wishes, simply by disappearing into the sea of strangers." But the control of police, law, court, etc., is greater in the towns than in the village.

3.Difference in Social Interactions - The social interactions peculiar to the rural & urban societies exhibits the following distinctions:

  1. Nature of Social Relations - In comparison with towns the social relations in the villages are far smaller in number and those that do exist are personal (usually) with primary groups, family, near relations etc. On the other hand, the social relations the town are numerous of which most are in direct & impersonal (relations tend more towards secondary groups). In the words of Gist & Halloert, "the city encourages impersonal rather than personal relationship."
  2. Division of labour & specialization - In the towns, but not in the villages to quite the same extent, division of labour and specialization are found to exist. In this way the scope for social co-operation is far greater in the towns than in the villages.
  3. Competition - The activity of competition has a far greater velocity in the town than in the villages.
  4. Conflict - The conflict in the villages is usually direct while the conflict is comparatively indirect in the urban context.
  5. Tolerance - When compared to villages there is greater toleration in the towns and consequently a larger degree of accommodation.
  6. Assimilation - The process of assimilation takes place rather slowly in the village as a result of a near absence of cultural differences. In the towns people of different cultures live side by side & thus the process of assimilation operates much faster.

4.Differences is social viewpoint - The following difference found:-

  1. Progressive - Acc. To New Mayer, "Rural Cultural tends to be conservative". In the words of Ross, "The city is cosmopolitan whereas the country is nationalistic & patriotic." In this way the city is more progressive than the village.
  2. Politics - In the towns, more than the villages, people take interest & active part in politics.
  3. Religion & Ritual - In the villages greater importantortance is attached to religion & ritual than in towns. Whereas the religion of the rural people is based upon faith, the religion in the city is relatively more based upon reason.
  4. Fatalism - The villagers are more fatalistic than the urban people because the lives of the villagers are affected to a very large extent by natural forces while the urban people are equipped with scientific knowledge & techniques in handling natural calamities & catastrophes.
  5. Artificiality - There is more artificiality in the urban people than in the villagers. Bogardus has correctly written, "Rural People are frank, open & genuine; they scan the artificiality of many phases of city life."

5.Differences in Social Mobility &Stability - There is greater social disorganization in the towns than in the villages. To quote Sorokin & Zimmerman, "The rural community is similar to calm water in a pail and the urban community to boiling water in Kettle. Stability is the typical trait for the one; mobility is the typical for the other". In this way, cited posses greater mobility than the villages (Territorial, occupational & other forms & soc. mobility).

Normally the migration current carries more individuals from the country to the city and only in the periods of social catastrophy is the migration from the city to the country greater than from the country to the city.

6.Differences in Economics Life - There is great differences between the economic lives of the villages & towns. In this respect the major differences are the following:

  1. Modes of living - "Two fundamentally different modes of getting a living set the rural & urban worlds apart". In the villages the major occupation is agricultural while in the towns the major occupations are of an industrial nature. (Commerces, professions, governing etc).
  2. Standard of Living - Standard of living in the villages is lower than that of the towns because the means of earning money are limited in the villages. Besides making more money the urban people are more prodigal than the villagers. In the words, of Ross, "Country life, then suggests 'save!' city life suggests 'spend!". At the same time the villagers do not get much to spend whereas the man in the city is at his wits end as to the means of making enough money to enable him to buy the commodities displayed for consumption.

7.Differences in Cultural life -

  1. Static - Culture is more static in the villages than in the towns.
  2. Caste - In the village the basis of culture is caste & purity. In the towns it has a secular basis.
  3. Traditions - Traditions have a very important place in rural culture, while urban culture does not attach much importance to them.

8.Physical Differences:-

  1. Environment - In the villages there is a predominance of nature ever anthropological environment and a direct relationship to nature exists. On the other hand in cities greater isolation from nature is seen. There is a predominance of man-made environment over the natural.
  2. Size of community - As a rule in the same country and at the same period. The size of the urban community is much larger than the rural community.
  3. Density of population - In the same country and at the same period the density is lower than in the urban country.
  4. Heterogeneity and Homogeneity of the population compared with the urban population, rural communities are more homogenous in social & psychological traits. The urban population. Is more heterogeneous than the rural community of its time & country.

  1. Slums and Deprivation in Urban Areas
  2. Urbanization & Crime