Essay about Comparison of Urban Sociological Theories

933 Words Aug 17th, 2009 4 Pages
Comparison of Urban Sociological Theories
In order for an urban sociologist to discover “How urban societies work,” theories of “urban ecology” or “political economy” are used as a guide in their research. Urban ecology refers to the importance of social structure and social organization as shaping social life in the city. Urban ecologist concerns for social order, social cohesion, community ties and social differentiation offer key insight to how societies work (Kleniewski, 2001). Alternatively political economy stresses the use of power, domination and resources in the shaping of cities (Kleniewski, 2001). Urban sociologists’ theoretical approach to research questions is based on fundamental assumptions that they find most useful for
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Political economists theorize that “social norms,” in contrast to urban ecology are not only influenced by size and density of the population but also influenced by the values of dominant groups (Kleniewski, 2001). These struggles or social forces help shape urban patterns and urban social life. Therefore, class, social status, political power, racial and ethnic conflicts also play a major role in shaping the city (Kleniewski, 2001).
The Political Economy Perspective
The newspaper article entitled “‘Hooky’ Principal Returns,” by Susan Edelman, is about a Brooklyn principal who is under investigation for playing hooky. This refers to the complaint that the principal took an unapproved vacation and never showed up for summer school last year but still collected her annual salary of $132, 000 (New York Post, 2009). This article is a good example of the theory of Political economy. Sociologist Emile Durkheim introduced the concept of “anomie” as having to do with “societal norms.” Anomie suggests that these social norms are no longer strong enough to dictate social behavior and can be represented by an individual’s absence of social standards or values. Political economy assumes that urban social norms are influenced by values of dominant groups; in this case that dominant group being the school. One can assume that the principle’s actions would match that of the social norms. In relation to the

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