Showing posts with label Rural & Urban Sociology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rural & Urban Sociology. Show all posts

Wednesday, 18 May 2022


Cities are classified into various ways. Gist and Halbert have given a six-fold classification of a city based on its functional concept as follows:

  1. Production centres, e.g., Ahmedabad for textiles and Jamshedpur for steel.

  2. Centres of trade and commerce, e.g., Mumbai and New York.

  3. Political capitals, e.g., New Delhi and London.

  4. Cultural centres, e.g., Kanchipuram and Varanasi.

  5. Resort cities, e.g., Shimla and Ooty.

  6. Diversified cities: they have varied interests and are not outstanding in any particular activity.

E. E. Muntz has classified the cities based on the principal activity or activities earned on by them. He has given the following classification:

  1. Defense cities: These are the cities that were built for defense purpose with walls around them. For example, Bidar.

  2. Commercial cities: For example, Mumbai and New York.

  3. Manufacturing or industrial cities: For example, Jamshedpur and Ahmedabad.

  4. Religious cities: For example, new Delhi and London.

  5. Resort cities: For example, Shimla and Ooty.

  6. Educational cities: For example, Oxford and Cambridge.

The above two classifications have made an attempt to distinguish the cities but most of the cities of today perform multiple activities. So, it is very difficult to demarcate all the cities as one or the other kind of city. Take for instance, Delhi, which is a political centre, a commercial centre, an educational centre and also a resort centre. This city performs numerous functions. Thus, it is difficult to classify all the cities.


The cities are broadly differentiated by the geographical condition makeup of population an each city are unique from the other. We can classify the cities on the basis of some fundamental features shared by all cities. Thus, the city of one class also has numerous diverse features as well. On the basis of broad common feature on the basis we can classify them into following types.

  1. Production centres: 

Generally, more important city of the world is industrial town. Consequent upon industrial revolution the urban population all over the world has increased considerably. In India the majority of cities having population of one lakh or more are industrial term. According to the kind of population the population can be classified into two categories.

  1. Primary production centre

In this places material or industrial user are produce for example, mimic centres where oil, coal, iron etc. are production centre. Though population of such places is usually not very large but by elaborate transport system this centre is connected with other places among such towns in India are Nellore, Masulipatnam, Ranchi, Guwahati, Mysore, Kolar etc.

  1. Secondary Production centre

In this centre the raw material obtain form primary production centre are used for manufacturing a variety of goods. As such places population is large and keeps growing. For example, Firozabad is famous for glass bangles, Kanpur for leather goods, Moradabad for brush wash etc. in some cities one types of primary and in some others numerous things are produced.

  1. Centre of trade and commercial: 

Generally, the cities are production centres of trade and commerce but in some cities trade and commerce is the dominant feature and production in secondary. For example- though Mumbai is a major production centre it is a far bigger centre of trade and commerce generally the cities situated on the sea coast and those which are ports are centres of trade and commerce.

For example –Cochin, Tuticorin etc. indeed there are many innate town which are consider as centres of trade and commerce.

  1. Capitals and administrative centres: 

All city which have happen to be capitals of state have shot into prominent there important is not due to their industry or business but due to there being to the capital indeed. Once the places are made the capital business and industry automatically grows there. Before the process of industrialisation and globalisation, the capital cities were the most important cities of the world.For example, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar, Jaipur, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai etc.

  1. Health and recreation centres: 

Many towns have very health climate owing to their particular geographic location and climatic condition. Therefore, people from plains gather in great numbers to such town. In order to attract more tourists to such places, municipal and state authorities do everything possible to beautify such places and make available amenities. The livelihood of the people of these places greatly depends upon tourism.

  1. Religious and Cultural centres: 

In India where, religious sentiments dominants many towns have become famous and developed into big cities on account of their religious values and important. For example, Amritsar, Ajmer, Rameswaram etc. Apart from the religious significance there are many cities which are important for the historical sites and monuments like Agra, Chittorgarh, Nalanda and Taxila etc.

  1. Diversified cities: 

Besides the cities which fit into one or the other of the above mention categories, there are some town which fit into none of the category. They may be holy but it is not the fundamental reason for their eminence is not holiness. They may also be the capital cities but their fundamental reason for growth may be other factors. Thus, it will not be correct to put them into some specific category. Such towns and cities are accordingly referred to as diversified towns. For examples, Varanasi.


The study of the morphological features of Indian city cannot be ignored or underestimated. A sociological analysis of urban life and society indicates and vindicates certain features/characteristics. They are:

  1. Social Heterogeneity: 

If villages are the symbol of cultural homogeneity the cities symbolize cultural heterogeneity. In cities, we find a variety of groups, each representing a typical culture. The villages are natural carriers of culture and they preserve its integrity intact and unbroken. On the other hand, in cities we find a confluence of many cultures which participate in this interplay and inter-reaction are changed or modified to some extent at least. Thus, whereas unity and uniformity are characteristic of villages, in cities we find multiplicity of cultures and viewpoints.

  1. Individuality: 

On account of voluntary associations and secondary control the city dwellers develop a personality at their own. The ideals, the viewpoints and the conduct and behaviour which a city dweller encounters are so varied and contrary that the traditional moral codes cease to have much meaning for him. a city-dweller feels compelled to fashion out his own conduct of life according to his own reason and choice. On account of this whereas his behaviour tends to be arbitrary, it also bear the indelible stamp of his own personality.

  1. Unbalanced Personality: 

A combination and mixture of such facts, as looseness of character and morals,, artificial environs and atmosphere, the deleterious influence of cinema and other means of entertainment, high ambition and lustful desires and general mentality of materialism, have resulted in producing unbalanced personality of city dwellers. In producing imbalance in the personality of city dweller specialization has also contributed in a big way. People are mad after false fa├žade and artificial glitter of the city. In cities the element of humanity seems to have gone out of dwellers. We find highly literate and skilled professionals like professors, doctors, lawyers etc., in the cities but we rarely come across human beings. People in city work at fast pace but the growth of their personalities is usually one sided.

  1. Moral laxity: 

On account of the lack of community feeling lack of homogenous family, western influence and an atmosphere of luxury and comfort prevailing in the cities moral laxity results. In the hustle and bustle of city, there is no control over individual’s behaviour and the incidence of pre-marital and extra marital sex is fairly high in the cities. In Western cities polygamous tendencies are clearly accepted and people freely enjoy themselves.

  1. Social mobility: 

The most important feature of urban industrial society is its social mobility. In urban society the social status of an individual is determined not be heredity or circumstances of his birth but by his works and economic status. In cities, men are not born good but made good. Thus, in urban life a man can achieve as much progress as he wishes according to his intelligence and efforts. By the dint of hard works and good intelligence an individual can go a long way in achieving great things. In cities, the caste barriers are breaking down. The incidence of inter-caste marriages is growing. The women’s education is encouraged and the educated men and women are not orthodox in their ways and habits. In colleges and universities men and women belonging to Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra mix up without consideration of caste of class. New social changes and reforms are accepted much better by city dwellers than rural people.

  1. Secondary Control: 

In villages there is strict control over individual’s behaviour exercised by family, caste or class. But, however, in cities none of these groups exercises effective control over behaviour. In cities individual’s behaviour is controlled by such agencies as police, law courts etc. this is known as secondary control.

  1. Voluntary Associations: 

Owing to a variety of professions, castes, groups and cultures in cities, there are numerous voluntary groups and associations. The primary groups like family lose their orthodox character and have  a tendency towards libertarianism.

  1. Lack of community feeling:  

Not only is there lack of community feeling in villages, there is also lack of unity and harmony in the family. In cities people are not bothered by social oblique or ridicule. They can pursue their individual ends unmindedful of what others think about them. People in cities are so busy in their individual pursuits that they have no spare time in which to think about others.

  1. Lack of unity in family: 

In cities we find not only the lack of community feeling but there is also lack of unity, homogeneity and harmony in the family. Each member of the family, father, mother sisters and brothers are so busy with their own programmes that they do not interfere with each other’s independence. Each member has his own society and pursues his individual ends. Generally, the unity and cohesiveness among family members is not better than among the people staying in a hotel.

  1. Heterogeneity: 

In cities all over the world we find great disparity in the living conditions of rich and poor. Whereas some person live in grand air-conditioned mansions, their needs, attended to by an army of servants, there are many who have to shelter overhead and do not have enough victuals to appease their hunger. In cities we also find great disparity in regard to food habits, living conditions, language, religious beliefs, cultural outlook, customs and traditions and social norms of city dwellers, there is great variety and contraries in this regard. In cities people of different religious persuasions, holding different ideals, inspired by different cultural customs and traditions live. Their thinking and outlook differs widely from each other. The city dwellers, as a rule are ambitious, individualistic, rationalist, materialist, secular and alert to their personal interests.

  1. Social Disorganization: 

Again, owing to above mentioned features, we find social disorganization in the cities, people are dissatisfied and discontented. Many conflicts, both direct and indirect constantly ravage the mental and physical health of city dwellers. The class and status feelings, are very acute. The strikes and class conflicts are frequent. The evils of communalism and factionalism are quite rampant. The interpersonal relations and intra-familial relations are also uneasy. Thus, urban society is a divided society and urban life a divided life shot with conflicts and tensions.

  1. Artificial life: 

The life in urban industrial society is artificial. In big housing complexes and broad lanes of cities we rarely come across nature, the greenery and animals. In the dense and congested localities of the cities the houses are dark and dingy and unwashed by the sunlight. The industrial chimneys are ever emitting carbon and foul gases. The atmosphere of cities is, therefore, full of pollution and harmful to breathe. In cities the air is foul, the offices and factories are artificially lit. in these conditions people in city work. In large factories the value of an individual worker is next to nothing. He is no more than an easily replaceable part of a machine. He does not even know, still less understand, the whole process of manufacture of a thing he is helping to make. For example, there will be few in motor company too much specialization of function in big metropolis that people have reached a stage where they function mechanically. In such circumstances the life becomes highly artificial and no natural healthy growth of the personality is possible. In cities we come across professors, doctors, lawyers and leader but we do not meet a man. These persons are so engrossed in their respective specialization that they know little or nothing about the work of other professionals. Thus, though their knowledge about their own field of specialization is immense they know so little about other aspects and their knowledge of man as a whole is so ludicrous that, on the whole, an unlettered urban society are completely artificial and, on the other, there is professional specialization. Those between them have altogether artificialized the life in the cities.

Even day-today life is becoming artificial. Naturalness is missing from everywhere. Every city dweller’s face has lost its natural colour and brightness, it has become a mask. Women of cities are ever busy trying to regain the lost radiance by artificial beauty-aids. People are more interested in artificial appearances than in natural health. The city dweller doctorate their drawing rooms not with dwellers get out of cities to see beautiful landscape of hills and is not that of an observer who sees in order to appreciate, but they take photos of such things with their still or movie camera. They do so in order to impress upon their friends about the places they visit. Even the means of entertainment in cities are artificial. While watching cinemas, theatre and reading of the novel man remains wholly passive.

The mannerisms and etiquettes in cities are also artificial. Even emotional expressions like laughter, smile, silence etc. are deceptive. They laugh in order to pass as civilized and urbane rather than because of any genuine relief or gladness. In cities we find a meaningless and ignorant rat race. Everybody runs not because he had some goal to reach but simply because other people are running.

People are too competition-minded to feel for each other and mutually work and co-operate. The life has become extremely boring and routine. An office clerk gets up well after the sun rise with the aid of bed tea and newspaper in front of him. He soon attends to necessities and is ready to pack off for office. After return from office he listens to cheap radio music, eats his food and retires to sleep. The story of city life can be summed up in Shakespearean vein that it is a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

Besides these characteristics, peculiarities of marital life, dynamic life i.e., dynamism in urban life, high incidence of crime and formation of voluntary associations in urban centres are worth mentioning.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Urbanization Issues in India

Urbanization Issues in India

Since in our country, urbanization is unplanned due to uncontrolled migration. Due to unplanned urbanization, India is facing too much problem such as unemployment, electricity problem, pollution, social problems, improper sanitation facilities etc. Rapid rise in urban population in India is leading to many problems like increasing slums, decrease in standard of living in urban areas, also causing environmental damage. Following problems need to be highlighted.

  1. Housing: Urbanization attracts people to cities and towns which lead to high population increase. With the increase in the number of people living in urban centres, there is continued scarcity of houses. This is due to insufficient expansion space for housing and public utilities, poverty, unemployment, and costly building materials which can only be afforded by few individuals.

  2. Sanitation: Municipalities and municipal corporations in Indian cities are so riddled with maladministration that they have time for sanitation of their cities, particularly with regard to removing garbage, cleaning drains, and unclogging sewers. Sweepers rarely and reluctantly perform their assigned duties and every few months threaten to go on strike on the issue of wages, etc.

  3. Unemployment: The problem of joblessness is highest in urban areas and it is even higher among the educated people. It is estimated that more than half of unemployed youths around the globe live in metropolitan cities. And, as much as income in urban areas is high, the costs of living make the incomes seem horribly low. The increasing relocation of people from rural or developing areas to urban areas is the leading cause of urban unemployment.

  4. Poverty: Today roughly one-third of the urban population lives below poverty line. There are glaring disparities between haves and have-nots in urban areas. The most demanding of the urban challenges unquestionably is the challenge posed by poverty; the challenge of reducing exploitation, relieving misery and creating more human conditions for urban poor. There is rise in urban inequality, as per UN habitat report, 2010, urban in-equality in India rose from 34 to 38 % based on consumption in period of 1995 to 2005.

  5. Development of slums: The cost of living in urban areas is very high. When this is combined with random and unexpected growth as well as unemployment, there is the spread of unlawful resident settlements represented by slums and squatters. The growth of slums and squatters in urban areas is even further exacerbated by fast-paced industrialization, lack of developed land for housing, large influx of rural immigrants to the cities in search of better life, and the elevated prices of land beyond the reach of the urban poor.

  6. Environment: Our cities and towns are major polluters of the environment. Several cit­ies discharge 40 per cent to 60 per cent of their entire sewage and indus­trial effluents untreated into the nearby rivers. The smallest town contributes its share of garbage and excreta to the nearest waterway through its open drains. Urban industry pollutes the atmosphere with smoke and toxic gases from its chimneys./Areas recording higher levels of air pollution abound with many ailments which particularly affect chil­dren below five years and people above fifty years of age. The high synergistic effect of sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, etc. causes many diseases. The ambient air quality in Delhi gives it the dubious distinction of being the fourth most polluted city in the world.

Urbanization is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of rural migration & it is closely linked to modernization, industrialization, and the sociological process of rationalization. Poverty, unemployment and underemployment among the rural immigrants, beggars, thefts, burglaries and other social evils are on rampage. Urban sprawl is rapidly encroaching the precious agricultural land. The urban population of India had already crossed the 285 million mark by 2001. By 2030, more than 50 per cent of India’s population is expected to live in urban areas.



Rural and Urban Sociology (pp. 225-250) ~ Link

The problems and issues in urbanization in India-Dr. Venkatigalla Venkatesham ~ Link

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Urbanism as a way of life

Urbanism as a way of life

In modern industrialized societies, urbanism has become the predominant way of life. What constitutes this particular mode of living? It is difficult to give a precise answer. According to Some writers, urbanism indicates a wide acquaintance with things and people. Such acquaintance imbues the city dwellers with the spirits of tolerance.

“Urbanism as a way of life” article by Louis Wirth. Louis Wirth (August 28, 1897 – May 3, 1952) was an American sociologist and member of the Chicago School of sociology. Louis Wirth was inspired by the work of Simmel. Wirth writes that urbanism is a form of social organization that is harmful to culture, Wirth details the city as a “Substitution of secondary for primary contacts, the weakening of bonds of kinship, the declining social significance of the family, the disappearance of the neighbourhood and the undermining of traditional basis of social solidarity”. Wirth was concerned with the effects of the city upon family unity, and he believed urbanization leads to a ‘low and declining urban reproduction rates’. Families are smaller and more frequently without children than in the country. Wirth continues, marriage tends to be postponed, and the proportion of single people is growing leading to isolation and less interaction. But Wirth also stressed the positive effects of city life. The city everywhere has been the center of freedom and toleration, the home of progress, of invention, of science, of rationality.

Thus, urbanism as a way of life, following Louis Wirth, is characteristics by extensive conflict 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 materials possessions and individuals, by impersonality of relationships and decline in intimate communication and by increasing informal social contracts. This means that “urbanism” is not synonymous with the city. City refers to an area distinguished principally by size, population, density, and social diversity, whereas urbanism refers to a complex of social relations.

  1. Norms and social role conflicts: The diversity of social life is the most important characteristic of urbanism. It springs from the size, density and heterogeneity of population, extreme specialization of various occupations, and the class structure existing in the larger community.

  2. Rapid social and cultural change: “Rapid social and cultural change, disregard for the importance of stability of generations, and untempered loyalties also generally characterize urban life.” The result is the decline in the importance of the elements which are “traditional” or “sacred”.

  3. Impersonalness and lack of intimate communication: Being heterogeneous in compositions and highly specialized, urbanities know each other only in superficial and impersonal ways. A large proportion of urban social relations take place between nameless strangers, and they last only for a limited period of time.

  4. Materialism: In an urban society external appearances and material possessions are of primary importance. Urban dwellers are more often known for their status symbols.

  5. Individualism: The urban dwellers in their social relations give primary emphasis on their own interests and personal happiness. As individualism increases, competition also intensifies.

  6. Mobility: One of the distinctive features of urban life is greater mobility. The fact that most urban social relations are impermanent means that, unless the urbanite becomes either a recluse or an extreme interest, he continuously makes new social contacts.

  7. Increase informal social control: Whereas social control in a rural community is exercised with a minimum of formality, social control in urban society is more formal. The rural community feels little need of formal secondary controls becomes family and kinship ties, customs and mores are themselves effective as social pressures.


In Louis Wirth’s theory, three concepts are given.

The effects of size, density and heterogeneity.

The effect of size:

  1. The larger the population, the greater the chances for diversity and individualization

  2. Competition and formal mechanisms of social control would replace primary relations of kinship as a means of organizing society.

  3. The larger the population, the greater the specialization and functional diversity of social roles.

  4. Anonymity and fragmentation of social interactions increase with size.


The effect of density:

  1. Greater density intensifies the effects of large population size.

  2. Greater density produces greater tolerance for living closely with strangers, but also greater stress.

  3. Escape from density produces the development of the fringe and greater land value in suburbia.

  4. Density increase competition, compounding the effects of size.


The effect of heterogeneity:

  1. The greater the heterogeneity more tolerance among groups.

  2. Heterogeneity allows ethnic and class barriers to be broken down.

  3. Individual roles and contacts become compartmentalized according to different circles of contacts. Anonymity and depersonalization in public life increase.


He gave twelve propositions and presented numerous arguments about the consequences for organized social life of large size, high density and heterogeneity to relate each to the achievement of stability in the city (Morris 2013, pp.16-19).

  1. (a) Growth and diversity are associated in the city with relatively weak bonds among co-residents, since city-dwellers are less likely than country-dwellers to have lived together for some generations under a common tradition.

(b) (i) Formal methods of social control must therefore substitute for allegiance to a common tradition;


(b) (ii) The problem of social control in a diverse population will have to be solved by separating the diverse sub-groups physically. People will tend to reach to the great diversity by withdrawing from those with characteristics different from their own. In this manner, relatively homogeneous areas will form within the city; and within these areas stronger bonds may be maintained.

  1. (a) As a town or city grows, it becomes less likely that any resident will know all the others personally; hence the character of social relationships changes. At the same time, there is an increase in the number of persons whom one meets, and on whom one is to some extent dependent. One is less dependent on particular people; and one’s dependence on another is more likely to be limited to a single facet of one’s life.

(b) The majority of one’s social contacts in the city are therefore likely to become ‘impersonal, superficial, transitory and segmental’.

Each is likely to involve only the surface, or limited segments, of one’s personality for a relatively short period. People expect less of those with whom they are in contact in the city.

(c) The city-dweller is therefore more likely to treat social relationships as means to his own ends, thus behaving in what Wirth call rational, sophisticated manner. In becoming more calculating, he loses some of the ‘spontaneous self-expression, the morale, and the sense of participation that comes from living in an integrated society’. Wirth was presumably regarding these as characteristics of primary groups and of rural life in general.

  1. (a) A highly developed division of labour is associated with the emphasis on the treatment of social relationships as means to one’s ends. This is most developed, according to Wirth, in the professions.

(b) The large firm will tend to dominate the small family business as the division of labour develops. The large firm has limited liability, can bring together greater resources, and can draw its leaders from wider circle. Equally important, however, is the fact that, according to Wirth, ‘the corporation has no soul’.

(c) Social integration therefore requires the development of codes of ethics and etiquette for occupational groups; without such codes, occupational relationships in the city would tend to be ‘predatory’.

  1. (a) The elaborate division of labour grows as the market grows. Not only do cities perform different economic functions from their hinterlands; particular cities will specialize in particular products where this is profitable. In this way, their markets will be national and international, and not merely local.

(b) Extreme specialization and interdependence is associated with an unstable equilibrium in the city. Wirth does not explain what he means by this.

  1. (a) As the city grows, it becomes impossible to assemble all its residents in a single place.

(b) Therefore increasing reliance has to be placed on indirect communication as a method of spreading information and opinion and of making decisions. The mass media and the representatives of special interests become important links in the communication between decision-makers and the general public.

  1. (a)As the density of population in an areas increases, greater differentiation and specialization tends to results. This will reinforce the effect of size in inducing greater specialization.

(b) Greater differentiation and specialization are indeed essential if the area is to support the increased numbers. This argument is based on the analogy with the survival of animals or plants on a given tract of land.

  1. (a) Physical contact in the city are close, where most social contacts are relatively superficial.

(b) People are therefore categorized, and responded to, in terms of visible symbols such as uniforms and material possessions.

  1. (a) The city’s pattern of land use is the result of competition for a scarce resources: land tends to be owned by those who can derive the greater economic return from it.

(b) The desirability of an area for residential purposes is influenced by many social factors: its prestige, its accessibility to work, the ethnic and racial composition of its population, the absence of such nuisance as smoke, dirt and noise, for example.

(c) People with similar backgrounds and needs therefore consciously select, unwittingly drift, or are forced by circumstances into the same section of the city. The different parts of the city thus have different economic functions, and many of them come to be identified with a particular social class or occupational group: Whitehall, the jewellery quarter, Soho, Coronation Street. While these sections may cover a very small area, each one is itself much less diverse than the city as a whole.

  1. (a) The absence of close sentimental and emotional ties between co-workers and between co-residents fosters competition and mutual exploitation rather than cooperation.

(b) High population density implies frequent physical contact and living at a fast pace, since one is constantly receiving new stimuli and meeting new people.

(c) The combination of frequent contacts and weak emotional ties can be maintained only if there are orderly and meaningful routines which can control the resultant friction. The traffic light, the policeman, the clock and the conventional working day symbolize these formal routines.

  1.  (a) The interaction of persons with very varied roles and personalities breaks down simple class distinctions. A person belongs to a variety of groups and may be judged by a variety of visible symbols; these may be associated with quite different prestige levels in society.

(b) As a result, the class structure is less clear, and a person’s positions within it may be somewhat inconsistent with each other.

  1.  (a) City dwellers belong to a variety of groups, and their loyalties to these groups often conflict, since the groups usually call forth quite different aspects of the personality, and since their claims are not necessarily harmonious.

(b) Consequently the city dweller is more likely to be geographically and socially mobile, and less restrained by an overriding loyalty to a particular group, home or city.

(c) Consequently, too, the city dweller is likely to be sophisticate, in the sense of seeing his loyalties and principles in terms of shades of grey, rather than in black and white.

  1.  (a) The division of labour, combined with the emphasis on segmental relationships, exercises a levelling influence. The symbols, by which the occupant of a role is ‘placed’ socially, become standardized because this is economically more efficient. Tailor-made articles and specialized or personal services become very expensive, by comparison with those which can be mass-produced for the ‘average person’.

(b) This levelling influence can be seen also in the development of the ‘pecuniary nexus’, the tendency to judge all goods and services against a common standard-money-and to believe that almost any good or service can be obtained if one can only muster enough money to make it profitable.

(c) This standardization provides elements for a common culture in the society: both common material and common symbolic cultural objects.

Aims of Wirth’s theory

Wirth’s aim was to clarify the limitations of which he was conscious. To bring clarity with that criticism which was based on a misunderstanding or misreading of his work can only be covered on the matter which he deliberately and explicitly omitted on the gaps in his theory.

Firstly, he recognized that the influence of the city stretches far beyond its administration boundaries and often across national frontiers. Urbanism was to be understood as a set of social institutions and attitudes which would tend to be found whenever people settled permanently in large, dense and heterogeneous groups.

Secondly, Wirth recognized that among cities, size was a poor indication of urbanization. The residents of a small dormitory town on the edge of a conurbation might be more organized in their way than the residents of a larger town in a larger area.

Thirdly, Wirth made it that his definition was not intended as a complete description of all the characteristics which cities shared. His objective, rather, was to select the minimum number of key features which taken in conjunction were required to account in deep for the nature of urban life. The development of cities has often coincided with the growth of large scale industrial organizations and with modern capitalism.


Major criticisms:

The criticisms which have been levelled against Wirth’s theory are numerous. If those which are based on misunderstandings are omitted, such as the criticism that not every relationship in the city is secondary, and not every relationship outside the city limits is primary, the remaining objections can be arranged into four groups.

The first criticism, Wirth desired generalizations which would hold for all the cities. Some of his deduction applies only to the industrial cities. Interaction between the members of different classes in the pre-industrial limits to blur class distinction. Finally, the survival of the small business in pre-industrial cities means that the levelling and unifying influence associated mass production are much less apparent then the in the industrial city. While goods and services are frequently judged in monetary terms. Most goods and services remain unstandardized indeed the weighing and measuring instrument which standardized in the west.

The second objection concerns Wirth view that relationships in the rural society tend to be primary, while those urban society tends to be secondary in society. from rural to urban society did not involve the replacement of primary of secondary relationships with the result that the number of primary relationships one made in an urbanized area was smaller but simply that the number of secondary relationships one establishes rises faster than the number of primary relationships as one moves from a rural to an urbanized area, with the result that only the proportion of primary relationship in the city is smaller.

The third criticism is that he defined the city inpart, as an unusually heterogeneous grouping. It represents in part a realization that one is omitting very significant aspect of city behaviour if one concentrates on its impersonal features. The urban resident has far more opportunities than the rural resident to form secondary relationships.

The final criticism is Wirth describe some conditions which must be met if a large, dense, heterogeneous grouping of people is stable and to operate without excessive friction.



Many of Wirth’s assertions appeared to be accurate Descriptions of Social interaction in the large city, and they help to provide a more detailed picture of What urbanism as a culture like small towns are affected by many of the same social forces as the central city, although the types of behaviours that we observe in these environments may differ in type and intensity. Wirth held strongly to the view that the true effects of urbanism would occur as a matter of evolution as cities operated on immigrant groups. To break down traditional ways of Interacting overtime He did not see the larger city acting as an environment to bring about immediately the change he predicted. These things would take time, perhaps a generation Urbanism as a way of life inspired other urban sociologists to analyze the development of new urban lifestyles and to compares urban lifestyles.


The American Journal of Sociology-Urbanism as a way of life ~ Louis Wirth
Urbanism as a way of life
Urbanism as a way of life
Urbanism as a way of life~ppt

APA~Morris, R. N. (2013). Urban sociology. Routledge.

MLA~ Morris, Raymond N. Urban sociology. Routledge, 2013.