The Chicago School Diaspora

The Chicago School Diaspora: Epistemology and Substance

Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 360
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    The Chicago School Diaspora
    Book Description:

    When the University of Chicago was founded in 1892 it established the first sociology department in the United States. The department grew rapidly in reputation and influence and by the 1920s graduates of its program were heading newly formed sociology programs across the country and determining the direction of the discipline and its future research. Their way of thinking about social relations revolutionized the social sciences by emphasizing an empirical approach to research, instead of the more philosophical "armchair" perspective that previously prevailed in American sociology. The Chicago School Diaspora presents work by Canadian and international scholars who identify with what they understand as the "Chicago School tradition." Broadly speaking, many of the scholars affiliated with sociology at Chicago understood human behaviour to be determined by social structures and environmental factors, rather than personal and biological characteristics. Contributors highlight key thinkers and epistemological issues associated with the Chicago School, as well as contemporary empirical research. Offering innovative theoretical explanations for the diversity and breadth of its scholarly traditions, The Chicago School Diaspora offers a fresh approach to ideas, topics, and approaches associated with the origins of North American sociology. Contributors include Michael Adorjan (University of Hong Kong, China), Gary Bowden (University of New Brunswick), Jeffrey Brown (University of New Brunswick), Tony Christensen (Wilfrid Laurier University), Luis Cisneros (postdoctoral scholar, University of Arizona), Gary A. Cook (Beloit College), Mary Jo Deegan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Scott Grills (Brandon University), Mervyn Horgan (Acadia University), Mark Hutter (Rowan University), Benjamin Kelly (Nipissing University), Rolf Lindner (Humboldt University & HafenCity University, Germany), Jacqueline Low (University of New Brunswick), Mourad Mjahed (Peace Corps, Rabat, Morocco), DeMond S. Miller (Rowan University), Edward Nell (New School for Social Research), David A. Nock (Lakehead University), Defne Över (PhD candidate, Cornell University), George Park (Memorial University), Thomas K. Park (University of Arizona), Dorothy Pawluch (McMaster University), Robert Prus (University of Waterloo), Antony J. Puddephatt (Lakehead University), Isher-Paul Sahni (Concordia University), Roger A. Salerno (Pace University), William Shaffir (McMaster University), Greg Smith (University of Salford, UK), Robert A. Stebbins (University of Calgary), Izabela Wagner (Warsaw University, Poland and CEMS EHESS - School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, France), and Yves Winkin (ENS Lyon, France).

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8969-8
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-2)
  3. INTRODUCTION: The Chicago School as Symbol and Enactment
    (pp. 3-26)

    A cursory review of the literature on sociology at the University of Chicago reveals its startling magnitude. According to Abbott (2007), one of the tradition’s most noted historians, close to 2,000 scholarly items have been written about Chicago sociology.¹ This dwarfs the amount written about sociology at other institutional locations and rivals the volume written about major theorists or theoretical traditions (cf. Abbott 1999; Becker 1999; Bulmer 1984; Carey 1975; Chapoulie 2001; Deegan 1988; Faris 1967; Fine 1995; Harvey 1987; Shore 1987; Turner 1988).

    In contributing to this literature, we document the intellectual breadth of the Chicago School heritage and...

    • [SECTION I Introduction]
      (pp. 27-28)

      As editors, we use the label “Chicago School of Sociology” to incorporate both a social structural object (e.g., individuals who interacted together at the University of Chicago) and a cultural object (the meaning attributed to the scholarly work of those individuals). Significantly, scholars continue to work within the tradition of Chicago School sociology and to identify themselves with that tradition, despite the fact that there is no longer an identifiable social structural “school” of Chicago sociology at Chicago. As a result, one aspect of the Chicago School Diaspora involves works that analyze, recover, and reassess the work of the Chicago...

    • 1 Hull-House and the Chicago Schools of Sociology: Public and Liberation Sociology on Race, Class, Gender, and Peace, 1892–1920
      (pp. 29-46)

      Chicago was a hotbed of social change and reform from 1892 until 1920. Immigration, urbanization, industrialization – these and other great social forces converged and crashed in the city on the edge of Lake Michigan. Sociology and demands for greater human rights – for workers, women, immigrants, people of colour, and children – also emerged at this time. America participated in the Great War in 1917 and 1918, however, which split sociologists along gender fault lines. Before this happened, two great centres for the new study of human behaviour had appeared: Hull-House, a social settlement that was a caldron for social change, and...

    • 2 Was There a Black Chicago School?
      (pp. 47-60)

      Little has been written on the historical importance of black sociology at the University of Chicago. While Chicago had been a scene of segregated dormitories, fraternities, and social clubs early in the twentieth century, the handful of select black students who attended the University of Chicago’s graduate program in sociology at that time excelled and became important international figures. At Chicago, many came under the strong influence of teachers such as Robert E. Park, Ernest Burgess, W. Lloyd Warner, and Louis Wirth. African-American students, such as Charles. S. Johnson, E. Franklin Frazier, Allison Davis, Oliver Cox, Hyland Lewis, Horace Cayton,...

    • 3 Chicago’s Proclivity to Qualitative Sociology: Myth or Reality?
      (pp. 61-78)

      Back in the 1980s, several British sociological historians insisted that seeing the Chicagoans as committed to qualitative sociology was mistaken. The classic early statement of this perspective, Martin Bulmer’s (1981) article, “Quantification and Chicago Social Science in the 1920s: A Neglected Tradition,” was reprinted in Bulmer’s (1984) influential book,The Chicago School of Sociology: Institutionalization, Diversity, and the Rise of Sociological Research.Bulmer points out the aphorism taken from Lord Kelvin carved into the Social Science Research Building, “When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.” Bulmer asks, “How does this square with the familiar contrasts which are...

    • 4 After the Barren Search for Laws
      (pp. 79-90)

      This chapter is offered as a step toward bringing scientific rigor into the observation of world-bending mass-belief systems and their political manipulation. I would urge timely attention to the inadequacy of the conventional wisdom on the new turmoil of faith warring and “terror” alerts that have beset the big news of our time since the last century’s age of utopian ideology petered out. The premise I propose to explore is this:Current sociological thought has misdirected our attention by assuming that history can be explained on a storybook cause-and-effect basis.A reader should accept as a starting point that chaos...

    • [SECTION II Introduction]
      (pp. 91-92)

      Another way the Chicago School Diaspora engages with the tradition involves the meaning attached to various key thinkers and the nature and source of their ideas. The Department of Sociology at Chicago has a long and highly prestigious list of former faculty and students. However, not all of them are considered part of the Chicago School tradition: sociology done at the University of Chicago is not the same thing as “Chicago School sociology.” Similarly, some individuals associated with the school are accorded more scholarly attention than others, and the amount of emphasis given to a particular individual varies through time....

    • 5 Finding G.H. Mead’s Social Ontology in His Engagement with Key Intellectual Influences
      (pp. 93-109)

      George Herbert Mead is a central figure in the Chicago School tradition, leaving a lasting influence on generations of sociologists. His teachings on social psychology have formed the basis for how sociologists conceive of the self, social action, and the interplay of the individual and society. Mead’s (1934) classic bookMind, Self, and Societyis standard reading for any course on social psychology or sociological theory. As a result of the wide dissemination of Mead’s basic ideas, sociologists have been influenced by Mead in a variety of ways, but it is the symbolic interactionists who have been most central in...

    • 6 Mending Mead’s “I” and “Me” Distinction
      (pp. 110-125)
      GARY A. COOK

      No aspect of George Herbert Mead’s social-psychological theorizing is more in need of clarification and repair than his attempt to distinguish between the two dimensions of the self he calls the “I” and the “me.” (For other aspects of Mead’s social theorizing, see Puddephatt, this volume). Charles Morris tries to clarify this distinction in his editor’s introduction to Mead’s most widely read work,Mind, Self and Society(Mead 1934), but his effort leaves much to be desired. The “me,” Morris says, consists of “the attitudes [or response-tendencies] of others organized and taken over into one’s self,” while the “I” is...

    • 7 Working the Chicago Interstices: Warner and Goffman’s Intellectual Formation
      (pp. 126-149)

      It is easy to overlook the important role played by William Lloyd Warner (1898–1970) in the development of sociology at the University of Chicago. Perhaps it is because Warner never quite fitted the standard profile of the “Chicago School” sociologist. Warner was not an urbanist, not an ecologist, not an interactionist, in any of the senses that these terms are usually understood. Appointed associate professor at Chicago in 1935, he brought a range of intellectual preoccupations of clear relevance to Chicago sociology in the post-Park 1930s. His accumulating expertise as a research manager and practitioner made him a significant...

    • 8 Reading Goffman: On the Creation of an Enigmatic Founder
      (pp. 150-166)

      Erving Goffman is arguably the most read and influential sociologist of the twentieth century (Fine, Manning, and Smith 2000, ix; Oromaner 1980; Scheff 2006, 2). Yet despite his standing as a major figure (Branaman 1997; Fine, Manning, and Smith 2000; Lemert 1997) and a “contemporary classic” (Jacobsen 2010, 4), he clearly resists absorption into mainstream sociology, leading many to label him enigmatic (Lemert 2003; Posner 1978, 67; Scheff 2006, 2–3; Smith 2006, 126) and underscore the fact that he “is generally regarded in a pejorative way by rank and file sociologists” (Posner 1980, 293). Consequently, even the most cursory...

    • [SECTION III Introduction]
      (pp. 167-168)

      Robert E. Park (1864–1944) taught at Chicago from 1914 until his retirement in 1936. Park’s legacy is multi-dimensional and, among other things, is associated with a particular epistemological orientation (see section I), a general emphasis on social organization (and, more specifically, understanding organization in terms of human ecology), and a particular substantive area (urban sociology). Moreover, Park played a significant role in facilitating the use of Chicago as a research laboratory. The chapters in this section, crudely organized in terms of the historical emergence of the ideas used to discuss urban settings, illustrate the myriad of ways Park’s focus...

    • 9 Nels Anderson and the Chicago School of Urban Sociology
      (pp. 169-177)

      In his seminal essay on “Deep Structures in Social Science,” Alvin Gouldner (1973) differentiates between classical and romantic thinking in the social sciences. Whereas classical thought stresses the universal applicability of standards, norms, and values, romantic thinking emphasizes their relativity. Seen thus, romantic thinking inherently possesses a tendency to shatter norms. Looking at American anthropology and sociology, not only as theoretical and research activities but as modally differentiated occupational subcultures, Gouldner suggests that anthropology still remains the more romantic, and sociology the more classical, discipline. Gouldner gives several reasons for his suggestion. First of all, the anthropologist’s method is far...

    • 10 Flop Houses, Fancy Hotels, and “Second-Rate Bohemia”: Zorbaugh’s The Gold Coast and the Slum and the Gentrification Debate
      (pp. 178-198)

      1929 – Chicago’s cultural hotspot is a place called The Drake Hotel. The Drake was a residential hotel for the elite, part of the Gold Coast, the greatest concentration of wealth in Chicago. The Gold Coast was cheek by jowl with a slum, Little Hell, the greatest concentration of poverty in Chicago. 2009 – Toronto’s cultural hotspot is a place called The Drake Hotel. It is located in a former rooming house in the heart of Queen West, a neighbourhood at the centre of Toronto’s recent cultural “renaissance.” Toronto’s Drake borders an area with one of the highest concentrations of poverty in...

    • 11 Urban Sociology in Poor Cities of Africa and the Middle East: A New Methodology Inspired by Robert E. Park’s Urban Ecological Approach
      (pp. 199-209)

      The sociology department at the University of Chicago in the first half of the twentieth century was inspirational in many ways, but two ideas, traceable to Robert E. Park (Abbott 1997; Chapoulie 1996; Fine 1995; Goist 1971; Park 1936a; 1936b) need to be addressed early on in this chapter. The first is the fundamentally Hegelian notion that ethnicities should be allowed to fully develop their originality before being induced to assimilate into the larger culture with its well-known implication that progressive, interventionist do-gooders would most likely do more harm than good (Lindner 1996, 204). The second, derivative, idea was that...

    • 12 Tourist Zones, Emotional Buttons, and the Ubiquitous Beggar
      (pp. 210-222)

      Scene 1: Siem Reap, Cambodia: Pity. I am standing on the sidewalk contemplating a restaurant menu when a forty-ish local stops beside me. My attention is drawn to him by motion in my peripheral vision. His left hand removes his hat and swoops down in a single motion, presenting it like an offering dish. At the same time, his right leg rises until the upper leg is parallel to the ground – displaying the amputation below the knee. Without saying a word, he looks directly and deeply into my eyes, then at the hat, and back at me.

      Scene 2: Mumbai,...

    • 13 Constructions of Public and Private Spheres in the Soviet Communal Apartment: Erving Goffman’s Notion of Territories of Self
      (pp. 223-237)

      The conceptual categories public and private are constantly contested in our everyday lives. Even the simplest debates – about our rights to private property; the occupation of a shared space of living; the form of our relations with family members, neighbours, and strangers; our styles of dressing; and a state’s right to intervene our ways of living – involve the distinction between public and private spheres. In all our relations to people, objects, and spaces, we demarcate boundaries between public and private. These unconsciously drawn boundaries often correspond to the boundaries drawn by other members of our society. However, they may vary...

    • 14 Urban Imagery, Tourism, and the Future of New Orleans
      (pp. 238-252)

      The image of the city is a result of how people perceive the city. Urban imagery also has consequences in shaping city life. Urban images have a symbolic function: images that help provide strong associations with a place facilitate interaction between people who share a common environment. Shared images of places and communities are the facilitator in the development of strong bonds among people. The urban social geographer Kevin Lynch (1960, 126) has pointed out that “[t]he landscape plays a social role as well. The named environment, familiar to all, furnishes material for common memories and symbols which bind the...

    • [SECTION IV Introduction]
      (pp. 253-254)

      The Second Chicago School, consisting of Blumer, Hughes, and an exceptional crop of post–World War II graduate students (e.g., Strauss, Becker, Goffman), is closely associated with the development of symbolic interactionism and, in particular, with detailed attention to social processes that create intersubjectively shared meaning. For some scholars, the integration of the various strands of early Chicago School sociology into a coherent theoretical perspective (symbolic interactionism) represents the true meaning of the Chicago School tradition. This section displays yet another aspect of the Chicago School Diaspora: engagement with the Chicago School legacy through the application of key concepts associated...

    • 15 Hassidim Confronting Modernity
      (pp. 255-271)

      I knew virtually nothing about Hassidic Jews when I began researching their lifestyle and community organization in the late 1960s. But I still vividly recall how I was struck by their distinctive presence along the Park Avenue area in the Mile End district of Montreal. Many of my peers mockingly referred to them as the “Park Avenue White Sox” (after the famous Chicago White Sox baseball team) because some of the men in the community wore breeches tied below the knee so that their white-stockinged calves were visible below their long black coats and above their slipper-like shoes. These Hassidim...

    • 16 What Is “Genius” in Arts and “Brain Drain” in Life Science?
      (pp. 272-286)

      Sociologists working in the Chicago tradition are well known for their studies of complex as well as marginal worlds (Chapoulie 2001; Humphreys 1970; Becker 1963; Sutherland 1937; Anderson 1923; Whyte 1943). While the entrance into such specific worlds is difficult for an investigator, ethnography and observation are methods that allow the unique possibility to study these phenomena, deconstruct stereotypes, and bring to light hidden processes. Thus, these methods are useful to the study of the elite universe, because such a milieu presents similar characteristics to marginal worlds. For instance, illegal practices (the process of selection during a violin competition), specific...

    • 17 Situating The Hobo: Romancing the Road from Vagabondia to Hobohemia
      (pp. 287-306)

      Nels Anderson did not publicly acknowledge his personal experience as a hobo until nearly forty years following the original 1923 publication of his landmark work on the subject. In an introduction prepared for the 1961 Phoenix edition ofThe Hobo,Anderson confessed that his research was even more unorthodox than the new method of participant observation “gaining a vogue” among sociologists at the time. Anderson, in fact, was a participant in the “hobo way of life” for years before having any notion of observing it systematically. Indeed, embarking on the study of sociology at Chicago in 1921 was an attempt...

    • 18 Constructing Stockholm Syndrome: A Definitional History
      (pp. 307-322)

      Over the past several decades, there have been several high-profile cases in which individuals who have been abducted and held hostage are rescued, only to turn on those who rescue them and side with their captors. Among the most recent cases making the news are those of Natascha Kampusch and Elizabeth Smart. Kampusch, an Austrian kidnapped in 1998 at ten years of age, was held by Wolfgang Priklopil for more than eight years. Priklopil eventually allowed the young girl to roam freely within the house while he was work, occasionally brought her out in public, and once took her on...

    • [SECTION V Introduction]
      (pp. 323-324)

      As foregrounded in the introduction to this volume, we understand the cultural object known as the “Chicago School” to be dynamic rather than fixed. In a manner parallel to the changing meanings ascribed to Stockholm syndrome (chapter 18), the meaning of the Chicago School itself can change over time. Thus, one aspect of the Swiss army knife–like character of the Chicago School involves the malleability of the tools themselves – a certain element associated with the school (metaphorically, one of the knife’s tools, such as the leather punch) will no longer be associated with the school, and another tool (e.g.,...

    • 19 Aristotle’s Theory of Education: Enduring Lessons in Pragmatist Scholarship
      (pp. 325-343)

      Aristotle (384–322 BCE) may have lived more than 2,000 years ago, but not only are the conceptual materials he developed on teaching and learning exceedingly relevant for comprehending education on a contemporary plane, but his “theory of education” also suggests some highly consequential directions for examining the roles that instructors as well as students may assume in these realms of community life. Still, before I address Aristotle’s analysis of teaching and learning more directly, it is useful to comment on contemporary theory and research on education (including the contemporary era) and to establish some linkages of Aristotle’s approach to...

    • 20 Symbolic Interaction and Organizational Leadership: From Theory to Practice in University Settings
      (pp. 344-356)

      For me as a graduate student, attending the Canadian-based Qualitative Research Conference (aka the Qualitatives) was the way to meet people like Carl Couch, Jackie Wiseman, Fred Davis, Helena Znaiecki Lopata, Virginia Olsen, Bob Stebbins, Robert Emerson, David Altheide, Spencer Cahill, and Stan Lyman and by so doing become connected to the narratives that make the history and development of interactionist traditions come alive. What has been remarkable is the extent to which some of the most important names in North American symbolic interactionism have made their way to these meetings and the extent to which they have given back...

    • 21 The Emperor Has No Clothes: Waning Idealism and the Professionalization of Sociologists
      (pp. 357-365)

      While sociologists have written reams about the professionalization of doctors, midwives, lawyers, and others, they have been less enthusiastic about examining this social process within their own discipline – so unenthusiastic that the journalThe American Sociologistdevoted a special issue to the professionalization of sociologists (Nichols 2005). In the lead article, Shulman and Silver (2005, 5) maintain that a major goal of the issue is to encourage “sociologists to apply more of their own concepts to an analysis of their discipline.” When the professionalization of sociologists is examined, attention tends to revolve around the practical issues faced by new sociologists,...

    • 22 Formal Grounded Theory, the Serious Leisure Perspective, and Positive Sociology
      (pp. 366-380)

      Today, I believe it is accurate to qualify the serious leisure perspective as a formal grounded theory, a specimen of a rare entity in qualitative research. From the beginning, and for many years, work on the perspective has been exclusively conducted according to the procedures of constant comparison of data memos, memo sorting, and, from there, development of theoretic concepts that then became the basis for emergent theory. Throughout this process, to be eligible for inclusion in the emergent theory, all concepts had to be relevant to the leisure participants in question. Of note, in this interdisciplinary undertaking, is the...

  9. Contributors
    (pp. 381-384)
  10. Index
    (pp. 385-398)