Book Reviews of Urban Experience

Urban Experience
Urban Experience
Author: Claude S. Fischer
ISBN-13: 9780155934979
ISBN-10: 015593497X
Publication Date: 7/12/1976
Pages: 319
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Publisher: Thomson Learning
Book Type: Hardcover
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This book would be of interest to sociologists interested in urbanization and/or theory development. Fischer draws on numerous empirical studies to presesnt a new theory of urban life that synthesizes two contradictory theories. Unlike the deterministic perspective of Simmel, Wirth, and Parks, Fischer argues that urbanization does not destroy primary group ties. Unlike compositional theorists like Gans, Fischer argues that empirical evidence indicates that peer group association and values are impacted by city life.

Fischer presents a "subcultural theory" of urbanization arguing that when poulation density increases in urban areas, there is greater likelihood that persons with specialized interests can form primary group ties. These groups appear deviant to outsiders but in actuality, these groups fulfuill the functions of primary groups thus preventing isolation and anomie for those belonging to the group.

Although Fischer does not consider the relevance of "critical" or conflict thoery in explaining urbanization, his book should be of interest to students of urban sociology because he distills the relevant research up though the 1980s. Morever, his bookmight be of interest to those interested or teaching courses in sociological theory, since The Urban Experience provides a clear expample of how to modify existing theory with relevant empirical work.