Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Study of Community in American Sociology, c.1900 - c.1975: Part IV - Hillery and Hollingshead: Two Conceptions of Past Sociological Studies

    If community is not something lost, but something transformed; and if the modernity of the social relations of capital has ripped it from its historical foundations in nature and collapsed the binary of community and society, then how is community to be defined, arranged and classified?  For George Hillery the answer lay in identifying and classifying the commonalities of all previous sociological definitions of community.  He understand community as a vital yet mysterious aspect of modern social life.  The task Hillery set for himself was to in some way measure the “extent of agreement among definitions of community” (1955:111) and this task ultimately proved to be too difficult.  In sociology, conceptions of community had by then reached such a degree of “heterogeneity” that it had become “difficult to determine whether any one of the existing definitions, or even any one group of definitions, affords an adequate description” (1955:111).  He pointed out that even the best of the previous classifications ---e.g., Hollingshead (1948), Reiss (1954), Gillette (1926), and McClenahan (1929)--- demonstrated conceptual differences rather than supplying genuine classifications.  Hillery attempted to bring order to this anarchy by compiling and classifying all of the definitions he could identity the sociological literature.  He based his classification on morphological descriptions and the discursive regularities within those definitions.  In so doing, Hillery sought to demonstrate the fundamental importance of classification to the study of community in sociology and created a work that became a ubiquitous reference in the study of community.  Any early 19th Century Natural Historian would have looked approvingly on Hillery’s use of comparative morphology and extinct varieties as the basis for his work of classification.

    In the few years leading to Hillery’s essay, the meaning of community became a persistant problem in sociology.  During his presidency of the American Sociological Association, Lewis Wirth created a committee to review the state of research on “the “community” as exemplified in rural and urban sociology and in ecology... in light of 1. background; 2. division of labor, and 3. theoretical problems.”  Hollingshead’s essay (Hollingshead 1948) was one product of this committee’s  work.  The sociological study of community was the “empirical study of socio-cultural phenomena in localized areas, variously referred to as neighborhoods, towns, cities, communities, [and] regions” which are “assumed to be an organized structural and functional entity with spatial, temporal, and sociological dimensions” (1948:136).  Looking back over fifty years of the formal sociological study of community, Hollingshead identified three distinct periods in the study of community and the construction of community as an object of knowledge. 

    The first period stretched from Giddings taking the newly created Chair of Sociology at Columbia until sociology as a science of society separated from the activist/reformist commitments of social work and the social survey movement.  Despite the fact that these reformist approaches would “gradually gave way to the analytical” approach of social science, the early normative-meliorative approach influenced the later analytical study of community.  The studies of rural communities undertaken by Giddings and his students identified community as a “field laboratory to which the sociologist must turn for inductive study if he is to develop a “science of society”” (1948:138) supporting “the conviction of social actionists that American farm, village, town, and city life was changing rapidly and – in their judgment – for the worse” (1948:128).  These students emphasized the disorganizing effects of modern communications on small communities, and showed how “people and institutions made successive adjustments to the expanding urban world” (1948:138).  Soon the city became “the natural laboratory of social science” (1948: quoted from an announcement issued by Columbia University in 1894 when Frankling Giddings was appointed to the newly created chair of sociology).  Sociologists approached community with:

a set of implicit assumptions as a guide to what they thought community life ought to be; they compared what they saw with an ideal construct and found the concrete realities were not congruous with their cherished abstractions.  Therefore since the ideal was assumed to be the normal, the real must be abnormal.  Value judgments were implicit in this frame of reference, one of which was the assumption that the role of the investigator was to “expose” the situation he investigated and “improve” it, that is, to make the real [community] like the ideal community (1948:137).

Hollingshead maintains that the normative-meliorative period of the study of community came to an end,, when the reformism of the “actionists” could no longer be reconciled with the scientific approach of the discipline of sociology.  This reorientation “eventuated in the separation of social work from sociology” (1948:138).

    Hollingshead’s second period has its origins in the publication of Charles J. Galpin’s Social Anatomy of an Agricultural Community and Robert E. Park’s “The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment” and his monograph The City (1925).  Galpin’s work in particular inspired a popular line of research during the 1920s “characterized generally by the assemblage of masses of detailed facts, usually statistical in nature, on some particular phase of problem of rural life, usually without explicit orientation or clear-cut conclusions” (138).   Galpin’s  work exemplifies the tensions between the normative-meliorative and the social scientific approaches.  He wanted to define community empirically and thus map the territorial limit of social interactions and reform the rural communities by bringing a kind of enlightenment and cosmopolitanism to the everyday life of the farmer.  He warned against being pessimistic in the face of the new “rurban problem” by resolving the antagonism between the city and the farm through civilizing the farm so that it might survive in an increasingly urban world.   Meanwhile in Chicago, Park’s work provided the basis for human ecology “as a new approach to and interpretation of communal life” (1948:139).  In general, the study of community in “the 1920’s  was characterized by an assiduous accumulation of multitudinous facts about rural and urban life, the coinage of terms (“rurban”), the enunciation of concepts (“natural area”), the formulation of hypotheses (the Burgess zonal hypothesis of city growth), and the investigation of processes believed to underlie communal growth and structure (competition, invasion --- succession, segregation)” (1948:139).

    The third period was inaugurated by the publication of Middletown in 1929. “Middletown focused attention upon a viewpoint that had been largely neglected by ecologists, namely, the interrelations between the daily life of people, their institutional organizations and function, and the social structure of the community” and these sociologists “framed their work around [the] organizing concepts [of] social change, institutional organization and function, and social stratification.  In the intervening seventeen years since Middletown, the sociological study of community could still be divided into three categories: ecological, structural, and typological, but the ecological work had been eclipsed in favor of structural and typological studies.  “Although little in the way of theory has been developed in the past decade, the idea persists that there is a legitimate place for human ecology in the social sciences” (1948:140). 

    Hollingshead gave great credit to the ecologists for freeing themselves from thinking of the world as divided between cultural and non-cultural forces.  Neither the social determinist nor the “instinctivists and geographical determinists” positions were uniquely “theoretically justified, since man is both an animal and a member of a socio-cultural community, and any particularistic explanation which arbitrarily excludes the natural environment, the individual, society, and culture is untenable” (1948:141).  In the uncritical acceptance of core ideological constructs as the true measures of social life, the structuralist errors resembled the errors of the ecological tendency   Hollingshead separated his “stratificationists” into social anthropologists and sociologists, differing only in the former’s  use of caste and the latter’s  adoption of class “to explain away the complexities and contradictions in human behavior in a way very reminiscent of the early ecologists” (1948:143).  The structuralists are further distinguished from the typologists in their attempt to use culture, relations with other communities, geographic and economic bases, size, and “population composition... to determine how these factors organize and give meaning to the activities and interpersonal relations of its inhabitants” (original emphasis, 1948:144).  The typologists sought to construct “ideal-typical community types” (1948:144) on the assumption that “a given complex of population, culture, and communal organization gives rise to a characteristic way of life, with a correlated complex of meanings and personality types” (original emphasis, 1948:144).  Hollingshead associated this approach with “formal models of this type of thinking” (1948:144) such as Durkheim’s “sacred and secular” and Tonnies' Gemeinshaft and Gesellschaft

    In his early, but certainly more insightful analysis, Hollingshead does not so much propose a classification as characterize the kinds of sociological and typological studies that displaced the ecological studies of the earlier period.  It is not surprising that Hillery’s  classification of concepts bears out Hollingshead’s  view that typological studies had in his time become central to the study of community and Hillery’s classification remains widely referenced in the sociological study of community.

    Hillery noted that more than half of the definitions included in his classification appeared between the time of McClenahan’s 1929 study and his own.  The importance of a precise definition of community was recognized, but the study of community had not been organized or systematized.  His classificatory scheme sought to overcome this by generating a new definition based upon a consensus of sociological opinion.  Where previous authors had set up a priori classificatory schemes to justify their own definitions, Hillery let the morphology and regularities of the definitions determine the number and extent of the classes that make up his scheme.  He maintained a “strict prohibition against discarding any definitions.  If they would not “fit,” then a separate class was created---though that class might have only one occupant” (1955:117).  If we are correct in understanding that community exists as the consensus of sociologists, then Hillary’s method expresses this perspective quite nicely.

The 94 definitions used in this analysis are not all of the definitions of the community.  However, it is believed that the picture given is a fairly representative one, as indicated by the method of obtaining the definitions.  Beginning with a few definitions already known, the writer traced the references given by these authors, referred in turn to those sources furnished by these references, and so on, collecting the definitions in various works as the search progressed.  As a supplementary procedure, to decrease the possibility of limiting definitions to any “school” or “schools,” all of the promising titles on the library shelves adjacent to those works already located were checked in the same manner.  When no further references could be obtained by this method, the search was halted.  Thus, the coverage given is wide, but no measure is available as to how wide; the author may only claim more conclusiveness than has hitherto been available, not finality (1955:112).

    Hillery found that sociologists agree on the general definition of community, and that the greatest variation in definitions tended to be found amongst those working outside of the discipline of sociology.  Internally, the consistency of opinion rested on three characteristics of community: territoriality, common ties, and social interaction.  The ecologists in Hillery’s sample offered only what he characterized as “deviant” definitions because they did not find social interaction necessary to community. 

    Implicit in his study is the assertion that community had not been lost, but that it had undergone evolutionary transformations.  Hillery traced the literature up to 1950 but Talcott Parsons brought an end to the era with his introduction of the concept of “societal community” ---a theoretical alliance of evolution, classification, modernity, organicism, and community was intended to reconcile the binary of community/society.  For Parsons, the recapitulation of the social order in the social subject is accomplished through the internalization of social limits.  This social subject is a creation of the community.  He experiences these internalized limitations as essential or natural, and if the process is successful, he behaves as a good citizen.  Normative behavior comes at a cost, and we are constantly called upon to admit to or proclaim to which community we belong, identity we elect and to submit to the ideological practices that maintain social equilibrium. 

Next: "The Societal Community" of Talcott Parsons
Previous posts in this series:
Part I: Introduction
Part II: Understanding Community
Part III: The Reception of Tonnies Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft [Community and Society]

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Study of Community in American Sociology, c.1900 - c.1975: Part III – The Reception of Tonnies Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft [Community and Society]


Ferdinand Tonnies
Louis Wirth asserted that “when we use the term ‘community’ we seek to isolate and to emphasize the physical, spatial, and symbolic aspects of human group life, whereas by the term ‘society’ we wish to bring into focus and to stress the psychic, deliberative, rational, normative, and congenial phases of group existence” (Wirth 1951:295). Wirth did not understand that the period when community and society could be theoretically separated had already come to an end. This oversight is easily understood if we remember that Wirth’s statement was the general view of sociologists of the time. The work of Giddings (1910, 1922, 1924), Cooley (1897, 1918), MacIver (1932), and many others laid the groundwork for the investigation of the relationship between community and society, but not all did so in response to Tonnies’ dichotomy. Odum argued that Tonnies division was not widely held and the attention that it was currently receiving was contributing to “the neglect of the scientific study of community” (1951:292). He lamented that “as late as 1947 the distinction between society and community could still be debated at a symposium called ‘The World Community.’’’ Despite this, Tonnies’ dichotomy of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft has figured in almost every postwar sociological discussion on the nature of society. Tonnies reception by American sociology began in earnest with the postwar publication of the English translation in 1957 framed by the commentaries of Sorokin, Loomis, and Loomis and McKinney. The distinction that the commentators make between the “two modes of mentality and behavior, and two different types of society” (Sorokin 1957:vii) becomes a fundamental discursive regularity in sociological theory. For Tonnies, the dichotomy of community and society was complex and rested on five others “dealing with one’s relation to one’s fellow beings’: 1) acquaintanceship and strangeness; 2) sympathy and apathy; 3) confidence and mistrust; 4) interdependence, “the condition of being bound to others.... a feeling or a realization of moral obligation, moral imperative, or prohibition, and a righteous aversion to the consequences of incorrect, illegal and unlawful, as well as of immoral and indecent conduct and action”; and 5) the “bond” of economic relations of exchange (1957:237).
Louis Wirth

In his Table of Concepts, Loomis used these binary types to reveal Tonnies’ grand classificatory structure even as he acknowledged that Tonnies work lacks a “perfectly logically ordered construction.... The original book, to use Stoltenberg’s apt characterization, resembles the beauty of an old castle” (Loomis 1957:263). This description discloses the relation of Loomis’ Table of Concepts to Tonnies’ text, as well as the assumptions that underlie both the table and the text. Though Loomis does not acknowledge it, his Table of Concepts, while only intended to provide a schematic representation of Tonnies concepts, merges with the original text.

The Table of Concepts is on page 269.

The Table of Concepts presents Tonnies work as a structure of intricately arranged binary concepts, with some pairs hierarchically related to others, but all are equally idealized abstractions. There emerges from the Table three taxonomic concepts --- “vegetative,” “animal,” and “mental”---that modify each other in a movement from the most primitive to a modernity wherein the development of each community is recapitulated in the development of the others. This movement through successive developmental stages is constitutive of a theory of social evolution. “In the same way as the individual natural will evolves into pure thinking and rational will, which tends to dissolve and subjugate its predecessors, the original collective forms of Gemeinschaft have developed into Gesellschaft and the rational will of the Gesellschaft. In the course of history, folk culture has given rise to the civilization of the state” (Tonnies 1957:III).

In further commentary, Loomis and McKinney view the structure of the dichotomies underlying Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as providing a paradigm for a science of community that can distinguish “fundamentally different types of social organization” and provide a “standard by which the processes of change or intermediate structural forms can be comprehended from the perspective of the continuum” (Loomis and McKinney 1957:12). It is along this continuum that sociologists established the link between the classification of social groups and their evolution. “It was Tonnies' belief that it remained for the scientific man to devise the means of freeing the majority from the role of mere machines or puppets; but that the scientist must have different eyes than those of the social engineer who constructs or copies Utopian plans and attempts to fit people into them; he must learn that society is a living, organic thing, unfolding naturally from within like a growing embryo or plant bud” (Loomis 1957). This is the preformist concept of evolution that was radically transformed by Darwin’s descent with modification but survived in both neo-Hegelianism and sociological organicism.

Franklin Giddings
The Loomis and McKinney commentary places Tonnies in a tradition of their own construction that begins with Confucius and Plato, and ends with Durkheim. In this scheme, Tonnies accomplishment was in making the differences between community and society into a sociological problem around which the discipline could orientated itself. The Table of Concepts served as both an outline of Tonnies work and an attempt to establish the outer limits of the sociological discourse of community. After the translation of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, the concepts of definition, morphological analysis, and classification of types came to dominate the sociological study of community. Tonnies became a key referent, but previous to the 1950s the work in American sociology presents a different genealogy. Giddings discussion of classification in relation to social evolution or “social telesis” a reminder to us that not everyone took the view that Gemeinschaft replaces Gesellschaft. Many American sociologists followed Giddings in understanding community as not previous to, but rather as constitutive of society, the boundaries of civilization, and the goal of social progress.

There were other theoretical perspectives on community that deserve at least a short digression. In particular, Marx and Simmel offered different approaches despite being misread on occasion so as to appear to endorse Tonnies' ideal dichotomies. For example, Marx used the words gemeinwesen and gemeinschaft almost interchangeably and usually both are translated as “community.” Marx’s gemeinwesen is literally “common character” and is used in the context of his discussion of the social relations of capital and its “the community of money” which expresses the social and historical aspects of this “common character.” In contrast, Tonnies gemeinschaft (“common stock”) implies both share-holding in an institution as well as a line of descent of a stock or “volk.”

The analysis of community in the Grundrisse described the changes in the social relations between humans. In the Grundrisse, the earth itself is the first medium of community, for it is the essence of humanness to cooperate in the social labor necessary to extract the necessities of social life. With the separation of city and country, the earth ceased to be the medium of community, at least in the cities where money rather than the authority of the chief became the representation of Gemeinwesen: “Money thereby directly and simultaneously becomes the real community [Gemeinwesen], since it is the general substance of survival for all, and at the same time, in money the community [Gemeinwesen] is at the same time a mere abstraction, a mere external, accidental thing for the individual, and at the same time merely a means for his satisfaction as an isolated individual” (Marx 1993:226).

Marx did not romanticize past social formations or suggest the restoration of a previous real or imagined community. As for the present --- our present --- there is only “the community of money” where at At the level of the everyday we do not know that we are producing and reproducing the multiple determinations of this “community of money.” In this light, the much discussed loss of community in America was not the passing of some idyllic community, but only a different formation of the gemeinwesen of money. And yet the “loss of community” was and still is denounced as the loss of something supposedly quite ancient. For Marx, community was not something lost, but something produced. And perhaps most importantly, Marx disassociated community from consanguinity and place.1 “The metropolitan type arises from the dominance of money as the form of modernity.... For Simmel modern social life is synonymous with the moment when exchange relations become the dominant social fact of metropolitan life” (Aronowitz c.1992).

Edmund Des. Brunner noted that even in the most idyllic of societies the idea of community offers no “break on self-interest.” Instead, every utopia contains a system of social relations wherein “each social rank has its customs, determined functions, rights and duties may in effect be the skillful manipulations of those in the top social ranks to maintain their existing status and privileges.” Moreover, Brunner recognized that “the earliest rural sociologists” often used terms “descriptive of community which if employed today would be said to show [Tonnies’] influence” when in fact they wrote “without benefit of Tonnies.” American sociologists had developed the “heritage of our own science... in terms of our national locale.” Tonnies would no doubt recognize similarities, but they result from convergence rather than influence (Brunner, 1942:76). Rudolf Heberle, whose essay on Tonnies was the target of Brunner’s critique, responded that while there might have been similarities between the American rural sociologists and Tonnies, the Americans never systematized their study of community and so remained empirical without becoming scientific. On the other hand, Heberle argued that Tonnies gave the discipline a system of types that could be used to classify communities. The meaning of community would be found “in studying communities and “typing” them within some larger theoretical frame of reference” (Hollingshead, 1948:144).

Next: Hollingshead and Hillery

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Understanding Community

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Study of Community in American Sociology, c.1900 - c.1975: Part II - Understanding Community

The Study of Community in American Sociology, c.1900 - c.1975

"The Crowd"


A version of this series of blog posts was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 2003.


The meaning of community has been asked in many ways and the manner of raising the question tell us a great deal about the social conflicts expressed by the proliferation of authoritative answers. The traditional questions concerning community were always questions of definition and classification, nomenclature and description, and over time these proved insufficient to furthering the sociological study of community. It is not that our contemporary questions are better and the traditional ones are simply obsolete. Our understanding of community results from the continuities and discontinuities in the sociological investigation of community.

For example, a break occurred c.1975 that marked the end of a period in which the sociological investigation into community centered on the requirements of definition and classification, the mapping of real or imagined territories, and the tracing of a speculative evolutionary development. In our own period the question of community centers on identity, new social movements, enclosures of community, and the degeneration accompanying a lack of community. These breaks were not simply due to the internal dynamics of discourse, but to the social dislocations and expressions of the forces of modernity.

Early in the study of community, we find an emphasis on problems of definition, classification, territoriality, and development. The volume of references and studies in the field testifies to the regularity with which sociologists felt compelled to comment upon the meaning and definition of community. The study of community became a site where the assumptions and scientific ideologies which guide our desire to rationally change our social relations meet the difficulties of governing the very populations that often appear to stand between us and the enlightened society. The accumulation of knowledge about community is constitutive of the social relations it describes. Community provides investigators with an ephemeral baseline from which to measure social change, validate sociological assumptions and theories, and create objects of social policies we proposed, implemented, evaluated, and sometimes terminated. It is in this sense that ‘community’ is a point of articulation between sociological theory and social policy.

Next: The Reception of Tonnies in American Sociology: Is there a debt?

Previous: Introduction

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Study of Community in American Sociology, c.1900 - c.1975 : Part I - Introduction & Bibliography

The Study of Community in American Sociology, c. 1900 - c. 1975

A version of this series of blog posts was presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, August 2003.  It is an essay that began as a portion of my dissertation.  The passage of time and the inevitable shifting of interests have been such that it will never progress past this draft stage.  It does, however, make a number of observations regarding the history of the sociological understanding of community.  The value of these observations, is, of course yours to decide.

These posts investigate the productions of knowledge, techniques of discipline, and the various deployments of authority and desire referred to as ‘community.’  Community is a fundamental element of sociological analysis, but the meaning and importance of community has always been a problem for sociologists.  Thus, this essay explores the attempts to define and classify community in sociology in the period from c.1900 to c.1975.  During that time, the sociological investigation of community centered on the contribution of definition and classification to a systematic nomenclature and a descriptive terminology, the mapping of communities as territories, and the tracing of the history of community as the evolutionary development of a particular human essence.  The examination of the history of sociology and its study of community shows us that, like the history of any science, the history of sociology is as much the history of errors as it is the history of truths, and like the history of any science, its history is also a history of forgetting.
Keywords: Community, Degeneracy, History of Sociological Thought, Classification

      This series of blog posts outline the sociological study of community from c. 1900 to c. 1975.  The concept of community is a fundamental element of sociological analysis, but the meaning and importance of community has always been a problem for sociologists.  What is community? What is its definition?  What are its characteristics and structures/functions?  Is it to be preserved, developed, or surpassed?  Is community merely in decline as it is replaced by different bonds of society, with new social pathologies  emerging from its decline?  These have been questions that sociologists have grappled with since the beginnings of the sociological investigation of human social production.  Many productions of knowledge, techniques of discipline, institutions and deployments of authority and desire are referred to as ‘community’ --- so many that belonging to a community is assumed to be a normal condition of everyday life.  Moreover, community enters into sociological study because it  ‘is not a referential sign, but a call or an appeal’ (Sargent 1972:125) to something supposedly deep within us, but is nonetheless always on the surface and always at play.
      Sociologists implicitly believe that the anarchy of humans producing socially can be rationally understood and changes in society might be rationally guided.  At the same time, sociologists have tended to categorize, define and represent society as a sequence of evolutionary or progressive stages.   In much early sociological analysis, those classes that ‘stagnate’ or decay ---the ‘demoralized family,’ the dependent, the delinquent, the degenerate---have been made to admit their trespasses either in their own words through ethnographic studies or through the statistical analysis of the aggregated actions of a population.  In its mission to accumulate knowledge for the promotion or prevention of social change, sociology preserves the knowledge of their pathological deviations from normal social life.  This knowledge is still extracted from narratives and social statistics so that society may benefit.  Gradually, the discipline was positioned to be the watch-keeper of society through its provision of knowledge useful for the government of a population.
      It is fitting that a discipline so immersed in its own object could be represented as the physician/healer of social ills.  As the physicians of society, our role revolved around the diagnosis of social pathology and the proscription of social policies that might restore and regulate the equilibrium of the ‘societal community’ in Talcott Parsons’ phrase.  In order to apply its cures, sociologists developed a number of discreet areas of knowledge---criminology, social work, applied sociology, social movement participation, etc.---which, when allied to social theory, promised to provide a full anatomy of the social organism.  This concern was not only present in the works of Herbert Spencer, it is also to be found in later works such as Ehrenscaft and Etzioni’s Anatomies of America (1969) unabashedly provided ‘the anatomies and diagnoses of contemporary America as provided by sociologists.’ The best-selling Habits of the Heart (Bellah et al., 1984) was seen by an admirer as an elaborate ‘physiology of American spiritual distress’ (Birnbaum, 1985).  The sociologist examined the social body and rendered a diagnosis using the language of medicine to build a political analysis.  ‘Social science,’ Bellah et al. insisted, ‘is not like natural science: it is a form of political discourse’ tied to a knowledge whose subject is society itself.  What Alvin Gouldner (1970) called the ‘coming crisis in Western sociology’ arrived, and with it came the realization that sociology and sociologists are as embedded in the milieu as our subjects.
      In analyzing the sociological study of community, the later need to avoid the personae of the physician of society is equaled by the need to avoid writing about sociology as an achievement of a heroic or grand tradition, but both persist in the substrata of social problems and the history of sociology.  Rather than romantic narratives of the origins of sociology, our analysis of the field of sociology should investigate the thematics and repetitions which cut across the works of particular authors.  This requires giving a unity to the sociological texts and the practical deployments of sociological knowledge in public policy.  Focusing on the concept of community allows us to investigate elements which provide the historical a priori of community in sociology.
       Gouldner’s periodization of  ‘Western Sociology’ are familiar to most sociologists: ‘sociological positivism, Marxism, Classical Sociology and Parsonian Structural-Functionalism (1970:88-89).  This periodization has always been of great value for its clarity and has thus for good reason become almost commonsensical.  However, like all periodizations, it obscures the complexity of the history of sociology.  The periods are not so much eras as they are loosely connected and more or less chronologically arranged theoretical syntheses.  Gouldner’s own time is now seen as the period of a Neo-Marxism associated with transformations inside and outside of the academy.  This consensus was soon to be modified still further by feminist interventions and the further growth of empirical and social policy studies.
       Much of the classical sociological work on community is found in the specialized areas of rural and community sociology where ‘community’ became a fundamental unit of analysis.  The fundamental  sociological questions concerning community remain:  What is community? What are its characteristics and functions and how are these to be preserved or encouraged?  What are its moralities and techniques of discipline and control?  These questions remind us that the questioning of community is important to any sociological enterprise that seeks the nature, definition, and utility of concepts like family, group, nation, race, gender, class, society, culture, etc., and which deploys these concepts as the objects of sociological inquiry.
Next section: Understanding Community



Aronowitz, Stanley  (c. 1992) ‘Essay on Simmel’, unpublished manuscript.

Bellah, Robert, Richard Madsen, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, Steven Tipton  (1984)  Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life.  Berkeley: University of California Press.

Birnbaum, Norman  (1985)  ‘The Moral Bypass.’  The Nation, December 28, 1985.

Brunner, Edmund Des  (1942)  Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft in Rural Communities with a Rejoinder by Rudolf Herberle.  Rural Sociology, Vol. 4, no.1 (March), pp. 75-77.

Canguilhem, Georges (1991)  Ideology and Rationality in the Life Sciences. Cambridge: MIT Press.

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Effrat, Marcia Pelly  (1975)  The Community: Approaches and Applications.  New York: Free Press.

Ehrensaft, Philip and Amitai Etzioni  (1969)  Anatomies of America: Sociological Perspectives.  New York: Macmillan Company.

Foucault, Michel  (1970)  The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences.
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Friedrich, Carl J.  (1959)  Community.  New York, The Liberal Arts Press.

Galpin, Charles J.  (1925)  Social Anatomy of an Agricultural Community.

Giddings, Franklin Henry  (1924) The Scientific Study of Human Society.  Chapel Hill, The University of North Carolina Press.

___________________  (1910) ‘Introduction’ to Robert L. Dugdale, The Jukes: A Study in Crime Disease, and Heredity.  New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons [Reprinted in 1970 by Arno Press, New York].

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Gillette, J. M.  (1928)  Rural Sociology.  New York: Macmillan Co.

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Hawkins, Mike  (1999) ‘Durkheim’s Sociology and Theories of Degeneration.’  Economy and Society, Vol. 28,  no. 1 (February).

Heberle, Rudolf  (1941)  The Application of Fundamental Concepts in Rural Community Studies.  Rural Sociology, Vol. 6, no.3 (September), pp. 203-215.

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