By Peter Saunders

ISBN-10: 0203393163

ISBN-13: 9780203393161

ISBN-10: 0203396944

ISBN-13: 9780203396940

ISBN-10: 0415091160

ISBN-13: 9780415091169

Social conception and the city query bargains a consultant to, and a serious evaluate of key subject matters in modern city social idea, in addition to a second look of extra conventional ways within the mild of contemporary advancements and feedback. Dr Saunders discusses present theoretical positions within the context of the paintings of Marx, Weber and Durkheim. He means that later writers have frequently misunderstood or neglected the arguments of those 'founding fathers' of the city query. Dr Saunders makes use of his ultimate bankruptcy to use the teachings realized from a evaluation in their paintings that allows you to boost a brand new framework for city social and political research. This ebook used to be first released in 1981.

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If this is demonstrated, then a sociological proof has been established. The major question that must be posed to Durkheim’s method, however, is whether theory really is limited to the secondary role that he attributes to it, and thus whether he has in fact developed an objective empirical science freed from contaminating preconceptions. The first point to be noted is that the initial process of classification and identification of visible phenomena is itself dependent upon theoretically derived criteria.

The latter he finds in the establishment of a modern form of occupational guild system, nationally organized. His argument here is particularly relevant to our present concern with the urban question, for he suggests that the medieval guilds and corporations were at that time the ‘normal mould’ for the organization of economic interests (p. 20) and that the town was thus the comerstone of medieval society. However, as large-scale capitalist industry developed, so the urban corporation of merchants and traders became less and less suited to its organizational needs: While, as originally, merchants and workers had only the inhabitants of the city or its immediate environs for customers, which means as long as the market was principally local, the bodies of trades, with their municipal organization, answered all needs.

Durkheim, however, denies that this is a problem for his method, and argues explicitly that there is no need even to aim for completeness of observation: A satisfactory method must, above all, aim at facilitating scientific work by substituting a limited number of types for the indefinite multiplicity of individuals…. But for this purpose it must be made not from a complete inventory of all the individual characteristics but from a small number of them, carefully chosen (Durkheim 1938, p. 80). The reason why exhaustiveness is not required (and, incidentally, why this method is far removed from the conceptual partiality of Weber’s ideal types) is that, for Durkheim, observable cases provide the means for identifying the common essence that lies behind them.

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Social Theory and the Urban Question by Peter Saunders

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