Ever since Robert Ezra Park and Ernest Burgess published their classic research on Chicago which described “how” residential neighborhoods follow a distinct ecological pattern, generations of urban practitioners and theoreticians have been arguing about “why” they are spatially distributed. This essay is designed to demonstrate the utility of Visual Sociology and the study of Vernacular Landscapes to document and analyze how the built environment reflects the changing cultural identities of neighborhood residents. It is strongly suggested that a visual approach can also help build a bridge between various theoretical and applied disciplines that focus on the form and function of the metropolis. While discussing some of these often-competing models, the text is illustrated by a selection of photographs taken in Brooklyn, New York whose neighborhoods over the past century have been a virtual Roman fountain of ethnic transitions. Although many of the oldest and newest residents of Brooklyn such as Chinese, Italians, Jews, and Poles would be familiar to Park and Burgess, others such as Bangladeshis, Egyptians, and Koreans would not. Ideas about Old and New cities from the “classical” to the “post-modern”; from Park and Burgess to Harvey and Lefebvre are also synthesized via the insights of J. B. Jackson.
Dominant in the urban sociology literature on immigrant incorporation is the role of ethnic enclaves – ethnic neighborhoods that provide a “port of entry” or “context of…
Dominant in the urban sociology literature on immigrant incorporation is the role of ethnic enclaves – ethnic neighborhoods that provide a “port of entry” or “context of reception” and help facilitate incorporation in the host society by generating informal resources, networks, and institutions that provide linguistic and cultural services and products (Portes & Rumbaut, 1990). While New York City's stature as a global city is replete with nostalgia about historic ethnic immigrant neighborhoods, contemporary immigrant settlement is once again transforming urban landscapes not only by renewing enclave formations but by creating numerous multiethnic, multiracial neighborhoods (Hum, 2004). As often cited, in no other historic period has New York City received as diverse a range of people from all over the world – certainly, this diversity is reshaping local neighborhood landscapes.
Habermas’ theory of the structural transformation of the public sphere has been a point of departure for theoretical debate for more than forty years. Habermas’ explains…
Habermas’ theory of the structural transformation of the public sphere has been a point of departure for theoretical debate for more than forty years. Habermas’ explains the decline of a discursive space for public discussion of collective interests as resulting from the emergence of consumer culture in post-industrial capitalism. Whereas the public sphere was originally a location of rational-critical activity, public life today is a spectator sport. The dominance of media corporations has undermined the potential for critical debate of pressing social issues, including race. This study seeks to illuminate the change in public discussions of race in New York City. A comparison is made between nineteenth-century and contemporary discourse. The nineteenth-century discourse is represented by texts from The Weekly Advocate and The Colored American, two important black Abolitionist newspapers published in New York City between 1837 and 1841; this discourse has a two-sided focus: an attack on slavery and a call for civil rights, and as such, combines analysis of the violence of racism and the nature of racial inequality. To find a parallel in the contemporary discourse, news articles from New York Times, from 1998, were collected. An innovative semiotic content coding strategy is used to describe the conceptual network and ideology of public discussions of race in New York City.
This paper contributes to the analysis of the relationship between sociological discourse on ethnic relations and social changes produced by immigration in Italy. It is…
This paper contributes to the analysis of the relationship between sociological discourse on ethnic relations and social changes produced by immigration in Italy. It is organized in three parts. The first part investigates the reasons that until recently prevented European and Italian academic debate from using the concept of ethnic minority to analyze international migration.
Few of the spaces of Milan are so strongly loaded with cultural and political baggage as “Chinatown” – the ethnic neighborhood on Paolo Sarpi Street – where a handful of…
Few of the spaces of Milan are so strongly loaded with cultural and political baggage as “Chinatown” – the ethnic neighborhood on Paolo Sarpi Street – where a handful of roads, the global flow of Chinese goods, and the daily routines of elderly people and families are merged. The complexity of the “Sarpi Question” is precisely determined by the discussion of social dimensions, space and ethnoracial, economic and political, all at once.
In order to come to a deeper understanding of the economic mechanism of development of a city, this chapter begins by examining the causes that led to the break of an apparent balance in the practices of local cohabitation of the Chinese District in Milan. This chapter will also examine the relationship of power and conflict between the local government and the social groups, from the point of view of an urban change process. This framework deals with reclaiming urban space and the requalification processes aimed at improving the physical context of the Sarpi area, and especially at starting up processes of financial revitalization.
“No buses, no taxis, no cars and no trading. Why don't you just build a wall around us?” reads a banner displayed by traders on Sarpi Street in the 2008 Christmas season, the first month of controlled traffic flow. Ethnographic research attempts to explain how this result was reached.
The voice of Italian residents is only one of those emerging from the results of this research, along with those of business owners, city users, and local politicians. It is an interplay between antagonism and juxtaposition in which I have tried to highlight the existing conflict with the aim of understanding and explaining the tension in this urban space. Most importantly, this case demonstrates that the problem of cohabitation in a socially mixed neighborhood is a problem of representation and perception, which is essentially political.
The opening conclusions deal with the paradox of the urban safety policies promoted by the Milan local government as a place of decompression in the face of strong social pressure on immigration, precariousness, and insecurity. Strategies aimed at places to act on people.
Some chapters provide us with a snapshot (intentional) of ethnic community across the city. Others look closely at a particular place. Still others look across the whole ethnic landscape of the city. Neither individually nor as a whole collection do they form a complete picture. But perhaps because they are so eclectic maybe they form a challenge to urban sociology to exam not just macro level change in urban form and metropolitan space, but to apply other methodologies to better understand the increasingly complex, unfocused mosaic of social worlds in the American city.
The political campaigns of Una Clarke and Major Owens show an interesting display of ethnic politics. In this paper, I argue that the presence of a Caribbean population in…
The political campaigns of Una Clarke and Major Owens show an interesting display of ethnic politics. In this paper, I argue that the presence of a Caribbean population in Brooklyn New York presents itself as a challenge to the already present African-American structure. The Caribbean politicians do not subscribe nor fully ally with the African-American politicians, and instead, seek to carve out a niche for themselves and utilize their ties to home in an effort to cajole the Caribbean populace for support. Through the purview of a political campaign in Brooklyn between an African-American incumbent and a Caribbean insurgent, I attempt to contribute to the transnationalist literature through illustrating the concept of the nation−state, which can be explained as an immigrant’s continual bond to their home country while living abroad.
Some theories about urban ethnics are synthesized here by looking at “ethnic vernacular landscapes.” Since 1965, the diversity of American cities has drastically changed…
Some theories about urban ethnics are synthesized here by looking at “ethnic vernacular landscapes.” Since 1965, the diversity of American cities has drastically changed. It might appear at first glance that the new elements are blending together, but a closer look reveals a complex multicultural mosaic. In the wake of the 21st century, new and old ethnic landscapes co-exist, overlap, and compete with one another, and in the process they define the essence of the new American city. A visual approach can be an important tool in studying this complex and rapidly changing social reality.
The boundaries of Little Italy are not precise, and have shifted over time. In the 19th century, the district extended south of Canal Street into the area identified by…
The boundaries of Little Italy are not precise, and have shifted over time. In the 19th century, the district extended south of Canal Street into the area identified by Jacob Riis as the “Mulberry Bend,” and described as “the foul core of New York’s slums.”3 By the 1960s, Little Italy had retreated across Canal Street, as the Italian population began to leave the neighborhood for other areas in the city. For the purposes of this paper, Little Italy shall be understood as comprising three census tracts in New York City’s Manhattan county, numbers 41, 43, and 45. This area, lying within a short walking distance of City Hall, is roughly bounded by Canal Street on the south, Bowery on the East, Broadway on the west, and East Houston street to the north. Nicknamed the Mulberry District, it became the first and largest Italian enclave in the United States between 1870s and 1924. While there had been an Italian community in New York for generations, historian George Pozetta has argued that the winter of 1872–1873 was pivotal in the development of this community, when more than 2000 poor Italian immigrants, arrived at Castle Garden, the immigrant reception center, unable to care for themselves.4 These immigrants were quickly fitted in to the preexisting Italian community, taking advantage of the contacts provided by the bossi, typically northern Italian men who had arrived earlier, to find jobs in such local enterprises as groceries and saloons, and with American employers. Once the new comers settled, a process of chain-migration began. By the later 1870s, the bossi were acting as agents for gangs of labor sent out from New York to work in other areas across North American. As a result, the Mulberry district became a sort of transshipment point for Italian labor.