THE URBANE VIEW: Life and Politics in Metropolitan America by Scott Greer

THE URBANE VIEW: Life and Politics in Metropolitan America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of dated essays by a well-known American sociologist. Focusing on once trendy, now hackneyed concerns like urban renewal and metropolitan-area government, Greer covers Los Angeles and St. Louis, the ""problem of plenty,"" and the urban future. Not only does the content seem a wilted '50's voice dragged into the '60's and fading into. . . but also Greer's method is dated -- rebelling against the earlier ecological studies of Burgess and Bogue, the social psychology of Wirth, and the Tonnies' Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft antinomy, he adopts a neighborhood typology whose determinants are ""statistically unidimensional and independent of others."" This attempt to find wholly independent variables has always been considered simplistic, and Greer's typology produces obvious conclusions: neighborhoods attract new members on the basis of older residents' characteristics; there is a continuum from closeknit to heterogeneous communities; and internal interaction is most significant when the neighborhood differs most from the city at large. A study of the defeat of a St. Louis plan for metropolitan government finds voter ignorance and apathy. Late '60's essays expand the end-of-ideology thesis that overwhelming affluence has made basic political conflict obsolete, discovering, for instance, that ""feminism virtually disappeared as the female became the captain of consumption and director of child-rearing in a child-oriented society."" What cannot be taken with a nod of uninterested assent will evoke a scoff or a grunt of protest.

Pub Date: April 27th, 1972
Publisher: Oxford