29 Jan analytic paper comparing and contrasting DuBois and Burgess perspectives
In W.E.B. Du Bois The Philadelphia Negro (1899) and Ernest Burgess The Growth of the City (1925), the authors are interested in assessing the new social geographies that accompanied the rapid growth of population and the immense physical expansion of cities like Chicago and Philadelphia in the period between 1880 and 1920.
For Burgess, rapid population growth through immigration required a process of natural but adequate readjustment in the social organization (p.166) as each wave of migration arrived in the city. He labeled this process succession (p.164), with established migrants moving out into new neighborhoods as new migrants arrived at the zone in transition (which included the Taylor Street neighborhood now occupied by the UIC campus). Whereas the arrival of new migrants to the city may temporarily cause social disorganization (crime, alcoholism, or breakdown of morals), he had faith that the movement of those populations out into the city would create a process of reorganization akin to that found in ecology.
For DuBois, whose close study of African-American neighborhoods in The Philadelphia Negro was among the first major works in urban studies in the United States, the mobility of populations depended on the availability of work and access to new housing opportunities. His analysis of the forces shaping the experiences of African-American migrants to the city from the South presents a distinct perspective to that of Burgess and his optimism.
II. Paper Instructions
After reading the two chapters, write a short analytic paper comparing and contrasting DuBois and Burgess perspectives on the social organization of the industrial city and the experiences of migrants. In preparing your paper, please be sure to directly address the following two questions:
o What are the forces producing social disorganization according to the authors? Are they in agreement that social disorganization will decline over time?
o Do the authors agree that succession and mobility best describes the experience of migrants arriving in the industrial city? If not, how are their accounts different?