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Relevance of Study of Urbanization in Sociology

Urbanization is the process of increase in size and density of population in cities because of the movement of population from rural areas.

Urbanization is the process of increase in size and density of population in cities because of the movement of population from rural areas. Urbanization is defined in Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences as the movement of people from communities concerned chiefly or solely with agriculture to other communities generally larger whose activities are primarily centred in government,trade,manufacture or allied interests. Anderson observes that it involves not merely a movement from villages and change of occupation but also a change in the migrants attitude, beliefs,values and behaviour patterns.

According to Sorokin and Zimmerman, the characteristics of urban social system are non agricultural occupation, bigger size compared to rural communities a different environment,social differentiation, social mobility, secondary relations, organic solidarity.

Urbanization is a universal process implying economic development and social change.According to one view urbanisation means a breakdown of traditional social institutions and values.However in India urbanisation has not resulted in big transformations. One cannot say that urbanization in India has resulted in the caste system being replaced into class system, the joint family transforming into nuclear family and religion becoming secularised though changes are visible.Urban centres in traditional India were important places of worship, annual congregations and trade and navigation being prominent as K.L Sharma pointed out. They had a stable population.Today cities have come up as places of industry, headquarters of districts and states or as centres of higher education.Some towns have lost their traditional significance whereas some have acquired added importance because of economic and political factors.

MS Rao has classified urban studies into three categories- those concerned with the institutional approaches,those treating cities and their growth in the general context of history of civilizations and those which formulate the cultural role of cities in the context of social organizations of the great tradition.The first category of studies mention economic institutions and religion.For Coulanges an ancient city was a religious community.Max Weber’s emphasis was on social action and autonomous city government.The institutionalists look for specific causes and conditions for the growth of cities in different contexts.Spengler,Ghurye and Wirth look for an explanation for the growth of civilization in general. They consider world history in terms of city history. The city is a mirror of civilization.Robert Redfield has provided a typology of the city in terms of orthogenetic and heterogenetic processes of change in the organization of tradition and culture.Milton Singer observes that the great tradition is basically an urban phenomenon and transformation of the little tradition into the great tradition refers to the process of urbanization.Gideon Sjoberg distinguishes cities into preindustrial and industrial.The preindustrial city was a feudal one.There are certain limitations of this approach.Firstly feudalism was not the only basis of city formation and secondly today the modern city is found in existence due to other factors too in addition to industrialization.

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