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populations accompany such social changes.

Park and Burgess contended that the American

city could not be understood apart from immigration.

The major work on immigration produced by

this School, and the study that contributed most

prominently to its research reputation, was

Thomas and Znaniecki’s The Polish Peasant in Europe

and America. The Polish Peasant examined Polish immigrant

adaptation to the United States, focusing

on their experiences in Chicago. Thomas and

Znaniecki’s study encompassed much more than

an examination of Polish immigrants. They

explored immigration within the context of

modernization, utilizing systematic qualitative

methods (see qualitative research). Their research

emphasized the social psychological needs of the

peasant immigrant, how his attitudes and values

interacted with those of the larger society, and the

ways in which the ethnic community helped

shape the immigrant experience. They placed immigrant

experiences with social change at the

center of their analysis.

Thomas and Znaniecki focused on the formation

of the Polish ethnic community rather than

on individual assimilation. They viewed the Polish

community as tightly integrated and insular, its

economic and social life characterized more by

shared, reciprocal values than the profit motive.

The ethnic community was a novel American creation,

and it was a positive development which

Chicago School of Sociology Chicago School of Sociology


encouraged adaptation to American society.

The ethnic community emerged in a particular

geographical environment, its development influenced

by processes of segregation and integration

within the city. The immigrant community inherited

from Europe could not survive intact in

its new American context, however. Over time, the

ethnic community began slowly to disintegrate,

and its resulting social disorganization diminished

the influence of shared social rules on individuals.

More contacts with the world outside of

the community and increases in individual decisionmaking

and freedom overshadowed the

importance of family and traditional ethnic ties

in shaping individual identity.

There were clear limitations on the Polish peasant

studies as an exemplar for the study of immigrant

communities. The authors concentrated on

the urban experience of immigrants, and did not

examine how immigrants fared outside of cities.

They also downplayed the roles of religion and

discrimination in the formation of the ethnic

community. Workplace issues and questions of

political power also did not occupy a central place

in the study.

The Polish Peasant helped popularize the assimilation

thesis that, over time, immigrant ethnic

groups became incorporated into the Anglo

mainstream. Yet the study demonstrated the problems

associated with assimilation, including the

difficulties that an ethnic community faces in

adapting to American mores, the complex process

of the loss of immigrant ethnic solidarity and its

reconstitution in the American context, and the

continued importance of the family and other

primary groups as ethnic groups assimilated

into the American mainstream. In criticizing any

simple assimilationist model, The Polish Peasant

posited that distinctive ethnic communities

contribute to the pluralism of the United States.

The Polish Peasant was influential in the subsequent

history of the sociology of immigration.

Early American research on immigration had an

assimilationist bias, interpreting The Polish Peasant

as an argument for assimilation to an Anglo community.

This was a misinterpretation, as Thomas

and Znaniecki’s study emphasized the reshaping

of the mainstream as new ethnic communities

became part of American society. Moreover,

Thomas and Znaniecki studied the perceptions of

the United States developed by the immigrant,

stressing an active view of the immigrant experience.

They also emphasized that both material

and cultural factors were important in the formation

and maintenance of ethnic communities.

Contemporary pluralist studies which celebrate

ethnic communities have returned to Thomas

and Znaniecki’s emphasis on immigrant agency,

but with a greater awareness of the power of,

and constraints on, immigrant communities. The

most recent and influential book on US immigration,

Remaking the American Mainstream: Assimilation

and Contemporary Immigration (2003), by Richard

Alba and Victor Nee, returns to The Polish Peasant’s

emphasis on the active immigrant who seeks a

better life in the United States. Alba and Nee see

assimilation resulting from the interaction of different

ethnic groups, which transforms and blurs

any simple notion of a mainstream culture. They

also argue that geographic context is central to

processes of immigration and assimilation, which

are also constrained by the power of existing


By the 1930s, the influence of the Chicago

School was in decline, replaced by the new fascination

with statistical methods associated with

Paul Lazarsfeld of Columbia University, who engaged

in opinion polling and market research. His

concern with predicting consumer and voting behavior

left little room for theory and the vagaries

of history and social interaction. Yet after World

War II a “second Chicago School” emerged, as

researchers such as Howard Becker and Erving

Goffman continued the qualitative and theoretical

orientation of the School, examining issues

from deviance to the rituals of everyday life from

complex ethnographic angles.

The Chicago School remains an important influence

on sociology. Contemporary sociologists

and studies influenced by this tradition include

Herbert Gans, The Urban Villagers (1962), Gary Alan

Fine, Gifted Tongues: High School Debate and Adolescent

Culture (2001), and Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant

Work (1996), and more theoretical works by

authors such as Andrew Abbott, in his Time

Matters: On Theory and Method (2001), among many

others. Though its researchers are known primarily

as ethnographically inclined, its proponents

advocated a variety of research methods,

depending on the particular problem under study.

The School also offers a distinctive interactionist

theoretical alternative to the quantitative research

position that views people as isolated individuals

whose ideas and attitudes can be captured

through statistical instruments such as surveys.

For the Chicago School, social interaction shapes

group and individual identity. Researchers must

immerse themselves in the group that they are

studying in order to grasp how perceptions of

self and society arise within these complex

Chicago School of Sociology Chicago School of Sociology


social relations, and in turn are impacted by social

structure. KENNETH H. TUCKER

Chicano studies

These studies had their origins in the student

activism, identity politics, and intellectual

foment of the civil rights movement of the

1960s. Like the other nationalist movements

of the era, it emerged as a field of scholarly inquiry

that placed special emphasis on linking

academic research with the politics of social

justice. It made explicit that link between

activism and scholarship through terms like

action research and consciously sought to improve

the educational, social, and political status

of the Mexican-origin population in the United


The founding moment of Chicano studies occurred

in spring 1969 when a group of Chicano/

Chicana activists and educators met at the University

of California, Santa Barbara, to draft El Plan de

Santa Barbara. This foundation document called

for the creation of Chicano studies departments

devoted to a curriculum and scholarship that

addressed the unique historical experiences and

contemporary condition of people of Mexican descent.

It recognized the central role of knowledge

in the reproduction of social inequality within our

communities but also in producing meaningful

strategies of social change and community


The initial focus of the emerging field was on

recovering the historical experience of the Chicano

population in the southwestern United

States and contesting previous interpretations of

that history. Special emphasis was placed on the

legacy of community organizing and labor activism

in various industries in which the Mexican

American population had toiled under onerous

working conditions. Rodolfo Acuna’s Occupied

American: The Chicano’s Struggle Toward Liberation

(1972) and Mario Barerra’s Race and Class in the

Southwest: A Theory of Racial Inequality (1979) were

emblematic of this early historical recovery project.

Both works drew upon various theoretical

perspectives – Marxism, political economy, internal

colonialism, and labor market segmentation

– to advance a revisionist Chicano history in

the American southwest. Professional associations

such as the National Association for Chicano and

Chicana Studies, founded in 1972, further advanced

the explicit connection between scholarship

and activism and the importance of

ideological struggle in the academy.

From the very beginning, Chicana activists

and scholars ensured that the experience of

women of Mexican descent was central to both

the scholarship and activism in Chicano studies.

The male-centered, masculinist, and “heteronormative”

underpinnings of early works in the field

were rapidly accompanied by a more complex

rendering of those experiences and the multiplicity

of social identities within the Chicano

population. Cherrie Moraga’s Loving in the War

Years (1983) and Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands /

La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987) were emblematic

of this de-centering of the Chicano male

subject and the move towards a more complex

and nuanced construction of the Chicana subject.

While revisionist histories continued in

importance, works such as these were more interdisciplinary

and literary in approach and drew

upon feminism, postmodernism, poststructuralism,

and cultural studies in reframing the Chicana

subject and other marginalized identities.

They challenged not only the masculinist production

of knowledge in the field, but also the paradigms,

methodologies, and pedagogy inherited

from traditional academic disciplines and area


More recently, issues pertaining to the social

construction of gender, sexuality, gay/lesbian subjectivities

through literature and popular culture,

as well as globalization, transnationalization, and

migration processes, have reached center stage in

Chicano studies. The field is increasingly constructing

a more complex and situated rendering

of the Chicano/Chicana subject and, in the process,

exploring the multiplicity of identities in

all their myriad and hybrid forms.

At the present time, there are over 35 million

Latinos in the United States (65 percent of whom

are Chicano or of Mexican descent). Latinos have

now surpassed African Americans as the largest

minority group in the United States and play an

increasing and undeniably important role. For

example, one-third of California’s population is

of Mexican descent and nearly one-half of the

school-age children in the state are from this background.

For these demographic reasons alone,

Chicano studies will increasingly become an important

area of academic inquiry for anyone interested

in race relations and the diversity of

modern life in the United States. As in its inception,

political activism and the ongoing struggle

for social justice will continue to play a central

role in the evolution of Chicano studies in the


Chicano studies Chicano studies



Sociology as a discipline did not display much

interest in children until the end of the twentieth

century (A. James and A. Prout, Constructing and

Reconstructing Childhood, 1990). Childhood was perceived

as being mainly in the domain of psychology,

education, or perhaps history, and children

themselves rarely appeared as sociological actors

who could influence events or who might matter

particularly. Traditionally, the sociological interest

in children was embedded in the notion of

socialization. Thus, one of the main functions

of the family was seen to be the socialization of

children into the next generation of workers,

or parents, or even criminals. The experience of

being a child was not an issue of sociological enquiry,

although the question of what children

might become when they reached adolescence or

adulthood was important. Thus children were

important in terms of their future as adults, not

in terms of what they might “be” or “do” as


It is perhaps accurate to suggest that, while

sociology had little interest in children per se, it

did have more of an interest in childhood because,

like parenthood, or the family, or the education

system, childhood was conceptualized as a social

institution rather than a naturally occurring phenomenon.

The work of the social historian

Philippe Arie`s in his Centuries of Childhood (1962)

was highly significant in challenging any naturalistic

assumptions about childhood by showing

how the institution changed at different moments

in history, and by revealing how our ideas of what

a child might be (including what a child could and

should do) have changed dramatically according

to time and place. Other historical studies which

have compared nineteenth-century childhood

with contemporary childhood, or working-class

childhood with middle-class childhood, have managed

to show that there can be a huge variation

in cultural expectations of children (for example

Eric Hopkins, Childhood Transformed, 1994). Even

defining what a child is, or when childhood starts

and finishes, is open to contestation. The boundaries

between the infant, the toddler, the child,

the adolescent, the teenager, and the young adult

blur as cultural norms and material circumstances

change. For example, it was traditionally

assumed that a child became an adult on reaching

puberty (for girls in nineteenth-century England

this might have been as late as sixteen or eighteen).

However, modern lifestyles and diets (in the

West at least) have affected physical rates of

growth so that puberty comes earlier (for example

ten or eleven years for girls). This means that

traditional indicators of maturity become less

relevant and it is less sensible to rely on the body

to act as the visible marker of transition from

childhood to adulthood.

Arie`s pointed to the lack of differentiation between

“the adult” and “the child” under the ancien

re´gime, and the very strict differentiation between

the generations that grew up in the Victorian era

– especially for middle-class children. For Arie`s

childhood is a modern invention. This challenge

to the idea of childhood as a natural state has

given rise to sociological debates about whether

contemporary cultures are now molding childhood

in problematic ways. For example, some

recent work on childhood has started to document

the end of childhood, and to argue that

modern society is truncating childhood. The endof-

childhood thesis points to such factors as the

premature sexualization of children, the growth

of children’s fashions and styles of dress which are

similar to adult styles, the rise of the child as a

consumer in capitalist societies, and of course the

impact on children of the media, which are seen

to introduce them to adult realities such as violence

long before it is necessary. Ranged against

the end-of-childhood thesis is an alternative perspective

which points to the way in which developed

welfare states now almost refuse to let

children become adults. This is achieved through

policies which enforce prolonged economic dependence

on parents, extend full-time education

to eighteen or even twenty-one years, and apply

restrictions on access to such things as paid employment,

birth control, abortion, or alcohol.

These policies which keep young adults in a state

of dependency are, it is argued, exacerbated by an

over-protectiveness in parents which means that

children are escorted by an adult wherever they go

(for example school, friends’ houses, playgrounds,

and so on). Modern children, it is argued, are kept

in a state of emotional and economic dependency

for longer than previous generations.

These analyses of childhood are, of course, derived

mainly from wealthy industrialized societies.

They do not reflect the material realities,

nor social meanings, of childhood as it may be

experienced in countries such as Thailand, China,

or Japan, or in African countries. Moreover, they

may not even reflect all childhoods found in

western societies because of the tendency to overlook

the different forms that childhood might

take in minority ethnic or religious communities,

childhood/children childhood/children


or among refugees, or among traveler families.

For this reason, it has become increasingly important

to think in terms of the diversity of childhoods

which may co-exist locally and globally.

Alongside this expansion in sociological understandings

of childhood(s) (for example Chris

Jencks, Childhood, 1996) we have witnessed the

growth of what is increasingly referred to as the

“standpoint” of children (Berry Mayall, Towards a

Sociology for Childhood, 2002). There is an interest in

the experience of being a child and a parallel

concern to try to appreciate social reality from

the point of view of children themselves. This has

given rise to many empirical projects which allow

children to express their own understandings of

the social world – rather than relying on teachers

or parents to convey what children might think or

feel. This shift towards including the standpoint

of children has started to produce a conceptual

change in the discipline, comparable to the way in

which the introduction of the standpoint of

women transformed sociology in the 1980s. As a

discipline, sociology is starting to appreciate how

“adultist” it has been and, just as it has had to

come to terms with other neglected aspects of

power relations, such as racism, sexism, ageism,

and heteronormativity, so it has started to analyze

more systematically power that is exercised between

the generations. CAROL SMART

Chodorow, Nancy (1944– )

Obtaining her BA from Radcliffe College and then,

in 1975, her PhD from Brandeis University, Nancy

Chodorow is currently Professor of Sociology at

the University of California, Berkeley.

Chodorow’s The Reproduction of Mothering (1978),

was a feminist rethinking of Sigmund Freud’s version

of childhood development. Because of his

patriarchal environment, Freud did not understand

how females develop a gender identity. Chodorow

reformulates Freud’s theory of female

socialization. She argues that the infant’s relationship

to the mother, rather than the father, is the

crucial bond in an infant’s life. Gender identity is

rooted in the infant’s relationship to the mother

because in most families mothers have responsibility

for child rearing. Girls have a more continuous

relationship with their mother than do boys.

Accordingly, they develop a more complex gender

identity in which nurturing, caring, and sensitivity

are more important than the rigid ego

boundaries and competition important to males.

Chodorow contends that most societies value

these male traits more than female values, so

that women’s distinctive psychology and culture

are undervalued.

Chodorow’s work has influenced the work of

many feminist thinkers, from Lillian Rubin’s Intimate

Strangers (1983) to Carol Gilligan’s In a Different

Voice (1982). Chodorow has been criticized for

generalizing the experience of middle-class white

women to all women, and neglecting cultural

factors in psychological development. In her

most recent work, Femininities, Masculinities, Sexualities

(1994) and The Power of Feelings (1999), she

addresses these criticisms, arguing that culture

intersects with psychological development in

complex ways, and that researchers should be

wary of universal generalizations about gender

differences. KENNETH H. TUCKER, J R .

church–sect typology

This typology derives from Max Weber and was

also popularized by the Christian theologian,

Ernst Troeltsch, who was interested in elaborating

different types of religious experiences. Weber’s

ideal-typical distinction in Economy and Society

(1922 [trans. 1978]) between church and sect was

part of his theoretical analysis of the rationalization

of different forms of legitimation and authority.

Weber identified four characteristics of a

church: (1) a professional priesthood; (2) claims

to universal domination, such as the elimination

of ethnic or national barriers; (3) the rationalization

of doctrine and rites; and (4) compulsory

membership by birth, all of whom (whether believers

or not) are subject to the church’s charisma

and discipline. Distinctive to a church is the separation

of charisma from the person and its linkage

instead to the institutional office (hierocracy),

an office charisma (or grace) of which the church

is the universal expression and trustee.

By contrast, a sect is a voluntary association or

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