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The Public and Private Worlds of City Life

Claude S. Fischer
American Sociological Review
Vol. 46, No. 3 (Jun., 1981), pp. 306-316
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095062
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Public and Private Worlds of City Life
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Abstract

The classical theory that urbanism produces interpersonal estrangement is supported by evidence that urbanism is associated with less public helpfulness and more social conflict. This theory is challenged, however, by evidence that urbanism is not associated with residents' having any fewer social ties or suffering higher psychological stress. An alternative theory contends that urbanism produces fear and distrust of "foreign" groups in the public sphere, but does not affect private social worlds. This new survey study supports the latter explanation by reconfirming earlier findings and showing that urbanism is not correlated with distrust of neighbors but is correlated with distrust of "other people" in the wider community.

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