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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
Published by: American Sociological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095062
Page Count: 11
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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.
American Sociological Review © 1981 American Sociological Association