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The Subcultural Theory of Urbanism: A Twentieth-Year Assessment

Claude S. Fischer
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 101, No. 3 (Nov., 1995), pp. 543-577
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2781994
Page Count: 35
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The Subcultural Theory of Urbanism: A Twentieth-Year Assessment
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Abstract

Over the last 20 years, some urban sociologists have placed Fischer's 1975 article, "Subcultural Theory of Urbanism," on equal footing with Wirth's 1938 classic, "Urbanism as a Way of Life," as an explanation of urban-rural differences. But ambiguities in Fischer's subcultural theory require clarification before its validity can be thoroughly judged. Ironically, a few of these conceptual problems may have led to underestimating the theory's plausibility. Recent empirical research is typically consistent with subcultural theory but includes important failures and significant gaps. Clearer theoretical specification should enable researchers to better test subcultural theory and decide among different explanations of urbanism's social implications.

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