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Anomie in the Metropolis: The City in American Sociology and Psychiatry

Hans Pols
Osiris
2nd Series, Vol. 18, Science and the City (2003), pp. 194-211
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3655292
Page Count: 18
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Anomie in the Metropolis: The City in American Sociology and Psychiatry
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Abstract

American sociologists and psychiatrists have often characterized cities as sites of social disintegration conducive to insanity. Small-town rural life, by contrast, has been presented as ideally suited for fostering mental health. Early research in psychiatric epidemiology confirmed these views. After World War II, psychiatrists and sociologists collaborated in influential research projects on mental illness in the community. Although these studies were guided by theories of social stratification, which ignores location, cities remained problematic for psychiatrists because they contained high concentrations of poverty and social problems and, consequently, mental health problems.

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