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Extra resources for Business Views on Addressing Climate Change Beyond 2012

Sample text

2002). Hence, while money fulfilled a multitude of tasks in the city by providing a medium of equivalence, the come-uppance was to reduce quality to quantity and to effectively destroy the essential ‘form’ and ‘use’ of any object encountered in the city: all was calculable. Simmel contended that this notion of calculation extended to other facets of urban life. One example was his suggestion that urbanites became highly attuned to clock time, contrasting this with the casual and vague sense of time predominant among rural urban theory, modern and postmodern dwellers who moved to the diurnal and seasonal rhythms of nature (see also Chapter 5 on the invention of modern time).

Hence, in contrast to feudal and rural social orders, urban society was one which allowed for the coexistence of social differences, with a complex division of labour (where many different people specialise in many different occupations) creating greater freedom and choice for individuals. Optimistically, Durkheim’s work therefore pointed to a new kind of solidarity, with people brought together by a new form of social cohesion based on mutual interdependence. Irrespective of the emphasis that some sociologists put on the idea that modern cities were socially emancipatory, a more common prognosis was that cities were essentially cold, calculating and anonymous.

Nonetheless, the vocabulary adopted by the Chicago School was incredibly broad, taking in market economics as well as Darwinian theories of competitiveness. The Chicago School were all, to a lesser or greater extent, academic mavericks, and the willingness of Park, Burgess, Reckless, Shaw, MacKay and others to immerse themselves in the lives of those who might otherwise have remained a mere footnote in urban studies (the prostitute, the ‘hobo’, gang members and so on) attracted much comment. In many ways, this form of ethnographic engagement with the life-worlds of urban dwellers was a key influence on the social geographers who later sought to develop a people-centred humanistic geography (P.

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