Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   



Sjoberg model

  A model of social and spatial order of the pre-industrial city, first expressed in Gideon Sjoberg\'s (1960) book of the same title. Sjoberg\'s model arises from his desire to provide a critique of, and alternative to, the concentric zonal model of the city offered by Ernest Burgess and, more generally, of human ecology as applied by prominent members of the Chicago school. As such, Sjoberg\'s work was part of a larger project, initiated by Walter Firey (1947), to replace human ecology with structural functionalism as the central paradigm of urban sociology (p. 12). The major factors used to explain urban morphology in Sjoberg\'s model are social structure and technology.

Sjoberg begins by differentiating between non-urban, feudal, and industrial societies. He is concerned with the second of these: societies that utilize animate sources of energy, and are literate and urbanized, including all world civilizations prior to the industrial revolution as well as non-industrialized contemporary societies. He argues that feudal, or pre-industrial, societies everywhere, and through time, are characterized by similar technological achievements and a three-tiered class structure that includes a small ruling class, a large lower class, and outcaste groups. The ruling class, comprised of those in religious and administrative authority, establishes a social order that reproduces its control over succeeding generations; urbanization is both the outcome of social stratification and a means whereby hegemony is perpetuated. The morphology of pre-industrial cities reflects this interdependence between social and spatial order: power is consolidated by the ruling class through its residential location in the city centre, the most protected and most accessible district. Here, residents forge a social solidarity based on their literacy, access to the surplus (which is stored in the central area of the city), and shared upper-class culture that includes distinctive manners and patterns of speech. Elite clustering in the city centre is reinforced by the lack of rapid transportation.

The privileged central district is surrounded by haphazardly arranged neighbourhoods housing the lower class. Households in these areas are sorted by occupation/income (merchants near the centre, followed by minor bureaucrats, artisans, and finally the unskilled), ethnic origin, and extended family networks. Merchants are generally not accorded elite status, since power is achieved through religious and military control while trade is viewed with suspicion. The model is less clear on the residential placement of outcaste groups (typically slaves and other conquered peoples): some of these perform service roles and are intermingled with the rest of the urban population, while others live at the extreme periphery of the city — frequently beyond its walls.

In formulating this model, Sjoberg reverses the logic used by Burgess — who placed commercial activities at the centre of the city, and a succession of residential districts, from poor to wealthy, around it. Sjoberg notes that the Burgess model is applicable only to industrial cities, where production and commerce propel economic growth and where capitalists are accorded high social standing. Further, he argues that human ecology incorrectly treats urbanization as an independent social force, when in reality urban growth should be seen as a \'dependent variable\', as it depends on the distribution of social power and available technology. Empirical investigations of the Sjoberg model have been generally supportive, but caution that the model cannot account for the intricate details of urban development across different cultural contexts. Others have criticized the theoretical content of Sjoberg\'s work, especially his stress on the role of technology and uncritical view of social power. Sjoberg\'s functionalist logic (which blurs distinctions between causes and consequences), however, remains largely unnoticed and unchallenged. (DH)

References Firey, W. 1947: Land use in central Boston. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Sjoberg, G. 1960: The pre-industrial city, past and present. New York: The Free Press. (Two chapters are co-authored with Andrée F. Sjoberg.)

Suggested Reading Carter, H. 1983: An introduction to urban historical geography. London: Edward Arnold. Langton, J. 1975: Residential patterns in pre-industrial cities. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 8: 1-27. Ley, D. 1983: A social geography of the city. New York: Harper and Row. Morris, A.E.J. 1994: History of urban form: before the industrial revolutions. New York: Wiley. Radford, J.P. 1979: Testing the model of the pre-industrial city. Transactions, Institute of British Geographers NS 12: 392-410. Wheatley, P. 1963: What the city is said to be. Pacific Viewpoint 2: 163-88.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
skid row


Other Terms : cyborg | town | territorial social indicator
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us