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The City in ChinaNew Perspectives on Contemporary Urbanism$
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Ray Forrest, Julie Ren, and Bart Wissink

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529205473

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529205473.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 24 January 2022

“Bewitched by the History Behind the Walls”

“Bewitched by the History Behind the Walls”

Robert Park and the Arc of Urban Sociology from Chicago to China

(p.17) 2 “Bewitched by the History Behind the Walls”
The City in China

Bettina Gransow

Policy Press

This chapter examines how urban sociology in and of China is interconnected in historical and disciplinary terms with Robert Park and the Chicago School. It analyses four dimensions thereof: 1) personal relations between Robert Park and Chinese students and colleagues who enabled his visit to China, namely Xu Shilian, Wu Jingchao and Wu Wenzao; 2) institutional embeddedness of the sociology departments at both the University of Chicago and Yanjing University within the funding structures and strategies of the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1920s and 1930s and amongst competing approaches to research in (urban) sociology; 3) empirical fieldwork and comparative community studies in the form of Fei Xiaotong’s research on small towns in China (early 1980s) and his conceptualization of rural urbanization which built on his earlier classic rural community study and influenced official Chinese urbanization strategies until the recent National Plan on New Urbanization (2014-2020); and 4) theorizing China’s “villages in the city” (城中村‎) in light of previous debates inspired by the Chicago School on “cities within cities” (Park 2015), the “slum” and “urban villages”. Based on these four perspectives the chapter addresses questions of legacy, creative impetus and possible limitations arising from Park’s program vis-à-vis urban sociology in China today.

Keywords:   Chinese urban sociology, Chicago School, Rural urbanization, Comparative community studies, Villages in the city

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