November 29, 2011

Everyday Sociology Talk: Robert Sampson on the Importance of Neighborhoods

Karen Sternheimer recently interviewed Robert Sampson about his new book, Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect.


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This sounds like a great example of interdisciplinary (geography and sociology)work.

Kevin Chamow

This video is ridiculous in the sense that this is really true. People are influenced by their neighborhood. It affects their attitudes towards people from other communities or neighborhoods.

Dr. Sampson, I think it's crucial that you've chosen to study neighborhoods, because it seems to me to be a concept lost today in American culture. However, you argue in your book that in fact neighborhoods are becoming more specialized and important as an organizational unit in a population. I'm no professional sociologist. And although I agree that neighborhoods may in fact be showing a trend to specialize in their respective niches and people of certain similar characteristics are showing more than ever before tendencies to clump together in certain neighborhoods, I'm wondering if with the advent of the technology you talked about, such as Twitter and Facebook and text messaging and the like, whether neighborliness has been lost or not. Sure, neighborhoods may in fact still be alive and well. But within them, can we agree that neighbors are still showing the love, support, and social contact that used to be such a staple of American life? From my experiences and perspective, I personally think that's one aspect of neighborhood life that has been lost.

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