The Social Construction of Ancient Cities

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Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Cities: The First 6, Years. Monica L. Jane Jacobs. The Creation of Inequality. Examining ancient cities from the "bottom up" perspective, the authors in this volume explore the ways in which cities were actually created by ordinary inhabitants.

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Please try again later. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase. A terrific book. I was mostly interested in the ANE essays and I thought they were well-detailed and researched. In fact, I saw the essay by Keith cited elsewhere. The essays that I read were extremely valuable for subsequent archaeological books that I read including Wooley. See the review. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Set up a giveaway.

What I found most interesting was that Smith's views on the development of cities were such a seamless flow between the physical and the psychological.


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She describes what a city needs: infrastructure of roads, water, food, planning, but also what a city does: it provides humans with exposure to people, ideas, and consumer goods that they would never see in a rural setting. Much of the book examines how consumer habits are both created by the environment but also create the environment and the people's mindsets in turn. There is also the inevitable discussion of what comes next.

What about the collapse of cities? Looking at the question from an archaeologist's point of view, Smith argues that perhaps this isn't as inevitable as we often think. Cities may grow and change with the times, the environment, and the people in them, but historically very few simply end. And even if a city ends like Pompeii , its people may survive, move on, integrate and influence other cities.

Although occasionally repetitive, Cities is a book full of fascinating information and new ways for people to look at the urban environments around them. An excellent read for history lovers, those interested in archaeology, or even human psychology, as Smith makes the argument that all of those aspects go into what makes a city and how we should look at their history.

May 13, Judith rated it liked it Shelves: history , archaeology , cultural-history. Having read the blurbs on the back cover, I was a bit disappointed in this book. It is a subject that I know quite a bit about as a professor of ancient history and culture. The book repeats itself several times, e. But for someone not so familiar with what archaeology has revealed about urbanization in th Having read the blurbs on the back cover, I was a bit disappointed in this book.

But for someone not so familiar with what archaeology has revealed about urbanization in the last 50 or so years, this is a good book to read. The pictures are only a chapter heading and in B and W only. Sometimes they are related to the chapter, sometimes not.

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Hardly relevant to a discussion of ancient years ago cities. Better illustration? Well, aerial view of Pompeii easily comes to mind. However, this is not a fault to be ascribed to the author, but to the publisher. So, summary: good book for those needing an introduction to this topic and a timely topic it is as predictions are that urbanization will increase even more exponentially around the world. Super-cities will become even bigger Jun 13, Claudia rated it liked it Shelves: anf-challenge , a , history-cities. Not so much the archaeology and discovery of the earliest cities on Earth but more an anthropological look at why humans gravitated to create cities and why - over the millennia - they will continue to exist, The book starts really slow which is not really that surprising since we are talking about humans slowly meandering out of Africa.

Collecting in family groups and eventually extended family groups. That would meet and work together to create ritual centers like Stonehenge and Gobekli Tepe. E Not so much the archaeology and discovery of the earliest cities on Earth but more an anthropological look at why humans gravitated to create cities and why - over the millennia - they will continue to exist, The book starts really slow which is not really that surprising since we are talking about humans slowly meandering out of Africa.

Eventually villages and towns that grew into cities. Cities that needed water accessibility. That needed the infrastructure of roads, ports, bridges as well as waste management. Cities that defined permanence and safety with their protective walls. This theme, of course, lies at the heart of the sociological perspective. Urbanism as a way of life.

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American Journal of Sociology, 44 , 3— In one such difference, he said that urban residents are more tolerant than rural residents of nontraditional attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles, in part because they are much more exposed than rural residents to these nontraditional ways. Moore, L. Accounting for spatial variation in tolerance: The effects of education and religion.

Social Forces, 84 4 , — Life in U. On the one hand, many U. Many college graduates flock to cities, not only for their employment opportunities but also for their many activities and the sheer excitement of living in a metropolis. On the other hand, many U.

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Many Americans would live nowhere but a city, and many would live anywhere but a city. Cities arouse strong opinions pro and con, and for good reason, because there are many things both to like and to dislike about cities. As earlier chapters documented, these dimensions of our social backgrounds often yield many kinds of social inequalities, and the quality of life that city residents enjoy depends heavily on these dimensions. For example, residents who are white and wealthy have the money and access to enjoy the best that cities have to offer, while those who are poor and of color typically experience the worst aspects of city life.

Because of fear of rape and sexual assault, women often feel more constrained than men from traveling freely throughout a city and being out late at night; older people also often feel more constrained because of physical limitations and fear of muggings; and gays and lesbians are still subject to physical assaults stemming from homophobia.

The type of resident we are, then, in terms of our sociodemographic profile affects what we experience in the city and whether that experience is positive or negative. This brief profile of city residents obscures other kinds of differences among residents regarding their lifestyles and experiences. A classic typology of urban dwellers by sociologist Herbert Gans Gans, H. The urban villagers: Group and class in the life of Italian-Americans. Gans identified five types of city residents. The first type is cosmopolites. These are people who live in a city because of its cultural attractions, restaurants, and other features of the best that a city has to offer.

Cosmopolites include students, writers, musicians, and intellectuals. Unmarried and childless individuals and couples are the second type; they live in a city to be near their jobs and to enjoy the various kinds of entertainment found in most cities.

Urbanization and the future of cities - Vance Kite

If and when they marry or have children, respectively, many migrate to the suburbs to raise their families. The third type is ethnic villagers , who are recent immigrants and members of various ethnic groups who live among each other in certain neighborhoods. These neighborhoods tend to have strong social bonds and more generally a strong sense of community. Gans wrote that all of these three types generally find the city inviting rather than alienating and have positive experiences far more often than negative ones.

In contrast, two final types of residents find the city alienating and experience a low quality of life.

The first of these two types, and the fourth overall, is the deprived. These are people with low levels of formal education who live in poverty or near-poverty and are unemployed, are underemployed, or work at low wages. They live in neighborhoods filled with trash, broken windows, and other signs of disorder.

They commit high rates of crime and also have high rates of victimization by crime. The final type is the trapped. These are residents who, as their name implies, might wish to leave their neighborhoods but are unable to do so for several reasons: they may be alcoholics or drug addicts, they may be elderly and disabled, or they may be jobless and cannot afford to move to a better area. By definition, cities consist of very large numbers of people living in a relatively small amount of space. Some of these people have a good deal of money, but many people, and in some cities most people, have very little money.

Cities must provide many kinds of services for all their residents, and certain additional services for their poorer residents. These basic facts of city life make for common sets of problems affecting cities throughout the nation, albeit to varying degrees, with some cities less able than others to address these problems. One evident problem is fiscal : cities typically have serious difficulties in paying for basic services such as policing, public education, trash removal, street maintenance, and, in cold climates, snow removal, and in providing certain services for their residents who are poor or disabled or who have other conditions.

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McNichol, D. Revenue loss putting cities in fiscal vise. The New York Times , p. Cities experience many kinds of problems, and crowding is one of them. People who live amid crowding are more likely to experience stress and depression and to engage in aggressive behavior or be victimized by it. Another problem is crowding. Cities are crowded in at least two ways. The first involves residential crowding : large numbers of people living in a small amount of space.

City streets are filled with apartment buildings, condominiums, row houses, and other types of housing, and many people live on any one city block. The second type of crowding is household crowding : dwelling units in cities are typically small because of lack of space, and much smaller than houses in suburbs or rural areas. This forces many people to live in close quarters within a particular dwelling unit. Either type of crowding is associated with higher levels of stress, depression, and aggression Regoeczi, Regoeczi, W.

Crowding in context: An examination of the differential responses of men and women to high-density living environments. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 49 , — A third problem involves housing. Here there are two related issues. Much urban housing is substandard and characterized by such problems as broken windows, malfunctioning heating systems, peeling paint, and insect infestation.

Monica L. Smith

Cities thus have a great need for adequate, affordable housing. A fourth problem is traffic.


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Gridlock occurs in urban areas, not rural ones, because of the sheer volume of traffic and the sheer number of intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs.

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