The Reportage of Urban Culture

The current fascination with urban life has encouraged a growing interest in the Chicago School of sociology by students of sociological history. It is generally accepted that the field research practised by the Chicago sociologists during the 1920s - the ‘Golden Age of Chicago sociology’ - used methods borrowed from anthropology. However, Rolf Lindner also argues convincingly that the orientation of urban research advocated by Robert Park, the key figure in the Chicago School and himself a former reporter, is ultimately indebted to the tradition of urban reportage. The Reportage of Urban Culture goes beyond a thorough reconstruction of the relationship between journalism and sociology. It shows how the figure of the city reporter at the turn of the century represents a new way of looking at life, and reflects a transformation in American culture, from rejecting variety to embracing it.

• Corrects conventional beliefs about the Chicago School by using extensive and far-reaching primary material • Reveals the connections between ‘ephemeral’ journalism and ‘academic’ sociology • Gives insights into the phenomenon of the metropolis and reactions to it at the turn of the century


Acknowledgements; Introduction; Part I: 1. ‘News’: the reporter and the new; 2. The sociologist as city editor: Robert Ezra Park; 3. Reporters in depth: a comparison of journalistic and sociological studies; Part II: 4. Marginality and experience; 5. ‘To see life’: the cultural undercurrent; 6. Uncle Sam and young Sammy: sociology between reform and report; Bibliography; Indexes.