RURAL AND URBAN CONVERGENCE
Although “rural” and “urban” are useful concepts, there has never been a sharp dividing line between .them. Even before the suburban movement and the urbanization of rural life, the two life-styles converged in the town URBAN PERSONALITY. What effects do the conditions of urban life have “upon urban personality? Earlier urban .sociologists, such as Park (1925], Sorokin and Zimmerman, , and especially Louis Wirth in his
classic essay, “Urban ism as a Way of Life” , concluded that urban life created a distinct urban personality which was anomie, materialistic, self-sufficient, impersonal, hurried, superficial, manipulative, and inclined toward insecurity and personal disorganization. Relatively little empirical research supported these impressions. Some modem studies have found that alienation and nominate are no ore widespread in highly urbanized than in less highly urbanized areas [Greer arid Rube, 1959; Fischer, 1973). As urban ism increases, neighboring’ and participation informal organizations decline, but primary group relationships within kinship and friendship groups increase [Schulman, 1976). When rural people migrate to the city, they do not enter a social vacuum but rely heavily , upon relatives for social interaction [Blumberg and Bell, 1959). Instead of the extended family declining in importance with urbanization, research feds that the extended family is an
even more important unit in large cities-than in rural areas [Key, 1961]. In fact, the “extended family” today might well be defined to include close friends, for they fulfill the same function as relatives. The rise of the proportion of secondary contacts with urban ismimplies no absolute weakening of primary group life. .Research has found a few differences between the urban and rural personality.