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By Dietmar Jazbinsek, Bernward Joerges and Ralf Thies


Dokumente, which presented a vast mosaic of the modern metropolis. While the Berlin series was ignored by proponents of contemporary academic sociology in Germany, it was well received by the founding fathers of the Chicago School of Sociology. Chicago's adoption was aimed at filtering out the sociological components from the mixed genre of journalistic, literary and research styles of writing which is so characteristic of the Großstadt-Dokumente. The descriptive material compiled by the series editor, Hans Ostwald, and his co-authors was translated by Louis Wirth into the terminology of American urban sociology. Other members of the Chicago School adapted theoretical fragments from the Dokumente to their own studies. The distinction of social types developed by Julius Bab in his studies of the Berlin bohemia, for example, has been taken up by Thomas and Znaniecki in their classic The Polish Peasant and from there "invaded " American sociology. More significant than occasional theoretical borrowing is this: The Großstadt-Dokumente constitute at the outset of the 20 th century a model research style which would later become the hallmark of the Chicago School—the exploration of urban milieus, based on collective collaboration and devoted to an ethic of urban ethnography. This style of research was branded "Americanism " by early German sociology and was discounted for a "lack of theory". Die Berliner "Großstadt-Dokumente": Ein in Vergessenheit geratener Vorläufer der Chicago School of Sociolog

Year: 2011
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