Strangers in Urban Places

Cortez Bailor
112次瀏覽
更新日期
2020/03/12

The harmony of an urban area where everyone knows each other is usually changed by strangers who come either to live or temporarily work in such places. In most cases, the native population treats strangers with suspicion. Sociologists define two types of newcomers – biographical and cultural strangers. Biographical strangers are those individuals who are unknown to someone else; for example, migrants from other distant countries. Cultural strangers are those persons who seem alien to others; for instance, goths dressed in black and having heavy black makeup might seem strange to people who do not follow such subculture. Nineteenth-century America was the country that experienced the immigration of newcomers from other nations. An analysis of the study shows that the physical layout of a place and social inventions can contribute to managing and reducing the effect of both biographical and cultural strangers.

For native residents, strangers are those people with whom they are not familiar in both biographical and cultural sense. Sociologists make a distinction between biographical and cultural strangers. A biographical stranger is a person whom natives have never seen and about whose past they have no available information. A cultural stranger is an individual who occupies symbolic worlds and has values, customs, or perception of acceptable conduct that are different from the ones followed by native dwellers. In the nineteenth century, immigrants who came to the United States represented both types of strangers bringing their deeply-rooted traditions and customs which native urban dwellers could not always meet with approval.

The physical layout of places may contribute to both making people strangers and helping them to become less strange to each other. For more than ten decades, urban planners have attempted to create a balance between trying to socialize strangers into the mainstream culture of a region and meeting their needs and preferences. To reach this goal, they have found third places which serve a social need beyond the workplace and home. These places include barbershops, coffee shops, cafes, bars, and hair salons where both strangers and natives try to relax and get satisfaction from eating a meal, having a drink, and getting a haircut. On the one hand, they help people to become less strange to each other. In such entertainment establishments, individuals meet with their friends or engage in conversation with unfamiliar persons. Both strangers and native residents can control the depth and level of interactions with each other there. In addition, the social norms of the place tend to dictate acceptable social conduct for both parties. These units also serve as places where both biographical and cultural strangers can safely disclose their status and ideological as well as racial differences. On the other hand, the third places contribute to making individuals strangers as they can exclude those persons who are considered to be undesirable visitors. In most cases, these are the places which strangers cannot afford to visit. They include expensive boutiques, luxurious restaurants, and places that require wearing a certain kind of outfit. Another way for essays service to make individuals strangers is to create a social control in cities through the city planning, which includes a variety of parks, open spaces for native dwellers, and housing in the regions overcrowded with high buildings. Limiting access to some groups of individuals because of their belonging to a particular social class and race also helps to manage interaction between natives and strangers.

Urban people have also developed social inventions to reduce and sometimes manage the impact of both biological and cultural strangers. If a stranger acted in a way that violated their socially-acceptable standards and traditions, he or she was immediately identified and often physically punished. It was also easier for native residents to control occasional strangers rather than the group of unfamiliar individuals because of their high visibility. On the one hand, native people tried to reduce the impact of foreigners because they could not accept their behavior as a norm. A high level of tension led to the appearance of such groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the members of which advocated violence against African Americans, feminists, and non-white migrants. The other invention aimed at maintaining social control was the formation of residential segregation. Native residents developed ordinances that greatly affected strangers as they forbade them from buying lands and starting a business in some regions. Consequently, non-white residents created ethnic enclaves, the aim of which was to serve the needs of such newcomers. On the other hand, native dwellers also tried to manage the adverse impact of strangers and help them follow their standards as well as adopt their customs and traditions. As a result, such institutions of society as corporations and schools aimed to socialize migrants into the socially-acceptable mainstream norms of the nineteenth century in the United States. To achieve this goal, the government had made school attendance mandatory for both native residents and newcomers by the middle of the 1850s. These strategies helped to reduce and occasionally manage the influence of strangers on the cultural development of urban places.

In conclusion, taking into consideration the findings of the study, the biological strangers differ from the cultural ones as the former ones are persons whom natives have never seen, while the later ones are individuals who follow values and customs that are different from the ones followed by natives. The physical layout of a place and social inventions developed by urban people can substantially contribute to managing and reducing the adverse impact of both biographical and cultural strangers.

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