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To Dwell among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City Paperback – April 15, 1982

ISBN-13: 978-0226251387 ISBN-10: 0226251381

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To Dwell among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City + Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 459 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (April 15, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226251381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226251387
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #751,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Claude S. Fischer is professor of sociology at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The Urban Experience and Networks and Places.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book reads like a 250 page sociology paper. It attempts to debunk the idea that people living in urban environments suffer a degraded social network as compared to people in more rural settings. Basically, the author conducted a major survey analyzing several hundred (or thousand perhaps) people's relationships including friends, kin, neighbors, etc.

The study took place in the 1980s making it somewhat dated, and was focused in California which may not be a representative sample of the entire US. Moving past the initial issues with the 'study' so to speak, the book becomes quite interesting by comparing the difference in social networks between people living in the 'regional core' - most urban part of the city, the 'metropolitan area' - suburbs, 'towns nearby' - pretty self explanatory, and 'semi-rural areas'.

What I find interesting about the book is how it constantly compares and contrasts the experience of living in all of these settings. The book also attempts to define what KIND of networks people in each setting are more likely to have, i.e. a network composed mostly of kin, neighbors, and some friends, or a network composed mostly of friends, coworkers, and some kin. It quantifies the difference between the networks, and offers some decent explanations for why a person in the most urban area may be more likely to have networks with more coworkers, whereas in small towns networks may be composed mostly of kin.

I also like how the book breaks up network support in the practical, counseling, and companion based support.

I should mention that this book in no way contains sociological 'fluff.' Meaning that they pretty carefully look at the statistical data taken directly from their surveys to back everything up.
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More About the Author

Claude S. Fischer is a Sociology Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He started at Berkeley in 1972 with an undergraduate degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. from Harvard. Most of his early research focused on the social psychology of urban life--how and why rural and urban experiences differ--and on social networks, both topics coming together in "To Dwell Among Friends: Personal Networks in Town and City" (1982). In recent years, he has worked on American social history, beginning with a study of the early telephone's place in social life, "America Calling: A Social History of the Telephone to 1940" (1992). Along the way, Fischer has worked on other topics, including writing a book on inequality with five Berkeley colleagues, "Inequality by Design: Cracking the Bell Curve Myth"(1996). Fischer was also the founding editor of "Contexts," the American Sociological Association's magazine for the general reader, and its executive editor through 2004.

In 2006, Fischer co-authored a social historical book with Michael Hout, "Century of Difference: How America Changed in the Last One Hundred Years" (Russell Sage), which describes the shrinking of old divisions and the widening of new ones among Americans over the twentieth century. In 2010, he published "Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character" (University of Chicago Press), which analyzes social and cultural change since the colonial era. And in 2011, he published "Still Connected: Family and Friends in America Since 1970" (Russell Sage), a study, using compilations of survey data, of whether and how Americans' personal ties have changed in the last generation.

Among his awards and honors, Fischer was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Fischer has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in urban sociology, research methods, personality and social structure, and American society, and seminars on topics ranging from professional writing to the sociology of consumption.

1972 Ph.D., Sociology, Harvard University 1970
M.A., Sociology, Harvard University
1968 B.A., Sociology, University of California, Los Angeles

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