adolescent boys of east peter willmott

Download Adolescent Boys of East Peter Willmott

Post on 21-Jan-2017




1 download

Embed Size (px)


  • Adolescent Boys of East London. by Peter WillmottReview by: John I. KitsuseSocial Forces, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Jun., 1969), p. 485Published by: Oxford University PressStable URL: .Accessed: 14/06/2014 08:25

    Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .

    .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact


    Oxford University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Social Forces.

    This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 08:25:16 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions


    Willmott. New York: Humanities Press, 1967. 224 pp. $6.00.

    Adolescent Boys of East London is a report on one part of an ambitious study of the processes of the adolescent status transition wllich has been conducted by social scientists at the Institute of Community Studies. Adolescence as a social phe- nomenon in modern societies is so colored by the treatment it receives in the mass media that Will- mott's study, which attempts to document this status transition in a straightforward way, is a welcome corrective. It is also welcome for the systematic information it provides on the values, attitudes, and activities of a population which has been neglected for too long, i.e., the non-college, non-delinquent, working youth.

    Willmott's most general finding is that the great majority of the boys in East London (an area which has come to symbolize "the old working-class way of life at its harshest-unemployment, poverty, over- crowding, slums") move through adolescence with- out serious or extensive involvement in the various forms of delinquencies with which they are charac- terized not only in the popular press but also in some social science literature. Indeed, the descrip- tions of the boys' activities, which were obtained through interviews, diaries, and a variety of official records, are remarkable for their routine and un- eventful character. The book is a rich source of information concerning the lives of the 246 boys in the sample and it should be of interest to students of adolescence in general, and delinquency in par- ticular.

    JOHN I. KITSUSE Northzuestern University

    URBAN SOCIOLOGY. By R. N. Morris. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1968. 176 pp. $5.50.

    This little volume by Oxford-trained R. N. Mor- ris is a meritorious, courageous attempt at offering a coherent theoretical introduction to urban sociol- ogy based on the ideas of Louis Wirth. It is coura- geous because it tries to do something that no serious student of Wirth's would dare attempt: to systematize his mentor's sociology. For Wirth had revulsions about people who build systems and schemes, caustically announcing: "The most sys- tematic thing we can say about people is that they are unsystematic." Also, "planners plan, schemers scheme." Only an innocent Englishman would think there is nothing disrespectful in using the term "scheme" in an exegesis on Louis Wirth.

    Wirth once mentioned wistfully to this reviewer that he hoped, someday, to write a text on the city. Possibly the reason he never did so was that an urban sociology was still so unschematic as to frus- trate any attempt at a well-ordered text. He spoke of wanting a text with seminal propositions about urbanism in process, hardly a document suggesting

    that we have a reasonably well-structured urban theory with all of its social system trappings.

    After this reviewer had completed his reading of Urbacu Sociology he attempted to sum up what he had encountered. Only one of Wirth's proposition came to the fore: Urbanism is at base density re- lated impersonally. But had Morris somehow for- gotten Wirth's contributions to urban ecology? Quickly thumbing back to Chapter 1 (Ecological Processes in the City) to review how the author had treated Wirth, nothing could be found concern- ing the neo-classicism of this man-the new "Chi- cago School" ecology focusing on the "non-con- sensual" relations of men in space versus the dis- carded "sub-social," symbiotic, economic man ap- proach. Generous space was given to Walter Firey, Gerald Breese, R. D. McKenzie and E. W. Burgess, not to overlook Homer Hoyt. But where was Louis Wirth? Then. to Chapter 5 on Urban Bureaucracy. Here one encounters Parsons, Goff- man and Blau but incidental reference to Wirth. But surely Chapter 2 (The Pre-industrial City) would give Wirth his dues. However, this was an excursion into Gideon Sj oberg, sending this reviewer scurrying after his old Louis Wirth notes on rural sociology just to reassure himself that the man upon whom the book was based did indeed dwell on pre-industrial community life. He did!

    The reviewer had hoped, but in vain, that this Oxford gentleman would do us all the kindness of summarizing the urban sociology of Louis Wirth. And what an achievement this would have been. But it was a partial probe. Naturally, any student of this man could have cautioned the author that his effort was badly conceived. Had he been one of those students identified with the third genera- tion "Chicago School," the breadth of his analysis would have been greater. What he needed were those coveted class notes. Indeed, Morris writes in a Wirth-like provocative way so the mood is proper. But one might add that if Wirth were with us today he would probably delight in pro- voking Professor Morris with the proclamation that sociology has not developed a body of knowl- edge about urban life that merits theory formu- lation, system building or other classificatory "gymnastics." After all, the unfinished task in urban sociology is still with us-the building of a coherent set of assumptions and concepts consistent with the collective character of urban life. Then and only then can we pronounce an "Urban So- ciology."

    E. GORDON ERICKSEN Virginica Polytechnic Instititte

    COMMUNITY STRUCTURE AND DECISION-MAKING: COMPARATIVE ANALYSES. By Terry N. Clark. San Francisco: Chandler Publishing Company, 1968. 498 pp. $7.50.

    This book is divided into nine major sections, two of which consist of original work by the au- thor. The remaining sections are composed of

    This content downloaded from on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 08:25:16 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

    Article Contentsp. 485

    Issue Table of ContentsSocial Forces, Vol. 47, No. 4 (Jun., 1969), pp. 381-528Volume Information [pp. 523 - 528]Front MatterDifferential Association and Containment Theory: A Theoretical Convergence [pp. 381 - 391]Crime and Punishment: A Study in Social Attitudes [pp. 391 - 397]Toward Prediction of Attitude-Action Discrepancy [pp. 398 - 405]Ethnicity, Poverty, and Selected Attitudes: A Test of the "Culture of Poverty" Hypothesis [pp. 405 - 413]"Symbolic Bureaucracy": A Case Study of a Social Welfare Agency [pp. 413 - 422]Factors Related to Immigrant Assimilation: Pre-Migration Traits [pp. 422 - 428]Self-Image, Family Climate, and Deafness [pp. 428 - 438]Urbanization, Technology, and Traditional Values in Guatemala: Some Consequences of a Changing Social Structure [pp. 438 - 446]Petitions and Prayers: A Method for the Content Analysis of Persuasive Appeals [pp. 447 - 463]White and Negro Listeners' Reactions to Various American-English Dialects [pp. 463 - 468]Research NotesReligious Orthodoxy and Premarital Sex [pp. 469 - 474]An Empirical Study of Howard Becker's Side-Bet Theory [pp. 475 - 478]

    Book Reviewsuntitled [pp. 479 - 480]untitled [p. 480]untitled [pp. 480 - 481]untitled [p. 481]untitled [p. 482]untitled [pp. 482 - 483]untitled [p. 483]untitled [pp. 483 - 484]untitled [p. 484]untitled [p. 485]untitled [p. 485]untitled [pp. 485 - 486]untitled [pp. 486 - 487]untitled [pp. 487 - 488]untitled [pp. 488 - 489]untitled [p. 489]untitled [p. 490]untitled [pp. 490 - 491]untitled [p. 491]untitled [pp. 491 - 492]untitled [pp. 492 - 493]untitled [pp. 493 - 494]untitled [p. 494]untitled [pp. 494 - 495]untitled [pp. 495 - 496]untitled [p. 496]untitled [pp. 496 - 497]untitled [pp. 497 - 498]untitled [pp. 498 - 499]untitled [pp. 499 - 500]untitled [p. 500]untitled [pp. 500 - 501]untitled [pp. 501 - 502]untitled [p. 502]untitled [pp. 502 - 503]untitled [pp. 503 - 504]untitled [p. 505]untitled [pp. 505 - 506]untitled [pp. 506 - 507]untitled [p. 507]untitled [pp. 507 - 509]untitled [pp. 509 - 510]untitled [pp. 510 - 511]untitled [pp. 511 - 512]untitled [p. 512]untitled [pp. 512 - 513]untitled [p. 513]untitled [pp. 513 - 514]untitled [p. 514]untitled [pp. 514 - 515]untitled [pp. 515 - 516]untitled [p. 516]untitled [pp. 516 - 517]untitled [pp. 517 - 518]New Books Received [pp. 518 - 522]

    Back Matter