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By Lester R. Kurtz

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Extra resources for Evaluating Chicago Sociology: A Guide to the Literature, With an Annotated Bibliography

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54 His broader influence has been widely noted, from Merton (1968) to Mills (1960), the latter claiming that Thomas and Znaniecki provide a framework for a general sociological view of “per­ sonality” which is the foremost contribution of American sociology. Five themes in Thomas’s contribution to social psychology have been emphasized by commentators: (1) his emphasis on social change; (2) the reciprocal dependence between individual and social organization; (3) his examination of “attitudes” and the “definition of the situation;” (4) his interactional and situational approaches to the study of the sub­ jective side of social life; and (5) his empirical approach.

Verifiable) regularities of adjustive behav­ ior” (Volkart 1951, p. 5). The most persistent of Thomas’s specific con­ tributions is his emphasis on interaction and situations in the study of the subjective side of social life. His concept of the “definition of the situation” has become one of those concepts so widely used in so­ ciological analysis that it is often not explicitly attributed to Thomas. His situational analysis is a result of the influence of pragmatism, and much of his later work can be encapsulated in his phrase “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences” (Janowitz 1966, p.

36A number of sources discuss the origins of the perspective, the most thorough of which may still be Ali­ han (1938) (see Burgess and Bogue 1964; Hauser 1956a; Hughes 1952, 1979; McKenzie 1924, 1934; Quinn 1940c). 37 Park (1959) locates the origins of the ecological approach in community studies, which is true of its later development. The initial formulations, however, were based upon plant and animal ecology (Hawley 1968a) and the Darwinian notion of the “web of life,” as well as a number of other interdisciplinary sources (Llewellyn and Hawthorn 1945).

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