Rural Urban Difference

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Rural-Urban Difference

New Sociology



We can have at least eight characteristics in which an urban settlement differs from a rural settlement


  1. Profession
  2. Environment
  3. Community Size
  4. Density of population
  5. Contrast and Uniformity
  6. Social differentiation and stratification
  7. Social Mobility
  8. Mode of Interaction


  1. Occupation: There is a substantial difference between rural and urban areas with respect to occupation, with agricultural occupations dominating in rural areas and non-agricultural activities dominating in urban areas. One way to differentiate urban areas from rural areas is by looking at occupational patterns. Profession seems to be the most.
  2. Environment: In rural areas the influence of man on nature is very limited, and natural environmental features predominate. In urban areas, the atmosphere is artificial or modified.

What happens?

  1. Size of Community: In rural areas people live in small villages, communities, and urban communities are large and complex.
  2. Density of population: Rural areas have sparse population settlements while urban areas have a denser settlement pattern.
  3. Heterogeneity and Homogeneity of Population: The population of urban areas is highly heterogeneous and that of rural areas is homogeneous. Urban areas are home to people with different socio-cultural and economic experiences (culture, language, ethnicity, religion, customs, etc.), rural areas have a similar lifestyle dominated by ties of kinship. it occurs.
  4. Social differentiation and stratification: There is a wide division of labor in urban areas and this results in a variety of specialization and


Professions exist. Job opportunities are limited in rural areas and hence there is no wide variation between income groups. The level of stratification is low in rural areas.

  1. Social Mobility: Social mobility is the movement of people from one social class to another. Social mobility is open in urban areas while it is not open to everyone in rural communities. In rural communities, there is no free movement of individuals across social strata. But being urban can improve one’s social status through education, training or achievement in work.
  2. Primary forms of interaction predominate in rural areas while secondary/formal/conversational forms are more prevalent in urban areas. Occupation appears to be the most important feature differentiating urban from rural settlements.


The Urban Dimension and World Urbanization: A Historical Review 

The birth of cities has been traced back to the beginning of the Paleolithic. During this period, humans used to lead a nomadic life. The people were mainly food gatherers and hunters. The limited supply of wild food allowed only a small number of areas to remain in a given area. In the Neolithic period man discovered, among other things, the domestication of plants and animals. This was a remarkable change in the human way of life. Once they took to agriculture, they had to stay close to the farm. It is at this time that settlement began. These villages were initially small due to the low productivity of agriculture.

The first cities seem to have appeared in the Metal Age. There is no consensus on the exact time when the earliest urban settlements emerged. sociologists


Instead of determining the exact time of urban emergence, there is more interest in the factors that are responsible for the emergence of early urban settlements. Various explanations have been given for the emergence of early urban settlements. For our purpose, we will consider three approaches

  1. Philip M. Hauser
  2. Gideon Soberg
  3. Margaret Murray
  4. Philip M. Hauser

Philip M. Hauser identified four preconditions for the emergence of urban settlements

  1. Total population size
  2. Control of natural environment
  3. Technological Development
  4. Evolution in social organization

There must be a certain minimum number of population to allow urban life.

Environment should be favorable in the sense that it meets at least the minimum requirements for the overall life. The early cities were located in river valleys and alluvial plains.

– Technological development: He argues that a technological invention of the Neolithic Revolution, especially the domestication of plants and animals, was an important factor for the emergence of permanent settlement. For the emergence of urban settlements, the development of agricultural technology was of great importance. With the development of agricultural technology, surplus food production has become possible. The production of agricultural surplus made it possible for some people to engage in activities other than agriculture.


– Developments in social organization: A relatively large group of population required more complex social organization to facilitate exchange between the emerging specialists (agriculturists and non-agriculturists).

Integration and coordination activities required the emergence of kinship systems, clergy and kingdoms.

With the Agricultural Revolution, peasant life becomes habitual and reliable

Food supply was ensured. This in turn led to the pressure of population and the development of villages in urban centres. Social division of labor began to develop. These developments required complex social organization to facilitate exchanges and relationships between different specialists.




  1. Gideon Sjöberg (urban sociologist) identified three pre-conditions for the emergence of cities, similar to those proposed by Philipp M. Hauser.
  2. Favorable Ecological Base
  3. An advanced technology
  4. Complex Social Organization

Both the scholars have mentioned technological development as a criterion for the emergence and growth of cities. So in many cases, the level of urbanization is considered representative of development. But there are many countries which are highly urbanized and have not yet developed. For example, Saudi Arabia and Latin American countries are highly urbanized, even more so than the United States, but they are much less developed than the United States.

Furthermore, since there is no uniform definition of an urban settlement, the level of urbanization is not the same across countries, for example, a 30% level of urbanization in Ethiopia may not be the same as a 30% level of urbanization in Egypt.


  1. Margaret Murray: Argues that the first cities during the Metal Age

Didn’t happen The introduction of metallurgy had important consequences. She suggests that users of metal weapons had military superiority over users of crude stone weapons. Neolithic farmers who did not know how to make weapons out of metal fell prey to invaders armed with metal weapons. The victors become masters and the victims become slaves. The lords chose islands and mountain peaks as their habitats to dominate the hinterland and facilitate both attack and defence.

Warrior groups provided protection to the farmers and in return they took a share of the crop produced by the farmers. The share of the crops to be given was decided by the warrior groups as the farmers were helpless in such matters. It is believed that the first cities were permanent military camps (garrisons).












Different Stages Of Urbanization


We can identify four stages of urbanization

  1. Ancient Urban Settlements
  2. Greco-Roman city
  3. Former industrial city
  4. Industrial and modern city



  1. Ancient Cities: Ancient cities were small by modern standards; they were small walled areas surrounded by agricultural hinterland. Nineveh, Babylon, Erech were important cities in his time. But they could not support a large population like the cities of today. Transportation and sanitation issues do not allow these large populations. Earlier cities had to build walls for the purpose of defence.


In his article “The Origin and Growth of Urbanization”, Kingsley Davis offers the following explanation for why ancient cities were small.

  1. The backward, static and labor intensive nature of agriculture and transport. Agriculture was so complex that several cultivators were needed to support one man in the city. The technique of transport was also a limiting factor. Boats, animal-carriers and man-carriers were all inadequate.
  2. Political Limitations: The difficulty of communication and transportation and the existence of multi-fisted local tribal cultures made the formation of large national units almost impossible.
  3. Lack of scientific medicine making urban life fatal.
  4. Stability of farmers on land which reduces rural-urban migration.
  5. Lack of large scale manufacturing.
  6. Bureaucratic control of the peasantry which stifled free trade in the hinterland.
  7. Traditionalism and religiosity of all classes hindered

Technological and economic advancement.

– Babylon occupied an area of 3.2 square miles

– Ur with its canals, port and temples occupied about 220 acres (≤ 500 persons)

– Erech’s walls covered an area of only two square miles (≤ 25,000 persons).

The grouping of people in ancient urban centers enabled the development of an urban culture focused on manufacturing and services, and resulted in a more elaborate social division of labor. had permanent markets


Built, kinship and dynamic political systems appeared. Originally, warrior groups were selected for service in times of external conflict. Later, warriors were maintained even during times of peace.

  1. Greco-Roman city

The second phase in the history of urban centers was witnessed in Europe. This happened roughly between 600BC and 400AD. Roughly it covered about 1000 years. For example, the population of Athens during the 5th century BC was approximately 120 to 180 thousand.



The economy of Greco-Roman cities was agricultural. Nevertheless, the major stimulating factors for the growth of the urban center were:


  1. Improvement in iron tools and weapons
  2. Sail boats improved, better and bigger ships were built
  3. Production of cheap coins to facilitate exchange of goods and services. Heavy and perishable articles of exchange were replaced by coins.
  4. Development of alphabetic writing: Pictographic writing systems were

The alphabet was replaced by writing and it facilitated communication.

  1. Emergence of more democratic institutions.

All the above factors helped in increasing production, encouraging trade, expanding effective political unit and political control. Despite the fact that there were many Greco-Roman cities; Populating thousands, they were conquered by less urbanized outsiders (barbarians or Germans). The decline of the Greco-Roman cities ushered in a period commonly known as the “Dark Ages”, which extended from the 5th to the 10th centuries. The disintegration of the Roman Empire led to feudalism in Western Europe and the Byzantine Empire in Eastern Europe. Local communities were isolated, nation states died, and trade and commerce collapsed during the Dark Ages.



  1. Former industrial city

With the end of the Dark Ages, cities began to grow once again. Pre-industrial cities refer to medieval European cities; They were ordinary towns of feudal Europe. Many of these cities are now quite large and have become metropolitan centres. For example

Florence had a population of 90,000 in 1339.

Venus had a population of 119,000 in 1322.

London had a population of 30,000 in 1377

Frankfurt had a population of 20,000 in 1440.

Gideon Soberg, in his article “The Preindustrial City”, analyzed medieval cities in their context

  1. Ecological organization
  2. Economic organization
  3. Social organization


  1. Ecological organization: Pre-industrial cities were centers of marketing, manufacturing activities. Apart from this they do religious, political and educational work. The proportion of urban relatives of farmers did not exceed the lowest 10%. This non-industrialization of the total social system

That is due to nature. Non-mechanized agriculture, transport facilities using mainly human or animal power, and inefficient methods of food preservation and storage have limited the amount of surplus food available. The internal arrangement of the cities was that they were divided into quarters or wards surrounded by walls reflecting sharp social divisions.

  • Specific ethnic and occupational groups, such as goldsmiths, live in special classes. This social isolation and limited transport facilities have encouraged


  • Choice of well defined neighborhoods that are all primary groups. Excluded groups live on the periphery.
  • Most of the streets in the cities were narrow, there was no need to make sensible streets. Vehicles were used as a means of transport. The buildings were small and crowded together, tall buildings were not known. There was no such urban planning exercise.
  • There is no functional specialization of land use. The houses function as workshops. Mosques and churches were schools, market places and focal points of community life.


  1. Economic organization


 Identifies some of the major economic structures of pre-industrial cities:

o Dependence on living sources of energy for the production of goods and

 Services (Hammer, Winch, Wheel)

 Social organization: The literate elite is made up of individuals holding positions in government, religious and/or educational institutions. They belong to the “right” families and enjoy power, wealth, and certain highly valued personal characteristics. His position is legitimized by the sacred writings. The public is made up of groups such as handicraft workers.

 Social mobility is minimal and excluded groups such as slaves and beggars are not an integral part of the dominant social system. They hold a lower rank than the urban lower classes, performing tasks considered humiliating.


 Slight specialization of work: The handicraftsman participates in every stage of the manufacture of an article, often working in his home or in a small shop nearby. He works within the limits of certain guild or community rules while maintaining direct control over working conditions and methods of production.

 There are no special managerial groups and control others.



 Non-standardisation of products: There is no standard method of production, standardized measure of quality and quantity and standard price of goods.


 The work is done at home or in a nearby shop. Work place and residential place are no different.


 Professional groups such as Smith Things are organized into guilds. Associations have been established for all kinds of economic activities like traders, handicraftsmen, servants, entertainers etc.


 The formal government had close links with educational and religious institutions. The main functions of the government were a) paying tribute to support the activities of the elite group b) maintaining law and order. Formal education was limited to the male elite, its purpose being to train individuals for positions in governmental, educational, or religious hierarchies.

 Kinship and family organization exhibits some rigid patterns of sex and age discrimination, marriage is a prerequisite for adult status and is arranged physically within families rather than by individuals. A formal system of age grading is an effective mechanism of social control among siblings, with the eldest son o privileged. Children and youth are subject to parental and other addictions. This coupled with early marriages inhibited the development of a youth culture. Older people held considerable power and prestige, which contributed to the slow pace of change.


  1. Modern City

industrial cities and metropolitan areas

  • With the advent of industrialization new means of transport were introduced. The horse was replaced by the vehicle, the walls around the cities were no longer important. New weapons and defense equipment were fabricated. The Industrial Revolution was the result of new technology facilitated by the widespread use of inanimate power (coal, steam, etc.).
  • Advances in production technology and the development of factor systems led to an increasing demand for wage labor. This led to large scale migration of people to the growing urban centres. Improvements in agricultural technology also forced people to migrate from remote areas to the urban center in search of employment.
  • The process of urbanization took a further leap during the 20th century, especially after the Second World War. This period experienced the increasing size of urban centers (metropolitan Zion) and the emergence of new urban centers.

A metropolis is a situation where a major city center is surrounded by a complex of densely populated and economically integrated suburban communities.

Convergence: It refers to the merger of several already existing cities

Megalopolis: Urbanized area consisting of several metropolitan areas.

New Sociology


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