Chicagoskolan: Institutionaliseringen, idétraditionen och vetenskapen

Oscar Andersson

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


The main purpose of my thesis is to investigate how the Chicago School in urban sociology, that was active between 1915 and 1935, developed and why it produced so many classical monographs during a period of about ten to fifteen years. To outline the historical reasons for the School to develop I have chosen to view the historical context as a field with different actors. Another related and overall question in the thesis is how an academic institution goes from being a rather loosely integrated administrative organisation with diverse ideas and areas of interest to become a full-fledged scientific institution with a relatively homogenous subject and field of research. In chapter 1, I deal explicitly with how the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Chicago became institutionalized between 1892 and 1914. One of the reasons why it is relevant to investigate how this department developed is that it was during this period that the institutional and economical foundation was laid for the later establishment of the Chicago School in the 1920’s. In chapter 2 I examine how different traditions of ideas influenced the members of the Chicago School. However, I do not give a complete outline of these different traditions, presenting only the main outlines and showing how they influenced the School’s thoughts about social groups, individuals, societies and the social sciences. In chapter 3 I outline the urban and human ecological research project of the Chicago School between 1915 and 1935. In order to understand the development of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology in Chicago between 1892 and 1935 as a historical field with different actors and for what it takes for an institution to develop into a scientific discipline it is essential to analyze this project. In chapter 4 I present the scientific point of view, ethnographic methods, and epistemology of the Chicago School and also discuss what importance the School and anthropology had for one another in Chicago and the United States. I focus above all on W. I. Thomas’ scientific point of view and approach to method, because it was he who laid the foundation of epistemology, method and scientific field of the Chicago School. I have chosen to regard my empirical study as to form a historical field with actors who in one way or another contributed to the creation of the Chicago School between 1915 and 1935. My empirical study of how the School developed shows that it takes both an administrative and financial foundation as well as traditions of ideas and creative researchers for an academic institution to develop into a scientific discipline.
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
  • Social Anthropology
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2003 Oct 3
Print ISBNs91-7267-153-X
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Defence details
Date: 2003-10-03
Time: 10:15
Place: Carolinasalen, Lund University
External reviewer(s)
Name: Dahl, Gudrun
Title: Professor
Affiliation: Dep. of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Anthropology


  • cities in the city
  • melting pot
  • race relation cycle
  • natural area
  • natural history
  • migration
  • marginal man
  • life history
  • invasion
  • hybrid
  • hobo
  • ghetto
  • ecology
  • Chicago School
  • disorganization
  • succession
  • transit and urbanization
  • Sociology

Cite this