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William Foote Whyte, Street Corner Society and Social Organization

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Abstract

Social scientists have mostly taken it for granted that William Foote Whyte's sociological classic Street Corner Society (SCS, 1943) belongs to the Chicago school of sociology's research tradition or that it is a relatively independent study which cannot be placed in any specific research tradition. Social science research has usually overlooked the fact that William Foote Whyte was educated in social anthropology at Harvard University, and was mainly influenced by Conrad M. Arensberg and W. Lloyd Warner. What I want to show, based on archival research, is that SCS cannot easily be said either to belong to the Chicago school's urban sociology or to be an independent study in departmental and idea-historical terms. Instead, the work should be seen as part of A. R. Radcliffe-Brown's and W. Lloyd Warner's comparative research projects in social anthropology.

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