Chicago school (sociology)

The Chicago School (sometimes known as the Ecological School) refers to a school of thought in sociology and criminology originating at the University of Chicago whose work was influential in the early 20th century.[1]

Conceived in 1892, the Chicago School first rose to international prominence as the epicenter of advanced sociological thought between 1915 and 1935, when their work would be the first major bodies of research to specialize in urban sociology. Their research into the urban environment of Chicago would also be influential in combining theory and ethnographic fieldwork.[2]

Major figures within the first Chicago school included Nels Anderson, Ernest Burgess, Ruth Shonle Cavan, Edward Franklin Frazier, Everett Hughes, Roderick D. McKenzie, George Herbert Mead, Robert E. Park, Walter C. Reckless, Edwin Sutherland, W. I. Thomas, Frederic Thrasher, Louis Wirth, and Florian Znaniecki. The activist, social scientist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams also forged and maintained close ties with some of the members of the school.

Following the Second World War, a "second Chicago School" arose, whose members combined symbolic interactionism with methods of field research (today known as ethnography), to create a new body of work.[3] Luminaries from the second Chicago school include, Howard S. Becker, Richard Cloward, Erving Goffman, David Matza, Robert K. Merton, Lloyd Ohlin and Frances Fox Piven.