Competitive Exams: Rural-Urban Continuum

Some sociologists have used the concept of rural-urban continuum to stress the idea that there are no sharp breaking points to be found in the degree or quantity of rural urban differences. Robert Redfield has given the concept of rural-urban continuum on the basis of his study of Mexican peasants of Tepoztlain. The rapid process of urbanization through the establishment of industries, urban traits and facilities have decreased the differences between villages and cities.

There are some sociologists whose treat rural-urban as dichotomous categories have differentiated the two at various levels including occupational differences, environmental differences, differences in the sizes of communities, differences in the density of population, differences in social mobility and direction of migration, differences in social stratification and in the systems of social interaction.

A third view regarding rural and urban communities has been given by Pocock who believe that both village and city are elements of the same civilization and hence neither rural urban dichotomy, nor continuum is meaningful. M. S. A. Rao points out in the Indian context that although both village and town formed part of the same civilization characterized by institution of kinship and caste system in pre-British India, there were certain specific institutional forms and organizational ways distinguishing social and cultural life in towns form that in village.

Thus, according to Rao, Rural Urban continuum makes more sense.

Ghurye believes that urbanization is migration of people from village to city and the impact it has on the migrants and their families.

Maclver remarks that though the communities are normally divided into rural and urban the line of demarcation is not always clear between these two types of communities. There is no sharp demarcation to tell where the city ends and country begins. Every village possesses some elements of the city and every city carries some features of the village.

RK Mukherjee prefers the continuum model by talking of the degree of urbanization as a useful conceptual tool for understanding rural-urban relations.

PA Sorokin and Zimmerman in Principles of Rural-Urban sociology have stated that the factors distinguishing rural from urban communities include occupation, size and density of population as well as mobility, differentiation and stratification.