Demographic Changes in the United States
The process of urbanization has been expanding over the past decades, capturing increasingly large areas and affecting the population of the U.S. significantly. There are several stances on the nature and effects of urban growth, each representing a unique stance on how the process starts and by what it is influenced.
Nonetheless, there are significant similarities between the said viewpoints due to the intersections in the frameworks and the focus on the social and communication-related aspects of urban development. According to the Structural-Functionalist perspective, the process of urban growth is started and accelerated by the presence of a social need in change.
The presence of anomie, or normlessness, in the Structural-Functionalist approach, allows emphasizing the expansion of urban growth and the introduction of new perspectives that erase the boundaries between the norm and the deviation from it. Thus, the Structural-Functionalist Theory explains urbanization as the functional need to expand and change as a result of intergroup contacts in the urban setting.
In turn, Symbolic Interactionism suggests that communication and active interactions between different social groups will eventually lead to a gradual change in the power dynamics within a community. Therefore, the rise in urbanization can be regarded as a response to the imbalance of power within society and the need to reconsider the existing power structure.
Thus, the theory of Symbolic Interactionism implies that urbanization is driven by the lack of equality within a community and the need to correct it. Thus, also based on the idea of social conflict, similarly to the Structural-Functionalist theory, Symbolic Interactionism encourages revisiting the set standards for social hierarchy.
Likewise, the Social Conflict Theory implies that class differences and the uneven distribution of wealth cause urbanization as the mechanism for addressing it. In this regard, the Social Conflict Theory is similar to the Symbolic Interactionism approach. The necessity to introduce new ideas of communication also makes it similar to the Structural Functionalist Theory. However, unlike the two, the Social Conflict Theory likes the societal tensions to the failure of nonmaterial culture.