studying how people develop identity in new city communities : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I am researhing how people develop identity and selfconception in an intirely new town community. I know of some of the research done on history of cities in the USA such as San Francisco and Denver. There is a lot of research done on "The Melting Pot" theory but generaly the research is so vast that it is difficult to find what is relevant. I need to develop a thery that applies to the town Esbjerg in Denmark. Does anyone have any ideas how I will be able to find any litterature that will make it possible to applay these terms for a town in northerne europe in 1900.

-- Troels List Sorensen (, September 30, 2004


Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going? To develope your own theory you need to ask these questions, the questions of collective identity and purpose. Asking the right questions is half the battle.
The answers you seek are not found in America, but the techniques on how to develope your theory may be culled from David Hackett Fischer's book ALBION'S SEED: Four British Folkways In America .
Good luck in your research and report back if you make any progress or breakthrough.

-- strange (, October 01, 2004.

I have made a weblog to share my ideas and research with others.

Have a look at

-- Troels List Sorensen (, October 02, 2004.


Newspapers in the early days reflected and often times created the identity of a city. I would strongly suggest you try hard to find old newspapers of Esbjerg in Denmark.

Basically a city identity is created by the common denominators that are part of the people's interests and concerns of that city. The people of the Gold Rush had a completely different identity at that time than any other. That was because of their one common denominator of their interest and obsession for finding gold.

Today, San Francisco's identity could be classified as a city specilized in multi-culture and multi-interests where the majority of people don't descriminate over people doing their own thing no matter what it is so long as it doesn't involve crime, destruction or terrorisim. At the same time, all the people of the city still have strong common denominators that are determined by such things as jobs, taxes, bills and whatever else effects their well-being. These economics can also play a major roll in developing a cities identity.

So the most important thing to do is to find the issues that had the greatest influence over a city at that period in time and see how that played a roll in developing the cities identify.

And by the way, you mentioned San Francisco and Denver. There is a book in my collection, maybe that was what you were referring to or maybe not. The name of it is "Instant Cities," (Comparing the Rise of Denver and S.F.) by Barth.

-- (harrymurphy*, October 03, 2004.

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