Rough Around the Edges: The Dichotomy of Life In the Core and Periphery

Rough Around the Edges: The Dichotomy of Life In the Core and Periphery

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Neighbourhoods are constantly in flux, with ebbs and flows, but in some cases this dynamism occurs in one area more than another. This essay examines the concept of social capital within the Census Tract (CT) 37.01 located in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. It is the very absence of resources within the core of this community that enables social capital, and what Tonnies (1957) refers to as gemeinschaft, to exist. This paper will examine a selection of sociological articles to discuss three different perspectives of this area. These consist of the core, the periphery, and the surrounding areas.
Census Tract Overview
It is worth questioning whether or not this census tract outlines a distinct neighbourhood. Especially due to it being primarily used by the government to conduct statistical and demographic research. This neighbourhood, along with those surrounding it, contains a heterogeneous population. The demographic makeup of this CT consists of a majority visible minority, with a median age of thirty-five, half of who are in a married-like relationship, and with a median household income of approximately $45,000 (Statistics Canada, 2001). This data does not significantly distinguish this CT from its adjacent neighbourhoods. This is not an overtly unique neighbourhood. Although, the peripheral borders are much more similar with adjacent areas than they are with the actual core area, which is distinct for its neighbourly feel.
More than seventy years ago, Wirth (1938) postulated that the “urban mode of life” causes people within neighbourhoods to become isolated from one another. Fischer (1975) posits a different argument that subcultures are established as an outcome of this concentratio...

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...for gemeinschaft relationships. Of course, as Wellman (2004) discovers, the Internet has created the infrastructure to connect people both within and throughout communities, thus becoming a surrounding neighbourhood of its own.
After conducting four research assignments related to this CT, this paper argued that the core area maintains a high level of what Tonnies refers to as gemeinschaft, whereas the periphery is a significantly different style of community. Wirth (1938) established that people in cities live amongst strangers. While this may be accurate along the periphery of this CT, it is not within the core. This paper argued how the very absence of resources within the core of this community enables social capital, and what Tonnies refers to as gemeinschaft, to exist. This community is rough around the edges, but only relatively speaking.

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