History 44
# 5 Universities, Professions, Suburbs

rev. for 2/18/98. Last revision 2/17/98
*this week will consider three developments affecting middle-class lifestyle and thought from the 1890s to the 1920s: (1) rise of universities including the "antiformalist/pragmatist/realist reorientation of thought; (2) professionalization (3) suburbanization. Related only in the sense that professionals attended universities and often lived in some of the newer suburbs. However, all three had consequences for women and gender relations.
. University Revolution: changing structures of knowledge and social Authority
*as products of the university system, TR and Wilson participated in a significant reorientation of social thought in the 1880s, and related shift ion the sources of social authority in the U.S. , Wilson as academic more than TR.
A. Creation of the American University
*including report on Gordon, Lynn D. "The Gibson girl goes to college"
American Quarterly v. 39 (Summer '87) p. 211-30
B. Professionalization of scholarship
C. Pragmatism and the "Revolt against formalism"(see Chronologies. Antiformalism for Chart: to be handed out) .
1. Nature: 3 levels
a. Philosophically. 1. was a reaction against the "formalism" of British empirical tradition, as described on outline; e.g. "economic man" of classical economics; the "happiness maximizer" of utilitarianism; the "power maximizer" of older political theory (e.g. Federalist papers) Eg. see James "Pragmatism,"
Reader, p. 51.
*as such it is an example of new "realism" and "practicality" that had implications for "genteel tradition" although here differences occur.
b. but also against equation of "science" with simple "fact gathering," as in the narrowly inductive method preferred by mid-century American scientists (so called Baconian induction`)
*rather stressed :(1)
historicism, doctrine that things can only be understood in terms of their past; and (2) organicism: everything must be understood in terms of its relations to other things. Thus not possible to separate and segregate realism of "politics", "economics," "social"
2. Institutionally antiformalism represented the professionalization of scholarship in various areas, whereby the social sciences take their "modern" shape. In each case, antiformalism was both an early stage of professionalization and a protest against it .Antiformalism, in turn , was challenged by new generation of "scientistic" practitioners after ca. 1909. (see sheet for generations)
3 Politically/ideologically had implications for "New Liberalism" that provided the basis of progressivism/New Deal. Here evaluation has changed as "progressivism" has been reassessed by several generations of historians.
B. Key Figures
with reference to these themes (see sheet for chronology)
1. C. S. Pierce. Inaugurated "pragmatism" in philosophy in an essay the "Fixation of Belief" and other that appeared in
Popular Science Monthly in 1878-79. Argued for a conception of "science" later to be called the "hypothetico-deductive method." Arguing that the ongoing inquiry of a scientific community provided the surest basis for "belief", he attacked both (a) the abstract deductionism of which he characterized as "medieval." and (b)the narrow induction of so-called "Baconian" science" that reigned in the U.S. in the mid-19th century.
2. Lester Frank Ward in
Dynamic Sociology (1883) likewise attacked (a) the abstract (and deterministic) evolutionary philosophy of Herbert Spencer and (b) the narrowly statistical fact-gathering that passed for science among many of his colleagues at the Smithsonian, where he worked most of his career.
3. Oliver Wendall Holmes, Jr in his
Common Law (1882) also attacked (a) the abstract conceptions of "law" as being something more than what lawyers, courts and legislatures do; and (b) the inductionist "case study" method that Langdell had introduced at Harvard Law school in the 1870s.
4. William James made his reputation with his
Psychology (1890) before becoming the chief popularizer of "pragmatism" in a series of lectures at Columbia University in 1906. Within psychology, he opposed the abstract "elementalism" of the so-called Wundt-Titchener tradition; and (b) the narrow physicalism of the "somatic style that reduced all mental states to physical problems, and prescribed often draconian physical cures accordingly.
5. John Dewey

Note: in dealing with "pragmatism," is important to avoid easy generalizations
1. pragmatism was not simply the result of the application of Darwinism or science, but rather an attempt to get away from an overly strict empiricism by redefining "science." In fact, Peirce's thought had its roots in the neo-Kantian revival of the 1870s. His community of observers (scientists) was an attempt to actualize the Kantian categories as an ongoing community of inquiry. For elaboration of this theme see Bruce Kuklick,
Rise of American Philosophy.
2. although sometimes accused of wanting only the "cash value" of ideas, and hence being an evidence of the growing "materialism" of late 19th century America, their goal was to make more room for the knowing, feeling, active subject.
3. Hence antiformalists, James especially, wished to make more room for "faith." See especially James Will to Believe" (1897) and his
Varieties of Religious Experience (1902).
C Institutional context. Relation to professionalization. In their careers, each was a transitional figure in the development of a new professionalism, which they shared but also suspected. Pierce, for example, never had a decent academic position; James, although a professor at Harvard, attacked the growing power of what he termed "The Ph.D. Octopus;" Ward obtained an academic position at Brown University only in the final years of his life (1906-13); and Holmes was a critic of the academic ritualism of Langdell's methods at Harvard. Their "half way" position within the emerging professional academic culture provides a key to many of their leading ideas.
D. Political\ideological legacy. Although most of the leaning antiformalists were theorists rather than activists, the ideological payoff of their approach can be seen in a number of reforms of the progressive era.
1. psychology-philosophy in John Dewey's theories of education, and the progressive emphasis on "leaning by doing."
2. Ward's "ideal of government by an elite of"sociocrats" found expression in the so-called "Wisconsin Idea," wherein experts from the university of Wisconsin were consulted with respect to legislation passed in that state.
3. Holmes's joined the Supreme Court in 1901, and was soon a leading dissenter against the "conservative" actions of the Court as a hole, e.g. in Lochner v. New York, where he upheld a ten hours law passed by the state of NY.
*more generally, the antiformalists emphasis on "ideas" as taken shape through adaptation to environment broke down older defenses of property rights and "laissez faire" based on "laws of nature."
E. Later developments within antiformalism. As a particular product of its time and place, the reformist antiformalism of the years 1880-1910 gradually grew more cautious and conservative.
1. Intellectually, the attempt to combine subjective feeling with objective conditions led some to turn to a sort of mysticism, (the "feel good" subjectivism that was always inherent in the "soft" side of William James's philosophy, e.g.) or objectivism (see lecture on scientism).
2. Professionally, the ongoing process of professionalization and the "organization of knowledge" turned academic opinion against the "arm chair" philosophizing (as it now seemed) of the older generation. In the classroom, professors increasingly encountered more narrowly trained students with neither knowledge of nor interest in synthesizing all realms of knowledge, the thrust of much 19th century evolutionary thinking.
3. socially-politically, progressivism itself became more increasingly interested in "controls," and manipulation--the product of fears of socialism, of immigrants, and of popular culture--all of which increased markedly after 1910. An early example of this reorientation was Edward A. Ross's
Social Control (1901).
*Illustrate by looking at "Progressive Education"

 II. Professionalization
Handout: "The Process of Professionalization." Illustrates pattern during 19th 20th century and some of the distinguishing characteristics of "professionalizing"
*three aspects of professionalization will be considered: (a) formal definition, as initially outlined by Abraham Flexner during the progressive era. (b) historical evolution (with relation of "bureaucracy"); (c) consequences for women.
A. Definition (see Wayne Hobson, "Professionals, Progressives, and Bureaucratization,"
Historian 39 (1977), 639-58 for list)
1. Flexner and the "progressive era" formulation of progressivism
a. defining characteristics
i. essentially intellectual--autonomous
ii. rooted in broader body of theory or esoteric knowledge. . ."applied to non uniform tasks"
iii. definitely practical
iv. techniques capable of transmission
v. full-time, open ended commitment
vi. altruistic, service ideal
vii. professional association
viii. hierarchical definition within profession
ix. role definitions vis a vis members and non-members
* questions to consider:
(a) Using examples from your own experience, explain the various characteristics of "professionalism." By your definition who is not a professional (plumber, real estate salesperson). Why or why not? Are there contradictions among the criteria of "professional" ? Why has "professional" become such a mark of prestige in the U.S.? For further theoretical discussion see Goode, William J., "Community within a Community: The Professions,"
American Sociological Review 22 (1957), 194-200; Wilensky, Harold, "The Professionalization of Everyone? American Journal of Sociology 70 (1964), 137-48.
B. Historical evolution:
* General: consideration of Burton Bledstein,
The Culture of Professionalism.
1. three hypotheses: (a) "logic" of science or reflects structures of knowledge
b. copy medical (or other specialized field, "science" as model to be emulated)
c. social authority/power for specific groups or middle-class as a whole (Bledstein)
d directly serve industry/ rise of foundations
2. Bledstein in detail
Question: Is there a single "process of professionalization" that is roughly similar for each of the professions? If not, how explain the different orientations of the different professions: Pure professional, bureaucratic, business-oriented (Hobson)? What is the "organizational synthesis" in scholarship, and how would Hobson modify it?
2. Professionalization and bureaucracy? (historical look at evolution of bureaucracy: Nelson,
Roots of American Bureaucracy).
Question: What are the defining characteristics of "bureaucracy"? What is the relation between "bureaucracy" and "professionalism?" To "capitalism" (see Hobson especially). For further information see Hall, R.H., "Professionalization and Bureaucratization,"
American Sociological Review 33 (1968), 95; and "The Concept of Bureaucracy," American Journal of Sociology 69 (1963), 32-40
C. Case studies
1. Law . For an introduction to each of the individual professions you might profitably look at: Stevens, "Two Cheers for 1870: The American Law School,"
Perspectives in American History (1971), 403-548;
2. Medicine (discussion of Markowitz, G.E. and Rosner, D.K., "Doctors in Crisis,"
Am. Q. 25 (1973), 83-107
Question: How do you explain the rise (or in the case of law, medicine etc. the revitalization) of the ideal of "professionalism" during the progressive era. New kinds of knowledge that required expertise? social factors (anti-immigrant)?
3. Engineering: roots of "scientific management" (to be considered in detail later in course)
D. Gender implications of "professional" ideal?
Case study: Medicine (see Morantz, R.M., "Feminism, Professionalism, and Germs,"
American Quarterly 34 (1982), 459-78.

 III. Suburbanization
*suburbanization, although not unique to U.S is one of most distinct characteristics by end of 20th century. Between 1950 and 1980 18 or 25 largest U.S. cities showed net loss of population, while independent suburbs gained more than 60 million persons (Jackson, p. 283) . 1968 A Spiro Agnew first suburban politician to achieve national office.
**but suburbanization, like urbanization, is a process that intersects with so many other processes, that it is problematic whether one should consider it a separate category. E.g. in 19th century merges with celebration of "home," "family" and cult of domesticity. In 20th, consumerism. But will consider of limited utility as with categories such as "gender" "class" etc. to see what light it sheds on the progressive era. . Problems of defining "suburb"
1. different definitions for different purposes. Jackson p. 4-5: "Suburbia is both a planning type and a state of mind based on imagery and symbolism. "
a. economists define in germs of functional relations between core and surrounding regions
b. demographers: residential density
c. architects as building type (detached with "yard")
d. sociologists on "way of life.
2. some exclusive areas within cities are "suburban in ever way except law (River Oaks in Houston, Country Club district in Kansas City, and Fieldston in Bronx); while other are legally independent although surrounded by cities (Highland Park in Detroit, and Beverly Hills in LA). Since it is an ongoing process, areas that were once suburban later become "urban." (E.g. Cambridge Mass, Evanston, Illinois.)
 3. also difficult to pinpoint chronologically
A. Patterns of Suburbanization in late 19th-early 20th century U.S..
*Despite problems can see several "stages" as tied primarily to "transportation revolution:"
a. Steam ferry,
b. omnibus, horsecar
c. commuter railroad, elevated railroad, cable car (and trolley)
1. "Walking City" to 1820
2. Earliest suburbs (tied primary to steam ferries, omnibus) 1830s -1860s
3. "Romantic suburbs" (1870s-1880s)
a. Garden City NY
4. "Elite" tied to suburban railroads: The Main Line as example. 1870s-1900s
5. Street Car (trolley) suburbs 1880s-1910s
*explanations (aside from transportation revolution: from Jackson
Crabgrass Frontier, pp. 288-96.
1. intellectual tradition, partly derived from Britain. (cf. Dutch who settled earliest American cities differently). Jackson argues that this may be more a universal set of values however, so should be seen as necessary precondition, but not sufficient explanation (Discuss).
2. massive and sustained urban population growth. In 19th c. U.S cities Literally exploded (but this also happened elsewhere, e.g. Latin America but without the same consequences.
3. race: esp after northern migration of African Americans after 1918, and Brown decision of 1954.
4. economics: six components.
a. per capita wealth
b. inexpensive land
c. inexpensive transport
d. low cost of balloon frame. 90% of U.S houses despite exterior sheathing.
e. role of got esp at federal level. FHA and VA mortgage insurance; highway y program; sewer subsidies, IRS code.
f. capitalism and "free enterprise." Role of developers, speculators etc.
B. General implications for U.S. in 19th century with reference to themes of this course:
1. contributed to celebration of "home" separation of sexes, and "cult of domesticity" (arguably stronger than in Britain)
2. also separation of classes, although at same time another basis for obliteration of class lines (laying basis for "embourgeoisment" cited below.
C. Implications for Progressive era"?
Note: of the stages mentioned above "street car" suburbs are the most distinctly located in the progressive era. But insofar as others had taken shape from 1850s onward, many future 'progressives" lived in suburbs.
1. Gender Implications: Discussion of Margaret Marsh, "Suburban Men and Masculine Domesticity 1870-1915,"
American Quarterly 40 (1988): 165-86.[Binder: Secondary]
2. separation of social classes? "Progressivism "as extension of suburban values to society as a whole? (Based on
3. implications for "urban reform"? "urban reform" really a chapter in rise of suburban power?
D. Longer run:
1. contributes to "embourgeoisement of working class?
2. contributes to racial division?

3. suburbs and 1960s radicalism:

Written by Robert Bannister, for classroom use in History 44, Swarthmore College. May be reproduced in whole or part for educational purposes, but not copied or distributed for profit.