The Historical Reconstruction of Rural Localities: A New Zealand Case Study

  • Bob Hall
Part of the Explorations in Sociology. British Sociological Association Conference Volume Series book series (EIS)


The field of community studies is one that has undergone much change and redefinition in recent years. In the 1950s it was subjected to criticism on both methodological and theoretical grounds (see Reiss, 1954). Methodologically, its essentially qualitative approach was considered to lack the rigour of more quantitative counterparts, whilst theoretically its static, structural-functional theoretical underpinnings were held to lack the relevance of more dynamic theoretical frameworks. As a result, its holistic approach fell out of favour as sociologists became more specialised in their research foci. Another factor to be considered here was the disillusionment with the field that followed in the wake of a long but largely unproductive debate on the meaning of community (see Hillery, 1955 and 1959, Parsons, 1959, Sutton and Kolaja, 1960, Martindale, 1964, Simpson, 1965). These criticisms were then added to through the 1960s and into the early 1970s. In this period, community studies were seen as being ahistorical, non-cumulative, overly descriptive, idiosyncratic and non-comparative (see Glass, 1966, Stacey, 1969, and Bell and Newby, 1971).


Community Study Oral History Rural Locality Historical Reconstruction Torrens System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The British Sociological Association 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bob Hall

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