Chicago's South Side: "Most studied place in the world"

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The neighborhoods along Chicago's southern lakefront have been so thoroughly studied that sociologists sometimes confront each other, notebooks and tape recorders in hand, as if they were competing for choice territory....

Chicago's South Side is "the most studied place in the world," according to Howard Becker, one of the most influential of American sociologists. Pattillo's book, published this year, is the latest to explore the Black Belt, the area's historic name.

Not only do scholars trip over each other in the community, the titles of their books echo each other. Allan Spear's "Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890-1920" released in 1967, was followed by Arnold Hirsch's "Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960," published in 1998.

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