This paper investigates the Social Distance Scale as a method to measure the degree of resentment towards immigrant groups invented by the University of Southern California sociologist Emory S. Bogardus. It asks why it is the only theory emerging from the orbit of the Chicago School still in use today. First, it looks at how Bogardus’s research environment in Los Angeles differed from that of his mentor Robert E. Park in Chicago. Then, it examines how Bogardus’s involvement with the Methodist All Nations Foundation influenced his conceptualisation of social distance. Third, it asks how this approach differed methodologically from the Chicago School’s Assimilation Theory. It concludes that the reciprocal relationship between Bogardus’s research and his social involvement caused him to dissolve the scale from spatial and temporal settings and create a theory that became universally applicable.
Philip J. Ethington, ‘The intellectual construction of ‘Social Distance’. Toward a recovery of Georg Simmel’s Social Geometry’, Cybergo: European Journal of Geography30 (1997), online: http://cybergeo.revues.org/227 (accessed Dec. 20, 2012) 1–21.
Wark and Galliher, ‘Emory Bogardus,’384–5. Martin Bulmer has found a direct correlation between the 1919 Chicago riots and Park’s work for the Chicago Commission on Race Relations but there is no evidence as to how it affected Bogardus. Martin Bulmer, The Chicago School of Sociology (Chicago, London 1984) 74–75.
See Sánchez, ‘Go after the Women’, 475–495; Gayle Gullett, ‘Women progressives and the politics of Americanization in California, 1915–1920’, Pacific Historical Review 64 (1995) 71–94; Yuko Matsumoto, ‘Gender and American citizenship. The construction of ‘Our Nation’ in the early twentieth century’, The Japanese Journal of American Studies 17 (2006) 143–163.
Robert A. McKibben, ‘If Christ came to our city or The Gospel for our city or some products of City Mission’, Missionary of the World Magazine(draft, June 1938), in All Nations Church and Foundation Records, Collection No. 0403, California Social Welfare Archives, Special Collections, usc Libraries (hereafter: ancf Records).