10/04/2012 Chris Karlesky

Study of 'Second Cities' Lands F&M Professor Award from Urban History Association

  • Associate Professor of Sociology Jerome Hodos will receive the Urban History Association's Kenneth Jackson Book Award Oct. 27 in New York City. (Photo by Chris Karlesky)

New York, Hong Kong and London. Capitals of finance, centers of glitz and glamour and hubs of diverse culture. They are cosmopolitan cities that drive globalization -- the crossroads of the world.

Enormous metropolitan areas such as these are the focus of most academic work related to globalization. But more than a decade ago, Franklin & Marshall Associate Professor of Sociology Jerome Hodos asked himself: How does globalization play out in other cities, the ones a tier below the international power players?

Hodos' question led to a book, "Second Cities: Globalization and Local Politics in Manchester, England, and Philadelphia," published in 2011 by Temple University Press. The book explores the economics, culture, migration patterns and other qualities of Manchester and Philadelphia, comparing urban centers that are often viewed as second fiddles to their larger counterparts on the global scene.

The distinctive look at globalization in "Second Cities" has earned Hodos the Urban History Association's Kenneth Jackson Best Book Award, an annual honor presented for the best work relating to North American Urban History. Hodos will receive the award Oct. 27 at the biennial UHA conference in New York City. Kenneth Jackson was a past president of the UHA and author of "Crabgrass Frontier," an award-winning book on suburbanization in the United States.

"Getting recognition from outside the discipline of sociology is truly gratifying because I wanted this book to be important to many people," said Hodos, chair of F&M's Department of Sociology. "I spent several years building, revising and deepening the argument, and the award shows that the hard work was worthwhile."

Hodos developed a strong interest in the history, economics and culture of Philadelphia as a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1990s. A comparative sociologist, he thought Manchester would be the ideal city to examine alongside the City of Brotherly Love because they both "found ways to engage in globalization in ways that were right for them," he said.

"Philadelphia and Manchester have not exercised power on a global scale to the extent of New York and London, but they haven't been left behind," Hodos said. "They have a similar pattern of economic history, specializing in textiles, then machining, then engineering. In the professions, Philadelphia has played a role as a center of medicine, while Manchester's strength is in physics and electricity. They also saw their populations rise and fall at the same time in the 20th century."

In the award citation, the Kenneth Jackson Award Committee noted Hodos' "meticulous attention to historical process and sociological eye for theoretical frameworks."

"Probably the most wonderful contribution of this book is the way it forces readers to examine the history and social impact of globalization in places outside the usual suspect cities of New York, London and Tokyo," the committee wrote. "Hodos skillfully proves the importance of 'second cities,' places like Philadelphia and Manchester, where people actively seek to 'hold down the global,' to capture some of the worldwide flows of capital, people, ideas, culture and networks, for themselves."

With his comparative look at Philadlephia and Manchester complete, Hodos is in a position to offer advice to other 'second cities' as they attempt to remain -- or become -- players on the global scene.

"I'd tell other second cities not to bet all your chips on one industry," Hodos said. "Also, transportation means more than you think it does. It's important to build infrastructure to connect to the rest of the world. And don't neglect local resources. Citizens and interest groups can offer great contributions, even in the face of obstacles."

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