|Park, Robert Ezra (1864–1944)|
American sociologist and anthropologist, studied under Simmel in Berlin. In 1892, Park established the world's first sociology department at the University of Chicago. Under the tutelage of Park and his colleague, William Thomas, this department became the center of the later famous Chicago School of anthropology and sociology, which, inspired e.g. by Weber and Simmel, did pioneering work in micro-sociology, urban studies, minority studies and peasant studies. Park's own contribution was mainly to studies of urban subcultures and ethnic minorities, as well as to methodological issues with relevance for these themes. Park formulated the so-called "melting pot" theory of multiethnic integration, based on his experience of the ethnic mosaic in Chicago. According to this theory (which has parallels in the theory of detribalization proposed by Godfrey Wilson of the Manchester School in the 1930's), different ethnic groups coexisting in an urban landscape would ultimately merge into a single, composite identity.