Social Differentiation and Spatial Patterns in a Multiethnic City in the Nineteenth Century: Potential Uses of GIS in the Study of Urban History*
Gábor Demeter and Róbert BagdiŰ
Research Centre for the Humanities, Hungarian Academy of Sciences
This study is a GIS-aided quantitative statistical analysis which aims to explain the spatial patterns of sociodemographic phenomena in an urban community in the era of transition from preindustrial to industrial society. It is also a methodological attempt to use a unique source type and compare different methods used for social classification. Using the Hungarian census data from 1870, we tried to assess the wealth levels of different social groups indirectly and compare the internal inequalities within these groups with internal inequalities within social groups in other regions. The source also provided material on the basis of which we were able to reconstruct social networks, migration patterns, different strategies adopted by different religious communities, patterns involving occupation and age group, etc. We were able to compare the potential uses (and limits) of this source with the uses and limits of other sources. Our main goal was to put more emphasis on a spatial-regional approach, which is underrepresented in the Hungarian historiography, while geographers tend to refrain from putting their research into historical frames and contexts.
Keywords: HGIS (GIStory), urbanization, spatial patterns, social stratification, classification methods, quantitative analysis, wealth, 1870 census data