Rural-urban continuum is a process of socio-economic interaction between the villages and the towns or cities. Many cultural traits are diffused from cities to the rural areas. For example, dress patterns like pants, shirts, ties, skirts, jeans, etc. diffuse from cities to the rural areas.
Besides these, new thoughts, ideologies are also diffused from the cities to the rural areas due to increase in communication via radio, television, newspaper, etc. The urbanism, which is urban way of life, emerges in the cities and gradually reaches to the rural areas, depending on their proximity to cities.
The process of urbanisation has not been an isolated phenomenon. At present, along with the whole gamut of occupational diversification, spread of literacy, education, mass communication, etc, continuity between rural and urban areas has increased. Urban jobs and other amenities of living have become status symbols in the rural areas. Many modern techniques of agricultural development and many of the institutional frameworks for rural development also generate from the urban centres. The large scale commercialisation of agriculture has also been facilitated by the process of urbanisation. Similarly, agricultural requirements for machinery have generated the growth of manufacturing units in urban areas.
Sociologists had earlier thought that there is a clear difference between the urban and the rural community. However gradually this concept of rural-urban dichotomy underwent a change some sociologists found that there was much individualism, lack of understanding, fear and suspicion even among the villagers, the peaceful village image of rural life took a severe blow.
These studies indicated that the happy community type of existence in villages was not a fact. Remarkably the concept of the urban community also underwent change in the 1950’s. It was found that family made life close, informal and secure. That is to say there do exist ‘Urban villages.’
This aspect of complex societies is very puzzling. Moreover there exist people who live in villages and work in towns. Neither the village nor the town can thus be thought of as a stereotype.
One thing is clear from above discussion is that the rural and urban life in complex society is not the opposite of one another. In fact it could no longer be assumed that the environment determined any one type of association. However this is not to say that rural and urban populations do not have any differences.