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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

    Bolender 1

    Sociological Theory:

    Georg Simmel

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

    Bolender 3

    Georg SimmelHow is society possible?

    Sociologists should focus on people inrelationships.

    Society--thepatterned interactionsamong members of a group

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    Georg Simmel

    As with Durkheim and Weber, Simmel

    resisted reducing social behavior toindividual personality.

    Nor could social relationships be fullyexplained by larger collective patternssuch as the economy.

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

    Bolender 7

    Georg Simmel

    Self-conscious attempt to reject the

    organicist theories of Comte & Spencer

    And the historical description of uniqueevents that was cherished in his native

    German

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    Georg Simmel

    Suggested that society consists of

    A web of patterned Interactions

    The task of sociologyto study the forms

    of these interactions as they occur and

    reoccur in diverse historical periods and

    cultural settings.

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel

    Society is the name for a number of

    individuals connected by interactions.

    The major field of study for student of

    society issociation:

    The particular patterns & formsin

    which people associate and interact with

    one another.

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

    Bolender 10

    Georg Simmel:

    Formal Sociology (Social Forms)

    Distinct human phenomena may beunderstand by reference to the same

    formal concept

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    Formal Sociology

    (Social Forms)

    For example: The student of warfare

    and the student of marriage investigate

    qualitatively different subject matters,

    Yet the sociologist can find essentially

    similar interactive forms in martialconflictand in marital conflict.

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    F l S i l

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    Formal Sociology

    (Social Forms)

    Little similarity between the behavior

    displayed at the court of Louis XIV

    And that displayed in the offices of an

    American corporation

    A study of the forms of subordination

    and superordinationin each revealssimilar underlying patterns

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    Formal Sociology (Social Forms)

    Social Processes

    Conflict and Cooperation

    Subordination and Superordination

    Centralization and Decentralization

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    Formal Sociology (Social Forms)

    The term formwas perhaps not the best

    choice

    Had Simmel used the term social structure

    which is quite close to his use of formhe

    may have encountered less resistance

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    Georg Simmel:

    Formal Sociology (Social Forms)

    Modern sociological terms such asstatus, role, norms, and expectations

    Elements of social structure are close tothe formal conceptualizations that

    Simmel employed

    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    Social Types

    Simmel constructed a gallery of social typesto

    complement his inventory of social forms: The Stranger

    The Mediator

    The Poor

    The Adventurer

    The Man in the Middle The Renegade

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    Social Types

    Simmel conceives of each particular social

    type as being caused by specific reactionsand the expectations of other.

    The typebecomeswhat he is through hisrelations with others who:

    Assignhim a particular position

    Expecthim to behave in specific ways.

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    Social TypesThe Stranger

    The stranger in Simmels terminology, is not just a wanderer who comes

    today and goes tomorrow, having no specific structural position. On thecontrary, he is a person who comes today and stays tomorrowHe is fixedwithin a particular spatial groupbut his positionis determinedby thefact that he does not belong to it from the beginning, and that he may

    leave again. The stranger is an element of the group itself while notbeing fully part of it. He therefore is assigned a role that no other membersof the group can play. By virtue of his partial involvement in group affairshe can attain an objectivity that other members cannot reachMoreover,being distant and near at the same time, the stranger will often be called

    upon as a confidantIn similar ways, the stranger may be a better judgebetween conflicting parties than full members of the group since he is nottied to either of the contenders

    (Coser 1971:182)

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    Social Types

    The Poor

    Once the pooraccept assistance, they are removed fromthe preconditions of their previous status, they aredeclassified, and their private trouble now becomes a

    public issue. The poor come to be viewed not bywhat they do--the criteria ordinarily used insocial categorization--but by virtue of what isdone to them. Society creates the social type of thepoor and assigns them a peculiar status that is markedonly by negative attributes, by what the status-holdersdo not have.

    (Coser 1971:182)

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    The Dialectical Method

    To Simmel, sociationalways involvesharmony and conflict, attraction andrepulsion, love and hatred. He saw human

    relations as characterized by ambivalence;precisely those who are connected in

    intimate relations are likely to harbor forone another not only positive but alsonegative sentiments.

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    Thursday, April 19,

    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    Georg Simmel:

    The Dialectical Method

    Erotic relations, for example, strike us as woven

    together of love and respect, or disrespectoflove and an urge to dominate or the need fordependenceWhat the observer or the participant

    himself thus divides into two intermingling trendsmay in reality be only one.

    Because conflict can strengthen existingbonds or establish new ones, it can be considereda creativerather than a destructiveforce.

    (Coser 1971:184-185)

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    2012 23

    Georg Simmel:

    4/19 The Significance of Numbers for Social Life

    Simmels emphasis on the structural

    determinants of social action is perhaps bestexemplified in his seminal essay

    Quantitative Aspects of the Group.

    Goal of writing a grammar of social lifebyconsidering one of the most abstract

    characteristics of a group: the mere numberof its participants.

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    The Significance of

    Numbers for Social Life

    He examines forms:

    Group processes and

    Structural arrangements

    As these derive from sheer quantitativerelationships

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    2012

    2000-2006 by Ronald Keith

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    2012 25

    Georg Simmel:

    The Significance of Numbers for Social Life

    Dyad versus Triad

    A dyadic relationship differsqualitativelyfrom other types of

    groups

    Each of the two participants isconfronted by only oneother andnot by a collectivity

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    Dyad versus Triad

    This type of group depends only on

    two participants, the withdrawal ofone would