Even though Simmel was not called a founder of sociology as Weber, Marx, or Durkheim, his beliefs and ideas have a similar wide focus within a society, yet Simmel focuses mainly on the experience of an individual within the city, social action and interaction. By analyzing the nature social life Simmel tries to join the experiences of an individual and social interaction with a greater structure which characterizes societies in the present day.
Instead of arguing, the problems in elderly periods were bigger or smaller compare to this times, Simmel considers that maintaining individuality and autonomy its the latest form that human development has taken. He also states, in modern life the struggle is more mental, rather than physical which in the early times was. He attacks this issues using a comparative approach like Weber, Durkheim and Marx’s. He insists, in early times, humans had to struggle with nature in order to survive, yet in the eighteen century it resulted to in the freedom of social bonds, as well as the religious domination. He also argues in the nineteen century the development of liberalization and liberty, which is like Durheim’s division of labour and specialization. Within this modern system, everyone is indispensable and dependent of others. Simmel starts with the examination of these modern developments and forces, specially the metropolis and urbanization, and the effect of individuals personalities and their inner life. When he identifies the overwhelming of social forces, he argues that a “person resists to being level down and worn out by a social-technological mechanism” (Simmel,1964).
... should guide them on moral, social, economic and culture ... to cope better with new surroundings and people. Their social skills will be growing as play becomes more cooperative with ... during this time will have a great bearing on the pace of their development. As a teenager forms their individual identity, education ...
His thinking could be simplified to individuals in the modern society have a motivation, or types of characteristics which is part of the personality that a person develops. Simmel’s concern is to look at the connection of metropolis, individuals, and individual contents of life. While he is concentrating primarily in the development of metropolis, as well as the effects of modern life on an individual’s personality, this analysis also opens the alternative of the evolution of metropolis could be a fuller humanity. He also argues that in early societies formed, people were limited not only intellectually, but also physically. Simmel thinks “The metropolis extracts from man as a discriminating creature a different amount of consciousness than does rural life” (Simmel,1964).
He looks at the individual and society two way connection, he talks about the issue of how human consciousness affects the metropolis, suggesting with his dialectal approach, that is how modern society and the metropolis was created. The individual and the metropolis discuss how the personality adjusts to external forces or developments of metropolis. We can compare this with Mead, the analysis and concerns that he showed in the self. The development of a personality could be look at in another way of looking at the individual’s inner life social aspect. Simmel focuses in the differences of urban life and the traditional individualism of small-town setting(Simmel,1964).
He also talks about the difference between impressions, how lasting impressions are normal and regular, consequently they are less consciousness, also changing the image stimulates attention which is more conscious. In the metropolis, the individuals have a higher develop consciousness, this comes from the forms of interaction and contact in their settings. In the article Simmel compares the rural and urban life, where rural is a small town which is deeply emotional and the city life is more conscious and transparent, which comes with a higher persona level, they develop a way so that when a reaction happens it occurs in their head instead of their heart. Simmel considers this as a higher intelligence and awareness within a metropolitan man. The reactions are move from the habitual to separate areas from their personality, which results in integration and the ability to control these occurrences. The goal here is to protect the subjectivity against the metropolitan life power. Even though Simmel thinks metropolitan life is overwhelming, he also says that individuals have the capacity to control the outcome of it. It appears that Simmel’s intellect is quite similar to Mead’s mind idea, which is something in between of individuals and reactions (Simmel,1964).
... measures are widely used to make important decisions about individuals’ lives and in workplace situations. They are also widely interpreted ... and reproduced the same five factor structure using personality ratings of individuals given by their peers. Digman and Takemoto-chock ... . Evidence for the existence of five dimensions of personality also comes form factor analysis. Costa and McCrae (1997) are ...
Just like Mead’s mind socially develops by social interaction, Simmel’s mind runs through social product. Simmel also notes the expansion features of the cities and markets, and how it expands the impact of social urban forms across bigger region. This addition is consider to be connected to the quantitative expansion but it ends in a qualitative transformation of the individual (Simmel,1964), it is not only the density and the dimensions that are essential, but the areas of influence, networks, as well as the independence that characterizes the circumstances which create new personalities and forms of social life. For each individual, this creates a unique meaning. He comes back to the effect of this in the interaction of individuals, “Freedom of mobility and elimination of prejudices and petty philistinism”(Simmel,1964).
The outcome ends being the way of life for every individual(Simmel,1964).
The new self expansion of the metropolis form is related with new personality forms(Simmel,1964), which could be call globalization. Some of the characteristics are shown, which bring attention in a noticeable way. They come from the scarcity on the inter human contacts which aim to “an ambitious image of himself in the eyes of others”(Simmel,1964).
... results in a free market or free trade. Free market competition also assumes a social system that is based on individual rights and these ... in terms. Also, if one does not believe in individual rights then competition takes on an entirely different meaning. For ... speaking, competition is a consequence of the political right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; especially when it ...
Besides the abundance and conciseness of contacts, the latest forms of social interaction, Simmel seems to be concerned with, is the chance of people feeling in a way dominated by the objective culture, which seems to be overpowering and staying, far away from the individual. The concentration concentrated with the division of labour could be described as the “dearth to the personality of the individual”(Simmel,1964).
Individuals could feel isolated and “mere cog in an enormous organization of things and powers(Simmel,1964).
Simmel believes that individual must face this contradiction, however, he attempts to analyze how individuality and the personality come out, which makes it unique of summons, and exaggerates this personal essential in order to conserve the most personal core(Simmel,1964).
Another aspect that Simmel talks about is the money economy, which comes from the result of individual’s personality and consciousness, which is dominant in the metropolis. He shows aspects of impersonality and values which are strong bonds who connects it into structures of new forms of social relations, as well as attitudes like “matter of factness”(Simmel,1964).
This is similar to Marx ideas of the dominance of monetary exchange of markets, this markets can be entered anonymous (Simmel,1964).
The outcomes of the effects of the market exchange contain, a calculated form of mind as well as premeditated calculations. The relationships that come out from the market exchange are different from the small groups, which are more concentrated and neutral. This brings a big concern with the calculations, values and numbers because they may disappear in such Relationships. Simmel combines the money with and the development of the mind so that the “modern mind has become more and more calculating”(Simmel,1964).
Simmel argues that there is a mutual connection and a integration of activities that allow and supports social life, these ideas are similar to Durkheim’s beliefs. We can also add the combination and control of specialization to Durkheim’s arguments regarding the integration of social life. Regardless, Simmel instead of focusing on the social solidarity, he concentrates in the aspects of integration.
He also discusses the significance and meaning of rationality in modern society. Some of the characteristics mention are weighing, calculating, punctual integration, and exactness, which are “forced upon life by the complexity and extension of metropolitan existence and are not only most intimately connected with its money economy and intellectualistic character”(Simmel,1964).
... the age of 76. That is a huge life expectancy change, and Social Security policy should be changed to reflect it. By ... account, or the stock market. Right now, the average American has withdrawn all he has put into Social Security within 7 years ... risky option, is to invest the funds in the stock market. This is done preferably for national security reasons. For instance ...
Simmel’s carries on with his analysis focusing on the characteristics of the urban context, which talks about the possibility of individual freedom(Simmel,1964).
In earlier times people were more likely to join small groups, leaving a space for unique and free individuals, which created strict and controlled boundaries so “they cannot allow individuals freedom and unique inner and outer development”(Simmel,1964), yet in the metropolis the group’s size rise and the inner unity decreases, creating individuality and self develop which takes a new form. Simmel notes that the “most extensive and the most general contents and forms of life are most intimately connected with the most individual ones”(Simmel,1964), and he argues that this could probably occur in circumstances of freedom in a metropolitan situation.
By reading this you will get a better knowledge of a possibility of society which discusses the relationship and effects between the metropolis, the individual and social interaction. All the material cover gives you a better understanding of Simmel’s beliefs and an ideas which is related with the material covered in class in a detail way.
Ritzer, G. (2003).
Contemporary Social Theory & Its Classical Roots. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Simmel, G. (1964).
The sociology of Georg Simmel. (K. H. Wolf, Trans.).
New York: Free Press.