Classical Theory: Simmel MalikSimmel talks about the stranger and how that person may be in the society but not feel as if he is a part of the society. He could be likened to a black sheep. I wonder how Simmel wouldanalyze Du Bois’s double consciousness. Would he see any similarities between the two theories?Gretchen How does Simmel’s ideas of reciprocity, “…its meaning only emerges through interaction with the other things or events” differ from Mead’s ideas about meanings of things being the products of social interaction in society? (p.XXXiii/33). Simmel’s example of looking at a portrait and it evoking the idea of a soul in the mind of the viewer sounds like Mead naming things into existence (p.XXXiii/33). How do these differ? How are the “forms” (p.XXXii/32) different than things being brought into existence by naming them?JeffSimmel states, "If contact is such that individuals see each other constantly, but can only speak to each other relatively infrequently -- like workers in a factory building, the studentsor soldiers of a usually undivided battalion-- then the consciousness of unity will have a more abstract character than when that contact also includes oral communication" (p.155). Simmel credits this to the fact that "the ear transmits an infinite variety of the mostdivergent moods, emotions and thoughts". How would Simmel interpret abstract unity in the digital age? KyleDoes Simmel’s notion of space recognize that sociologically different spaces may provide identical or similar types of association? Does it recognize that different people may have dissimilar responses to sociologically identical spaces?Q2 In the introduction to On Individual Social Forms, Levine (xxii) writes of Simmel’s conception of History that itdoes not shape raw contents, but rather gives additional form to contents that have already
been shaped in human experience. History is that way of ordering the world that selects certain contents from among all those that have been formed through experience and recombines them into continuous series, in such a way as to gain understanding (Verstehen) of events that have been located in time in terms of their future.Similarly, Mead (1967:116) states that “[o]ur past stays with us in terms of those changes which have resulted from our experience and which are in some sense registered there…The past must be found in the present world.”Is the past a social construct? If so, how do we locate “the origins…of diverse social forms” (xiv)? If the past is imaginary, should Sociology abandon the search for origins, or is there still value in teleological understandings of the emergence of social forms?