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Final Review - 1 Chapter 10 The Origin and Context of Georg...

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1 Chapter 10 The Origin and Context of Georg Simmel’s Thought Believed that the differentiation of structure, the elaboration of markets, and the detached involvement of people in rational bureaucratic structures gave them options, choices, and opportunities not available in traditional societies. Privatdozent o Unpaid lecturer, lived off student fees o Appears to have gone out of his way to annoy the academic establishment Cofounder of the German Society for Sociology o With Weber and Ferdinand Tonnies His most in-depth works are so heavily imbued with philosophical commentary that the sociological theory in them can easily go unnoticed o Particularly The Philosophy of Money Two main themes to his sociology o Concerned with the process of differentiation and its effects on the individual o The methodological unity in his work revolves around trying to extract the underlying essence and form of the particular empirical topics Considered morals, ethics, aesthetics, and many other topics from a philosophical vantage point Weber and Simmel o Unlike Weber, Simmel held that sociology should focus on the development of timelessly valid laws of social organization o Both felt compelled to react to the ideological and theoretical challenge posed by Marxism as it existed at the turn of the century. o Simmel’s analysis is a sociologically sophisticated rejection of Marx and Marxism. Social Differentiation o Modern societies are much more differentiated (complex) than those of the past o Concerned with the form of differentiated social structures and how their dynamics affect individuals independently of their purposes Point of emphasis taken from Immanuel Kant Kant and Simmel o “Pure Reason”
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2 Cognitive capacities and forms of thought exist independently of, or before, sense experience, implying that pure reason is thought that is inherent to the structure of the mind. o Human sensations are “given forms and connections which are not inherent in them but which are imposed on them by knowing mind as such. o Social structures (which he called forms of interaction ) systematically influence people’s behavior before and independently of their specific purposes. Marx and Simmel o Simmel rejected the labor theory of value by arguing more generally that people in all societies place value on items based on their relative desirability and scarcity. o Competition is a form of conflict that promotes social solidarity in differentiated social systems. o Simmel rejected socialist and communist experiments inspired by Marxist thought. Chapter 11 The Sociology of Georg Simmel Methodological approach to the study of society o Argued that it was necessary for the new discipline (sociology) to develop a unique and “unambiguous content, developed by one, methodologically certain, problem idea” o Discussion is organized around three questions What is society?
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