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ST05 CST08.Sum.Simmel - Classical Sociological Theory 4e...

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Classical Sociological Theory, 4e Ritzer Georg Simmel Sociological Theory Chapter 5 Classical Sociological Theory Chapter 8 CHAPTER SUMMARY Georg Simmel (1858-1918) is best known as a microsociologist who played a significant role in the development of small-group research. Simmel’s basic approach can be described as “methodological relationism,” because he operates on the principle that everything interacts in some way with everything else. His essay on fashion, for example, notes that fashion is a form of social relationship that allows those who wish to conform to do so while also providing the norm from which individualistic people can deviate. Within the fashion process, people take on a variety of social roles that play off the decisions and actions of others. On a more general level, people are influenced by both objective culture (the things that people produce) and individual culture (the capacity of individuals to produce, absorb, and control elements of objective culture). Simmel believed that people possess creative capacities (more-life) that enable them to produce objective culture that transcends them. But objective culture (more-than-life) comes to stand in irreconcilable opposition to the creative forces that have produced it in the first place. Primary Concerns 1
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Classical Sociological Theory, 4e Simmel’s interest in creativity is manifest in his discussions of the diverse forms of social interaction, the ability of actors to create social structures, and the disastrous effects those structures have on the creativity of individuals. All of Simmel’s discussions of the forms of interaction imply that actors must be consciously oriented to one another. Simmel also has a sense of individual conscience and of the fact that the norms and values of society become internalized in individual consciousness. In addition, Simmel has a
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