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Community & Society (1887) Ferdinand Tonnies published Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft or Community and Society in 1887 Sets out a basic dichotomy describing.

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Presentation on theme: "Community & Society (1887) Ferdinand Tonnies published Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft or Community and Society in 1887 Sets out a basic dichotomy describing."— Presentation transcript:

1 Community & Society (1887) Ferdinand Tonnies published Gemeinschaft & Gesellschaft or Community and Society in 1887 Sets out a basic dichotomy describing the foundation of both individual and social action, as well as the nature of the broader social order Ideal types serve as polar ends of the dichotomy Gemeinschaft: or community, the principle that structures agricultural and handicraft life within families, villages and towns Gives rise to a natural will or mentality that inclines individuals and groups to associate with one another on basis of concord (harmony), folkways, and religious beliefs Gesellschaft: or society, the outlook that predominates in industry, commerce, city life, national and cosmopolitan life Rooted in rational will that promises cold, instrumental relationships 1

2 Individual and Society Simmel makes 3 assumptions about the individual & society: 1)Individuals are both within and outside society 2)Individuals are both objects and subjects within networks of communicative interaction 3)Individuals have the impulse to be self-fulfilling and self- completing, that is, they seek an integrated self-concept Society also tries to integrate itself (like Durkheim noted), although this may undermine individual integrity 2

3 Fashion (1904) Fashion is another aspect of social life built on the coupling of opposites Fashion allows personal values to be expressed at the same time as norms are followed The two exist together, one without the other would be meaningless Social interaction is of the essence - what others think, what one thinks that others think, how one conceives of fashion, etc. 3

4 Fashion and the city Fashion develops in the city because the city intensifies a multiplicity of social relations, increases the rate of social mobility and permits individuals from lower strata to become conscious of the styles and fashions of upper classes In traditional and small circle settings, fashion would have no meaning or be unnecessary Since modern individuals tend to be detached from traditional anchors of social support, fashion allows the individual to signal or express their own personality or personal values 4

5 Fashion is dynamic Fashion is dynamic and has an historical dimension Typical pattern: acceptance of a fashion deviation from it change in fashion ultimate abandonment of original norm and creation of new norm Dialectical process in the success of the fashion: the emulation involved in its initial and then widespread acceptance also leads to its eventual abandonment and failure As fashion spreads, it gradually goes to its doom 5

6 Fashion is now Fashion is transitory, and this is part of its attraction The break with the past makes the consciousness turn more and more to the present Accentuation of the present emphasizes the element of change Anything else similarly new and suddenly disseminated, when were convinced of its continuance, is not called fashion - but if we feel certain it will vanish as rapidly as it came, we call it fashion Mavericks are those who reject the fashion, and this may turn out to be an inverse form of imitation 6

7 Fashion moves in circles, recycling the past Fashion repeatedly returns to old forms As soon as an earlier fashion has partially been forgotten there is no reason why it should not be allowed to return to favor and why the charm of difference, which constitutes its very essence, should not be permitted to exercise an influence similar to that which it exerted conversely some time before. (313) 7

8 The Metropolis and Mental Life (1903) Again for Simmel, its about numbers: As the group grows in numbers and extends itself spatially, "the group's direct, inner unity loosens, and the rigidity of the original demarcation against others is softened through mutual relations and connections. Implies greater possibility of individual freedom and flexibility, with the common culture and form of association greatly weakened The metropolis or city is where the division of labor is the greatest and where individuality and individual freedom is most expanded For the individual this creates the difficulty of asserting his own personality within the dimensions of metropolitan life. 8

9 Mental life: city vs. country Intellect and personal psyche develop in a different way in traditional and in modern society In rural and small town settings, impressions of others are built up gradually, over time, on the basis of habit Many of these impressions are less conscious and are built on more deeply felt and emotional relationships In the city, there is sharp discontinuity, single glances, a multitude of quick impressions blasé attitude 9

10 Blasé attitude Thus the metropolitan type of man -- which, of course, exists in a thousand individual variants -- develops an organ protecting him against the threatening currents and discrepancies of his external environment which would uproot him. He reacts with his head instead of his heart..... Intellectuality is thus seen to preserve subjective life against the overwhelming power of metropolitan life, and intellectuality branches out in many directions and is integrated with numerous discrete phenomena. 10

11 Objective and Subjective Culture Subjective culture is "the capacity of the actor to produce, absorb, and control the elements of objective culture In an ideal sense, individual culture shapes, and is shaped by, objective culture - the problem is that objective culture comes to have a life of its own Modern culture in terms of language, production, art, science, etc. is "at an ever increasing distance This is the result of the growth of the division of labor and the specialization in individual pursuits In the city: the "brevity and scarcity of the inter-human contacts granted to the metropolitan man, as compared to the social intercourse of the small town" makes the "objective spirit" dominate over the "subjective spirit" 11

12 The City and the tragedy of culture "The individual has become a mere cog in an enormous organization of things and powers which tear from his hands all progress, spirituality, and value in order to transform them from their subjective form into the form of objective life." This sounds much like Marx's alienation, Durkheim's anomie, or Weber's rationalization, although Simmel associates this with the city, rather than with the society as a whole, as do the other classical writers 12

13 Social types 13 Simmel constructed a gallery of social types to complement inventory of social forms Fine-grained descriptions of such diverse types as "the mediator," "the poor," "the adventurer," "the man in the middle," and "the renegade" Each social type is cast by the specifiable reactions & expectations of others Types form through relations: people assign other a particular position and expect him/her to behave in specific ways Types characteristics are seen as attributes of the social structure based on social position rather than categorical memberships determined by individual attributes each social type is transposable to wide array of settings

14 The Stranger (1908) The Stranger is perceived as being in the group but not of the group The stranger is different from the outsider who has no specific relation to a group and from the wanderer who comes today and leaves tomorrow The stranger comes today and stays tomorrow The stranger is a member of the group in which he lives and participates and yet remains distant from other – native – members of the group The stranger is near in a spatial sense, but distant in a social sense the distance of the stranger has to do with his origins The stranger is perceived as extraneous to the group and even though he is in constant relation to other group members, his distance is more emphasized than his nearness The Stranger is an element of the group itself, not unlike the poor and sundry inner enemies - an element whose membership within the group involves both being outside it and confronting it 14

15 Consequences & expressions of social position Social position has effects on the stranger and on other group members Strangers often carry out special tasks that the other members of the group are either incapable or unwilling to carry out (e.g., in pre-modern societies, most strangers were involved in trade) Due to their distance from local factions, they might be employed as arbitrators, even judges 15

16 Document uncovered in investigation of ties between the NYPD and the CIA, and coordinated activities involving Muslim populations in NYC. AP reports that NYPD collected lists of mosques, restaurants, and other Muslim-owned businesses identified as possible security risks, for reasons that included having religiously devout customers. The report is based on hundreds of pages of internal police documents obtained by the AP. (Highlights of AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning probe into NYPD intelligence operations http://ap.org/media-center/nypd/investigation) 16


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