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Georg Simmel reached the conclusion that evolution drives money towards an ever‐higher level of functionality while, at the same time reducing its importance as a…
Georg Simmel reached the conclusion that evolution drives money towards an ever‐higher level of functionality while, at the same time reducing its importance as a substance. This article confronts Simmel’s one hundred‐year‐old hypothesis with the changes money has undergone since the publication of his book, The Philosophy of Money, since the 1970s. We begin by presenting the main conclusions of Simmel’s inquiry into the essence of money. We focus on his findings concerning the unstable relationship between the substance and functions of money and on the notion of money as a social institution. The second part of the article relates Simmel’s analysis to various aspects of contemporary thinking on money, and presents the “double anchor” hypothesis on the monetary order. Then, this hypothesis is used to analyse how technology‐driven processes are causing specific monetary functions to become increasingly autonomous. What this implies, in turn, is the de facto break‐up of money. For the time being, this situation has not actually arisen, but the stage‐by‐stage break‐up of money is well under way, at various speeds, and taking advantage of any available technical opportunities, especially in the field of information technology. The expected total break‐up of money poses compelling problems that call for new conceptual, technical and institutional solutions.
Contemporary sociologists implicitly assume or explicitly state that classical social theorists shared the Enlightenment’s optimistic vision that society would become more…
Contemporary sociologists implicitly assume or explicitly state that classical social theorists shared the Enlightenment’s optimistic vision that society would become more rational, free, ethical, and just overtime. I reexamine the primary works that laid the foundation for sociology and resituate them in their neo-Romantic origins.
Close readings of formative texts are provided to revisit modernist critiques of social progress in turn of the century sociology. The works of Ferdinand Tönnies, Thorstein Veblen, Emile Durkheim, Georg Simmel, and Max Weber exemplify this tradition.
Insights from social theory written during and around the neo-Romantic period mirrored the Zeitgeist, a time fascinated with irrationality, moral decay, unconsciousness, decadence, degeneration, cynicism, historical decline, and pessimism. However, classical sociology’s pessimism should not be interpreted as anti-modern. Rather, it contributed to the Enlightenment’s maturation.
Contemporary sociologists should recover the spirit of classical sociology’s gloomy extension of the modern project and bring societal processes to consciousness through human reason, untainted by the fable of progress. Without rational grounds for optimism, the most honest and sincere way to preserve the hope for alternatives and emancipation is through the continuation and advancement of the pessimistic tradition. To formulate new disillusioned theories of society, sociology ought to draw from its ignored tragic legacy.
Rather than accept accounts of classical sociologists as believers in progress, the tradition reveals a world of increasing disenchantment, atomization, anomie, alienation, confusion, quarrel, rationalization devoid of value, and unhappiness. Providing society thoughtful, systematic accounts of its own estrangement advances the project of modernity.
To elucidate issues involved in the problem of scale, in particular the relations, analytical and dialectical, among first-person experiences of theorist and theorist’s…
To elucidate issues involved in the problem of scale, in particular the relations, analytical and dialectical, among first-person experiences of theorist and theorist’s object-complex of individual actor, group, society, motives and causes, intended and unintended effects, and so forth, as these experiences are manifest in an aesthetics of the judicial moment of perception, and enunciated as first-person accounts directly or indirectly, of third-person accounts, sometimes via explicit but usually via virtual or even vicarious second-person accounting practices.
Discussion begins with some classical formulations by neo-Kantian theorists (Simmel, Durkheim, Weber) regarding relations of “individual and society.” Brief citations of various twentieth century responses to the problem of scale follow. Attention then becomes more intensively focused on the basic problem of first-person experience and accounts with respect to the problem of scale, using Coleman’s “foundations” work as guidepost for navigating issues of effects of cognition, consciousness, and action in still mostly obscure processes of aggregation. This leads to explication of the thesis of “impossible individuality,” in present-day theoretical contexts and in the context of post-Kantian romanticism, with special attention to Hölderlin and the feeling/knowing dialectic, Benjamin’s treatment of temporality with respect to metrics of history, and the question what it means to “theorize with intent.”
The discussion ends with some tentative resolutions and several lacunae and aporia which are integral to the current face of the problem of scale (i.e., processes of aggregation, etc.).
The discussion builds upon the work of many others, with first-person illustrations.
In this keynote address, I use Georg Simmel’s sociology of social forms approach to amend Erving Goffman’s interaction order perspective into a contemporary analytical…
In this keynote address, I use Georg Simmel’s sociology of social forms approach to amend Erving Goffman’s interaction order perspective into a contemporary analytical framework for empirical analysis of everyday life in our twenty-first century mediated social order. For Goffman, the interaction order provides a foundational basis for social order. As a cornerstone of the human condition, Goffman maintained that most of us spend our daily lives in the direct presence of others. However, rapid advancements in interactive media formats in the last few decades have given rise to an unprecedented twenty-first century interaction order. Many of us now also spend our everyday lives in the mediated presence of others, the effects of which parallel those of face-to-face interaction in importance. These changes, I contend, provide a necessary occasion to reimagine Goffman’s interaction order. In what follows, I first provide a brief synopsis of Goffman’s interaction order. Next, I outline the twenty-first century interaction order and illustrate the importance of Simmel’s formal sociology in amending Goffman’s original framework in relation to this unforeseen order. Finally, to highlight a few key points – I incorporate empirical examples from my work as it relates to police legitimacy. I conclude with some suggestions for future research and note a few limitations.
Purpose – To analyse the patterns of deception that take place at five different levels of intimacy: fleeting encounters between strangers, performance teams and their audiences, competitive game play between teammates, intimate partners, and individual selfhood.
Approach – Symbolic interactionist and dramaturgical theories are applied alongside Simmel's dialectical model of social relations.
Findings – Symbolic interactionist theories posit that deception can be socially good, regardless of whether it is morally right or wrong, because of its facilitative effects on interaction order. While applicable to the tactful ‘polite fictions’ that characterise some routine encounters in everyday life, this model of pragmatic rationality becomes complicated when we analyse its deployment in more intimate forms of social relationship. Drawing on Simmel's dialectic of fascination and fear, I suggest that the relative influence of these factors shifts as intimacy increases: cautious reserve gives way to trust, excitement and risk taking, experienced through both collusive deception and honesty. This culminates in the Goffmanesque ‘transceiver’, an agent who can take the view of both fraudster and victim simultaneously, viewing the social drama from both perspectives; fear, suspicion and cynicism then paradoxically re-emerge. The consequences of transceivership are explored in relation to self-deception, through the example of academic impostordom.
Originality and value – The paper critically explores the limitations of SI and dramaturgy for understanding more intimate forms of deception, while arguing that Simmelian ideas can be usefully applied to augment the theories and compensate for these effects.
This chapter delineates the interactional structure of flirtation. Refining Simmel's analysis, I show flirtation as a way in which two time frames are continuously…
This chapter delineates the interactional structure of flirtation. Refining Simmel's analysis, I show flirtation as a way in which two time frames are continuously maintained within the same interaction. Rather than moving into a future interaction by using what I term “actualization practices” – actions which thrust the present interaction into a future – interactants simultaneously use practices from both time frames, careful not to irrevocably shift the situation. The management of interactional ambiguity in flirtation is then analyzed as a key to examine other ambiguous or “suspended” interactions, where interactants must work to keep different potential future possibilities open.
Over the past years, the teaching of third sector management and corporate social responsibility in business schools has been characterized by two main features: it has…
Over the past years, the teaching of third sector management and corporate social responsibility in business schools has been characterized by two main features: it has become widespread, and the assumption that a company's moral behavior has a financial correlate was abandoned. It follows from the second element that these classes are no longer meant to train managers to make a more effective economic contribution. The courses can now find a different, higher purpose, namely to emphasize the impact of the companies' and non‐profit organizations' social activities. This paper aims to address this issue.
The paper looks at two prevailing models of integration of third sector management in the curriculum and their limits.
The paper finds that emphasizing companies' and non‐profit organizations' social activities can be achieved if managers are trained in a way that better apprehends the stakes of these social activities. However, for business schools to make a significant contribution to this field and avoid missing the opportunities of this “non profit turn”, they must establish a vision of what these courses mean to them.
This paper provides useful information on the challenges of teaching a curricula taking into account the companies' and non‐profit organization' social activities.
The purpose of this paper is to show the relationship between food as a shared good (or public within the household) in the economic sense, and food as a shared meal in…
The purpose of this paper is to show the relationship between food as a shared good (or public within the household) in the economic sense, and food as a shared meal in the sociological sense.
Quantitative data derived from a household budget survey (HBS) in Cyprus are used to set up questions to which answers are suggested using the qualitative approach of in-depth interviews.
The main finding is that the relatively high expenditure by elderly couples on food for home consumption may be explained by frequent inter-household, intra-extended family meals in Cyprus.
The paper provides evidence that household expenditure on food may not be directly indicative of household consumption of food. Researchers interested in household consumption of food should therefore be aware of the differences between household and extended family and, where extended family continues to be significant, they should be wary of using data from HBSs to analyse food consumption. One limitation is that the results are derived from in-depth interviews with a purposive sample of nine households. It may be appropriate to replicate the study, either in Cyprus or in similar societies where extended family remains significant, at a larger scale.
The evidence that household expenditure may not be indicative of household consumption suggests that questions on social context of consumption should be included in HBSs.
This paper draws together, for the first time, economic ideas on expenditure on food derived from the quantitative research of Ernst Engel on one hand and implications of the theories of Georg Simmel on the sociology of the meal on the other. The paper shows that some issues arising from quantitative analysis of HBSs cannot be explained using data from that source; this is particularly so where consumption of food is inter-household.