-It means a kind of interaction with other people, that is simply about interacting with
them. you interact for the sake of it.
-Form of association where the rules, habits, style of interaction are all there, just to keep
the interaction of going along, having a back and forth with people. Forms of this type of
interaction are: parties.
-What is the purpose of a party: being with others and having the pleasure of them being
there (talking to each other, dancing with each other). You mainly talk about everything
but serious topics as it encourages sociability to continue. Simmel believes it has big
significance – sociability make being social the purpose of the interaction (this makes it
the purest form of sociology).
-When reading newspaper’s society section, they talk about what goes on at parties and
Features of pure sociability:
-Autonomous – disregards or goes beyond extraneous purposes; what are those other
things beyond interactions? Parties have implicit rules that turn it into a place for just
-Artifice/artificial – there is a reason why people wear costumes/wear masks, for darkness,
wear makeup (this separates parties from ulterior purposes); with disguise, you don’t truly
know a person and therefore you may not want to network with them for a job, for
example. At a good party, you are to put aside status, job, prestige, etc to simply interact.
Ex. at dinner parties, it is rude to exclude others; everyone should be able to speak.
(Page 132 “sociability creates …” parties are a space where you have a level of equality;
your enjoyment depends on others)
-Encouraging playful interaction – need to have subject matter; in a sociable interaction,
you take the seriousness and things that matter to you, remove them and turn them into
play/games and do not include the real consequences. (Seriousness, tragic
play, knows no restrictions). Examples: War (battle ship, Chess), Capitalism (Monopoly);
Coquettry aka flirting
Why do people do these things at parties? There are important things that have to be dealt with:
-Sociability provides distance from everyday life – gives you time to step back and reflect,
clear your mind from chaos; create opportunity space for the distance; normal life can get
clustered (Similar to Durkheim’s sacred/profane – religion gives you this space to break
away). It is not the same as escapism. Simmel says it takes you into the secret forces of
life; you experience it all from a higher point.
Example of flirting, when you flirt, you can get a distance and understanding of how
seduction and romance works; parties/flirting allows you to do so without having to go all
the way. It teaches you about love and how it works without suffering the downfall of