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Lecture 10

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Dan Silver

Lecture 10 Social Forms Conflict Hierarchy Sociability Social Types The StrangerFreedomthe IndividualGroup Expansion Intersection of Social Circles Conflict and integration Conflict is a major topic of sociology Its clear why Theres obviously a difference between groups who have more conflicts than another You want to understand typically why one has conflict What are the consequences Simmel takes a step back and talks about conflict in an interesting way He doesnt start with the assumption that conflict is necessarily speaking generically something that will break apart a group It might lead to defragmentation or disintegration He has an interesting approach Disassociation or associating function brings people together Being in conflict with someone is a way of being in a relationship with someone If you are in conflict you might care about the other person more than anything Levels of countries US vs Soviet Union they werent tightly connected before the war But now they are The main point is that conflict is neither good or bad Any group always have conflictual elements and this thing that pushes it apart a pushpull tensionSimmel believes that every social unit has conflictual and harmonious elements Why is that Often the conflicts and competitions are what holds the groups together gives it an energy or vibrancy For example sports teams youre in position with everyone else If you showed up and there was none of that the team would not be as tightly held together or as fun Another example marriage when you notice peoples weddings we have an image of no conflict as an ideal Simmel says no way You are basically deciding who youll have the most fights with for the rest of your life Fighting is part of a healthy marriage you connect with them in new ways through fighting Workplace environment the best workplace no fighting etc A lot of people the whole reason for showing up at work is because of feuds with everyone else there This gives a kind of drama and excitement to the workplaceTwo Levels of Unity If you only thing of conflict alone you might think that that is negative it actually has a positive affect towards a group Unity peacefulness vs Conflict theres a higher unity and incorporates both unity and conflictthat is the most unified group Simmel uses this example you could also think about life in this way Life in one sense the other side is death There is a deeper meaning of life that includes both life and death and the process of that These are sort of general metaphysical ideas in Simmels conception of how unity correlates with the groupConflict for itself
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