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soc 203 SIMMEL.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George

George Simmel: The Metropolis and Mental Life 25/03/2013 16:04:00 ← 1. The web of group affiliations 1908 ← 2. Freedom of movement + Romanticism =unique, noble substance of person valued ← 3. Humans are differentiating creatures ← 4. The city: loose networks + culture of objectivity ← 5. Consequences for personality ← . intellectual ← . blasé ← . reserve ← . preciousness ← 6. Simmel compared ← next week is the test – both lecture and readings, 32 t/f and 12 mc questions ← torture topic- Durkheim : in contemporary society torture violates the belief of individualism – a flaw in him is that there is only one value is what holds society together and rather many other values that hold society together such as patriotism which shows his argument not so strong – this criticism is challenging the presence that only there is one principle that unites society together instead if we hold that there are other values there too which can show us why US is enlarging itself even if its going against individuals human rights ← 1. 1908 is to be noticed – the argument simmel puts is a structural argument and we are aware of this in Durkheim argument with his suicide- he said that social solidarity is important to influence the suicide rate. In each of these cases Durkheim is stating that when social occasion has a influence on ones social behavior. It explains peoples behavior in their social context. Simmel says that depending on one who is in old social networks or if one lives in conditions that are in loose social network there are many implications for the persons self. The simmel offers a explanation in web of affiliations which comes in 1908 and his paper metropolis comes in 1903. We think of thinkers idea of time to become more complex in time but this is the opposite and we are finding that simmel is drawing on psychology and history to take on the modernity. The web of affiliations he says there are two networks like traditional we have people we know and have rules for deviant norms, and in the loose network we have identities for different groups which is a problem of maintain unity. ← 2. Freedom of movement he associates with the 1700 which is a time where people had geographical movement and social movement and increased appetites for other freedom. The 19 century as the cult of romanticism which is that sets people apart. he is trying to argue that we have newer expectations of the type of people we can be and they stem form the 18 century of th freedom and 19 century romanticism that sets us apart. ← 3. he makes a universalistic claim that applies to human beings of all sort and says human are differentiating creatures and pick up on differences and pick up on small changes, what attracts us is deviation from the norm. (169-170)- simmel is saying that we are different and that takes up our consciousness . He says that human beings are always differentiating creatures and if you take these human beings and plunge them in the city they are bombarded with different stimulus that is rapid than they have consequences for personality. The constant here is our psychological conscious but what is varying is the various stimulations. The city is in strong contrast from rural life and the city is a discrimating creature. The country has a rhythm of life that is more slow and even. ← 4. the city has loose networks meaning lots of contact with people we do not know and we are also treated as non objects by other humans and that has a desire for us to cultivate our selves to be set apart. The culture of objectivity- could be contrasted with a culture that is in contrast with qualitative things- lets say we are reading homicide stats and in reading those we are not aware of qualitative differences of the different murderers, victims since all of that is hidden by the numbers. Or lets say we go out for dinner and we split it to 20 each and putting all these restaurants in the 20 category is ignoring the qualitative things like the atmosphere which is like us being objectified since we are treated interchangeable like in the banks so we are treated for objects. Simmel is saying is saying that the city is like this since we are in looser network and when there is cultural objectivity. He also talks about money where he says that a money economy contributes to culture objectivity. look at the small villages that peasants lived and the exchange of goods were not by money but for food change where there is not a common standard. So he is saying there has to be a greater tension of qualitative things and that there is not a exact comparability that is evident more in the city (the money economy) where there is value and is a city that goes in the movement of objectivity. ← why did simmel think he was moving forward by going to a simple approach? why? this is because there might have been a aesthetic considerations- in academic this feature encompasses elegance and simplicity. In science if you can explain a lot in simple form that is elegant and simmel went after simplicity as well which is why he was thinking he was offering more and this is true for Durkheim in his suicide his concepts like social solidarity summarizes his argument ← 5. intellectual- it is the opposite of emotionality and simmel says it is common in economic exchange and has a hardness of personality. there is calculation – like costs and benefits without considering the consequences of the person you are buying from and you are indifferent to their feelings worrying about your own economic situation. simmel says that when you buy a cd the sales person may try to move you over and the transaction is on the costs and benefits and not about the warmth of the sales person but more on the economic benefits for me. The baurocacy-they treat all their clients the same way which is the intellectual attitude. ← blasé- we are differentiating creatures – the country person comes to the city what is happened? They are bombarded with stimuli and simmel says that at a point we are over stimulated and our system will shit down and than we cant react anymore where we are cold and cannot respond. this comes from the lack of rest fro hard rapid sensations which leads to no incapacity to further differentiate. We are sensitive to things and that leads us to a saturation where we cant be
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