This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field. The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance. The second part moves on t
Chapter 6: The Continuing Relevance of Georg Simmel: Staking Out Anew the Field of Sociology1
The Continuing Relevance of Georg Simmel: Staking Out Anew the Field of Sociology1
The century has run its course, but the single individual has to start all over again.
(Goethe: epigraph of Simmel's dissertation)2
Why Should One Stake Out Anew the Field of Sociology?
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we sociologists are well advised to go back to the foundations of sociology laid by our classics at the turn of the last century. Among them, Georg Simmel's efforts at staking out the field of sociology and of establishing it, together with Max Weber, Ferdinand Tonnies and others, as an autonomous academic discipline are especially suited to help correct some of the main flaws of ...