Georg Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms
edited by Donald N. Levine, by Georg Simmel
University of Chicago Press, 1971
Cloth: 978-0-226-75775-9 | Paper: 978-0-226-75776-6 | Electronic: 978-0-226-92469-4


"Of those who created the intellectual capital used to launch the enterprise of professional sociology, Georg Simmel was perhaps the most original and fecund. In search of a subject matter for sociology that would distinguish it from all other social sciences and humanistic disciplines, he charted a new field for discovery and proceeded to explore a world of novel topics in works that have guided and anticipated the thinking of generations of sociologists. Such distinctive concepts of contemporary sociology as social distance, marginality, urbanism as a way of life, role-playing, social behavior as exchange, conflict as an integrating process, dyadic encounter, circular interaction, reference groups as perspectives, and sociological ambivalence embody ideas which Simmel adumbrated more than six decades ago."—Donald N. Levine

Half of the material included in this edition of Simmel's writings represents new translations. This includes Simmel's important, lengthy, and previously untranslated "Group Expansion and Development of Individuality," as well as three selections from his most neglected work, Philosophy of Money; in addition, the introduction to Probleme der Geschichtsphilosophie, chapter one of the Lebensanschauung, and three essays are translated for the first time.


Donald N. Levine is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is the author of The Flight from Ambiguity: Essays in Social and Cultural Theory, Greater Ethiopia: The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society, and Wax and Gold: Tradition and Innovation in Ethiopian Culture, all published by the University of Chicago Press.



Introduction - by Donald N. Levine

I. Philosophy of the Social Sciences

1. How Is History Possible?

2. How Is Society Possible?

3. The Problem of Sociology

4. The Categories of Human Experience

II. Forms of Social Interaction

5. Exchange

6. Conflict

7. Domination

8. Prostitution

9. Sociability

III. Social Types

10. The Stranger

11. The Poor

12. The Miser and the Spendthrift

13. The Adventurer

14. The Nobility

IV. Forms of Individuality

15. Freedom and the Individual

16. Subjective Culture

17. Eros, Platonic and Modern

V. Individuality and Social Structure

18. Group Expansion and the Development of Individuality

19. Fashion

20. The Metropolis and Mental Life

21. Subordination and Personal Fulfillment

VI. Forms Versus Life Process: The Dialectics of Change

22. Social Forms and Inner Needs

23. The Transcendent Character of Life

24. The Conflict in Modern Culture

Bibliographical Note