Georg Simmel and her Sociological ViewsJune 27, 2021
Simmel’s sociological influences on science are different from those of other sociologists.
For example, although Marx, Durkheim and Weber gained importance later, they were relatively less influential in American theory in the early 20th century.
Simmel, on the other hand, is better known by early American sociologists.
Simmel’s Sociological Thoughts
Georg Simmel is known for his important role in the development of “shopping theory”, “symbolic interaction” and “small group research” in the field of micro-sociology. Simmel’s work has been influential in contemporary American sociology. Simmel; Spencer was influenced by Darwin and Marx. He focused on political, economic and industrial development.
Purpose: It is the study of society with its interaction patterns and forms.
Rejection of the organic approach (Treatment of society as an organism),
Considering society as individuals interconnected by interaction,
The number of individuals determines the forms of interaction (between individuals) in society,
It is the dialectical thinking of the relationship between the individual and society.
To examine limited and continuous interaction within formal sociology.
Use of abstraction, analytical, historical, comparative approaches.
Study on social types.
Typology: It is the creation of types of social groups, we can show this with a diagram as follows:
Monad (one) group, dyadic (binary) group, triadic (triple) group, small group, big group
One person, two people, three people, four people, five or more.
Complete freedom, devotion, authority structure, development of mores, extra people.
Unity and synthesis, more formal associations.
The decline and development of individuality and laws.
Simmel rejected the idea expressed by Durkeim that society is real and material unity. He saw that this view was adopted by Comte in France, Spencer in England and Schaffle in Germany. He did not treat society as a thing or an organism, that is, as a biological formation. Again, “society is more than the sum of individuals one by one.” does not accept the idea. In a more moderate way, he takes society as a set of interactions. According to Simmel, society consists of complex relationships between individuals who constantly interact with each other.
What is the field of sociology according to Simmel?
Simmel argued that in terms of content, the fields of social events such as economy, religion, law, history are examined by various sciences covering these fields, and the subject of sociology is socialization / socialization forms or the field of human relations. Thus, Simmel separated sociology from other social sciences in terms of subject and argued that these social forms are a field of study specific to sociology. The sociology he designed based on this view was named “Formal Sociology”.
Simmel has been one of the founders and prominent representatives of Forms/Formal sociology. He examined many concepts such as foreignness, conflict, the role of numbers under this title. Let us now examine this area that has influenced the thinking of many contemporary sociologists:
Simmel first gathered the behaviors of individuals in society under 3 groups: First, people with different motives; interest, passion, desire for authority. He states that he behaves and that the examination of these phenomena should be done by psychology. Secondly, the individual himself must be examined, but the individual here is the study of his behavior in the context of his influence on others or the influence of others on him, that is, in the individual’s interactions with others. Such phenomena should be studied by social psychology. The third is the study of the behavior patterns of individuals emerging in imitation, competition, hierarchical structures or social groupings such as school, church, state, and such phenomena should be studied by sociology.
Simmel explains it this way: Sociology should examine the institutional forms of interpersonal relations such as competition, solidarity and hostility in structures such as the state, trade union or family. According to Simmel, individuals cannot show the content of their emotions without these forms. In other words, in the interaction between individuals, individual tendencies, passions, interests become concrete and gain a form. Simmel draws attention to a point in this regard: the same content can manifest itself in different social forms, but it can also be the opposite, that is, different content can take the same social form. That is, behavior patterns such as hierarchy, competition, imitation, and division of labor are also seen in a religious community, state, secret society, economic organization, and family. The interests that bring about socializations can be diverse in content, but they can take similar forms, and on the contrary, some interests can embody themselves in different forms of socialization.
Now let’s give an example of Simmel’s work in this field; Numbers are used in sociology in two ways; sociometry or quantitative methods (such as statistics, graphics, factor analysis)