Blog 4- George Simmel and Society

Simmel defines society as “merely the name for a number of individuals connected by interaction…It is not a ‘substance,’ nothing concrete, but an event: It is the function of receiving and affecting the fate and development of one individual by another”. In class today we learned that we are all apart of different groups each with different forms of interaction. Some of these groups may be family, friends, work, and religious communities. Everyone acts a different way in each different group that is appropriate for that setting. For example the way we act with our friends may not be the same way we interact with our family or coworkers.

 Simmel defines sociability as the “play form of association”, driven by “amicability, breeding, cordiality and attractiveness of all kinds”. As human beings, it is natural to want to socialize with others, even if there is no cause or purpose. Some ways people find themselves in sociable conversations is by starting a conversation on the train with the person sitting across from them. There is no purpose, its just a friendly gesture and it makes the time pass quicker. There is no motive to these social interactions, its just something that happens naturally. People are social beings so this leads to a feeling of satisfaction for many. However, sociability is somewhat artificial, because there is no room for deep conversation. When someone asks, “how are you”, we are socialized to answer with “good”. No one would start listing their problems right away without getting into a much deeper form of conversation and connection. 

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One response to “Blog 4- George Simmel and Society

  1. I found Simmel’s definition of society very literal. I do believe that there is more to society than just interactions between individuals. I believe that the different groups of society help to make society good or bad. I also agree with you in that we act differently among these different groups. It would not be acceptable to act the same way around our bosses as we do around our friends. All of these different interactions make the would go around. As we continue to socialize ourselves, we continue to grow; individually and as a society. You spoke of natural conversations with individuals we come across throughout the day. I have to say that this is one of my favorite kinds of social interaction. Meeting a complete stranger and exchanging 10 or 15 minutes of conversation can teach you something new, or further your knowledge on a topic of interest. There are so many people among our society and we all have something to contribute to the world. I believe this kind of socialization is almost necessary in society. It teaches people to be kind (sometimes), teaches us how to communicate and how to understand those among us. After all, while we may not all know one another, we are living in the same world.

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