Author Archives: szappone

Blog #4 Simmel and Fashion

I for one, am not into fashion, but as I say this I am clearly somewhere on the fashion spectrum as it is impossible to remove yourself from it.  Simmel believed that those who didn’t follow fashion were still a part of fashion since it is a dichotomy and requires those who are to be considered the inverse of fashion followers.  This aspect of social life has two extremes, Imitation and Distinction.  Imitation is the style or trend that most people aim for.  According to Simmel, someone from the upper class will for lack of a better word, lead the general population.  It is conformity, to be like a certain “role model” in appearance, it’s widespread acceptance.  On the other side of the spectrum is Distinction, to be eccentric or apart from the crowd.  Only a few prefer this unique side.

Fashion is dynamic, always changing.  A unique style can become “popularized” and shift from Distinction to Imitation.  This process can also go the other way, from Imitation to Distinction.  To depict this we can look at an example from the past.  At one time, bell bottom jeans were “trendy”.  People conformed to this style and then after however many years it dissipated so if you were to wear them you would be seen as being eccentric.  As we saw in the video in class, fashion is not limited to just clothing, but also include things like hair style, tattoos, piercings, plastic surgery and etc.

Blog #3 Simmel and Sociability

I recall many times where I would find myself in an almost meaningless conversation with someone, typically a stranger and I never would have thought that someone would have studied that type of interaction.  The simple social interaction seems so minuscule and almost pointless that it’s rather shocking to realize that there is so much behind the concept.  Simmel uses the term sociability to categorize the interactions among people, specifically, interacting with others for the sake of the connection itself and not having any significance or ulterior motive.  It makes you wonder about all the past interactions you’ve had and seeing which ones fit into Simmel’s definition of sociability.  It makes you question every social interaction, maybe even as far as to question some social structures that we have in place today.  Why not after all?  Simmel questioned something that many of us may not even deem as near important.  Simmel seems to indirectly push us to want to ask why something is the way it is, no matter how basic.  At least I find myself asking that question.

Blog 2 – Alienation

Marx’s theory of Alienation is surprisingly common when looking into our social structure in the U.S.  Being a capitalist country, we developed a mode of production that deprives humans of being “human”.  Workers are basically drones, gears in a grand industrial clock, where they are emotionless and have only one output which is labor.  What is the point of constantly grinding out work, the same thing day in and day out, if you can’t enjoy life.  It’s unfortunate that this net, that is alienation, has caught so many people and exploited them.  However, as seen in history many times over, revolution seems to cure, even if only for a short time, the proletariat’s epidemic.  I would assume that in order to achieve a “fresh start” that overcoming bureaucracy would be necessary and as time passes it seems more and more difficult.  Alienation of the worker is spreading and it looks as if we are drifting further away from humanism.

Blog 1 – Income Inequality

After watching “Land of the Free, Home of the Poor”.  It was shocking to see the reality of our income inequality.  I would of liked to have seen more people realize the issue than a bunch of seemingly oblivious drones.  Being that I work in the Financial industry it’s easy to see how the rich seem to get richer and those not at the level are stuck struggling just to scrape by.

I especially enjoyed watching “Wealth Inequality in America” since it broke it down in several graphs and images which make it simple to see how skewed income inequality actually is in the U.S. The chart of the U.S. income breakdown is a clear example of Marx’s idea that capitalism causes inequality.  Also, since Sweden’s “chart” was among the favorite as an ideal breakdown of income, maybe we should be taking notes as to how they run their society.  All in all, it is clear that the U.S. has a major income inequality problem that seems to only be worsening.  Hopefully some change is able to occur to relieve the issue.