Georg Simmel - German philosopher and sociologist: basic ideas
The outstanding German philosopher Simmel Georg was born in Berlin in 1858. He died at the age of 60. Buried in Strasbourg.What theories were founded by Georg Simmel?He is considered the father of formal sociology, which describes the forms of interaction of models in society. The main ideas of Georg Simmel will be discussed in the article.
Forms of social interaction
Studying the processes of socialization, the German philosopher Simmel identified the following forms:
- The number of participants, which starting from three, can be characterized as a system of interaction, determining the nature of opportunities.
- The relationship between the participants arising in the course of the social process.
- The space of interaction, in which, describing the power of interaction, scientists introduced the concept of “social space” and such a derivative from it as “social distance”.
The philosopher considered the most important form of interaction to be struggle,in which each historical or cultural episode is considered in the totality of conflicts and compromises, which are the main tool for their resolution.
The philosophy of life according to Simmel
As the scientist believed, life is a cultural and historical stream of experiences. Comprehension of life consists in direct experience of the events of history, diversity of individual forms of the realization of life in culture, interpreting the past into the present. He considered the main law of the “philosophy of life” to determine the place of a person in a society that is not limited to its natural conditionality. The scientist considered money and socialized intellect to be the most important social forces. Life is a stream of experiences caused by the simultaneous effects of biology and culture. The systematization of forms of social existence created by the scientist is based on the degree of remoteness or approximation to the “flow of life”.
Classification of social life
To remove certain forms from the immediate manifestations of life processes, they can be divided into:
- Spontaneous, which are based on personal inclinations,on imitation of the behavior of the crowd, as a result of the exchange and others.
- Permanent and independent forms of state legal bodies.
- The so-called pure forms, representing mental speculation and occurring in real social life. An example of them may be the concepts of "science for science" or "old regime." In the first case, they characterize knowledge that does not work to meet the needs of humanity, and in the second, the political form is outdated and does not satisfy modern needs. Such forms are the most distancing from social life.
Georg Simmel: Theory of Conflict
Simmel Georg devoted such works as “Social differentiation”, “How society is possible” and others to the question of the development of conflicts in society. According to the doctrine, conflict in society is not only an inevitable, but also a universal way to stimulate changes in society for the better. The positive function of conflict is to create conditions for the progress of society.
Conflict systematization by level of tension
The severity of conflict development depends on the following factors:
- The degree of emotional intensity of the groups involved in the conflict.
- Grouped conflicting groups.
- How high is the level of tolerance involved in the conflict of the parties. Moreover, the stronger the agreement, the more acute the conflict develops.
- The degree of isolation and aggravation of conflicting groups belonging to a broad social structure.
- The transition of the conflict to the stage of end in itself.
- The extent to which a conflict goes beyond the individual goals and interests of its participants in their opinion.
In the event of an increase in the strength of expression of each of these factors, the severity of conflicts invariably becomes greater. Conflictology as a science allows you to find ways to resolve conflicts, preserving human life and health in the context of conflict development. According to Simmel, the existence of contradictions between the existing forms of society and individual individuals provokes the constant development of conflicts. The “socialist tragedy” called the scientist a threat to the unity of the person, emanating from the forms of socialization created by individuals that satisfy their needs. The nature of the conflict depends on the structure of the group, which, in turn, determines the course of the conflict.
Georg Simmel believed that society needs its development, the basis of which is the presence of a certain proportionality in the opposing manifestations. The presence of both types in society plays a positive role. The functionality of conflict situations is as follows:
- Maintaining the boundaries and adequacy of individuals.
- Creating an acceptable form of manifestation of hostility, antagonism and the way to resolve them.
- The impact of a specific historical subject on the system of social relations in order to change society and its development.
- Ensuring consistency in small groups.
- The positive outcome of conflicts in everyday life.
Opening up the differences between the parties during the conflict, as a result of this process there is a softening, and even relieving of tension. The inevitability of conflicts lies in the man himself, and the form of aggressiveness is limited by social norms. According to the great German philosopher, the conflict, playing the role of a safety valve, prevents the destruction of the group. Various forms of entertainment, religious prejudices can be called a means of distracting aggression and coping with conflict.Introduction of Georg Simmel in the theory of social interaction The assumption that there are three parties in a conflict has had a great influence on the theory of conflict.
Simmel Georg: the philosophy of money
In modern society, according to Georg Simmel, the development of money economy and the strengthening of the role of intelligence in society will increase the gap between form and content. The stronger the money economy develops, the greater the discrepancy is fixed, keeping the employee away from the result of his labor. Equal value of people in monetary relations is determined by the fact that not the individual has value, but money. At the same time, Georg Simmel believed that based on the similarity of the nature of prostitution and the nature of money, prostitution with its ease of transition to a new object is a symbol of human relations.
Social function of money
Money, being a universal means, performs the functions of means of circulation, payment, as well as savings and accumulation. Defining a measure of value, they act as world money. However, with their help it is impossible to make an assessment of properties belonging to the category of spirituality.The objects of the world that live outside of human consciousness according to their own laws and the products of human activity, the purpose of which is to create the basic basis of life, are assessed. In the process of exchanging goods and services resulting from human activity, money is a common dimension. The social function of the philosophy of money is their ability to be a measure of the value of physical or intellectual labor, focusing on market demand and the level of intelligence of modern society.