Sociology: Inquiries into the Construction of Social Forms

Author: Georg Simmel
Contributor: Horst J. Helle
Georg Simmel's highly original take on the newly revived field of sociology succeeded in making the field far more sophisticated than it had been beforehand. He took insights from dialectical thought and Kantian epistemology to develop a "form sociology" method that remains implicit in the field a century later. Forms include such patterns of interaction as inequality, secrecy, membership in multiple groups, organization size, and coalition formation. While today texts and professional societies are organized around "contents" rather than "forms," a fresh reading of Simmel's chapters on forms suggests original avenues of inquiry into each of the contents--family, business, religion, politics, labor relations, leisure.

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Georg Simmel (1858-1918) earned the doctorate in Berlin (1881) and was widely recognized as an innovative contributor to philosophy, aesthetics, and social science, but as an academic outsider. He had a formative impact on sociology through his writings and students.

Anthony J. Blasi (Ph.D. Notre Dame), Professor of Sociology at Tennessee State University, has authored many works in the history of sociology, sociological theory, and the sociology of religion. His most recently edited volume is American Sociology of Religion: Histories.

Anton K. Jacobs (Ph.D. Notre Dame), Lecturer in philosophy at the Kansas City Art Institute, has published articles in the sociology of religion, the political imagination in literature, and urban history; currently writing a text in the philosophy of religion.

Mathew Kanjirathinkal (Ph.D. Notre Dame), Professor of Sociology at Park University, has published extensively in sociology, cultural studies, feminism, and postmodern politics; currently writing a book on postcolonial theory.
Foreword by Georg Simmel
A Note on the Translation
Introduction to the Translation, by Horst J. Helle

I. The Problem of Sociology
Excursus on the Problem: How is Society Possible?

II. The Quantitative Conditioning of the Group

III. Superior and Subordinate
Excursus on Being Overruled

IV. Conflict

V. The Secret and the Secret Society
Excursus on Adornment
Excursus on Written Communication

VI. The Intersection of Social Circles

VII. The Poor
Excursus on the Negativity of Collective Action

VIII. The Self-Preservation of the Group
Excursus on the Hereditary Office
Excursus on Social Psychology
Excursus on Loyalty and Gratitude

IX. Space and the Spatial Ordering of Society
Excursus on Social Boundaries
Excursus on the Sociology of the Senses
Excursus on the Stranger

X. The Expansion of the Group and the Development of Individuality
Excursus on the Noble
Excursus on the Analogy between Individual Psychological and Sociological Relationships
All those interested in sociological theory, the history of social thought, the intellectual world of early 20th century Germany, and the fascinating person of Georg Simmel himself.