Inclusion and Exclusion

On Some Aspects of Georg Simmel’s Theory of the Individual

Georg Simmel provided two models on the relation between modernity and individuality which are relevant to this day. Th e first interprets the emergence of individuality as caused by the inclusion in various social circles, while the second as the result of the exclusion from alienated social relations. Simmel conceived the model of inclusion at the turn of the 1880s and 1890s, whereas the model of exclusion firstly appeared in the Philosophy of Money from 1900. The logic of both models is present in some contemporary theories of individuality. The theory of the plural actor by Bernard Lahire argues in a similar vein as Simmel’s model of inclusion, and Niklas Luhmann provides a similar interpretation of modern society’s semantics of individuality as Simmel in his model of exclusion. This demonstrates the vitality of Simmel’s thought. Finally, the paper investigates whether these two models are actually two distinct models or whether they can be considered as two complementing aspects of a single model.

Released: Replika 112, 15–28.