Group and Individualization

The paper aims to reconstruct one of the earliest theories of modernity through the analysis of Simmel’s early work „On Social Differentiation”. Simmel’s theory, however, can be seen as a reaction to Gemeinschaft  und Gesellschaft by Ferdinand Tönnies. The analysis also shows that the „dialectic of enlightment” outlined by Adorno and Horkheimer was foreshadowed by Simmel. However, Simmel’s theoretical timeliness is also due to the fact that 1) his work draws attention to the tension between the theory of modernity and the description of social structure and social inequalities; 2) he was first to attribute central theoretical importance to the “stranger”.

Released: Replika 112, 29–36.