Simmel in America

The Stranger and the Marginal Man

The article discusses the American reception of Simmel’s concept of the stranger. The paper gives a short overview of the context of early American sociology, the significance and channels of the import of European sociological theories. The article points out that both personal relationships and the adaptability of Simmel’s concepts played an important role in his American reception. This is especially true for the concept of the stranger, developed in his 1908 treatise on sociology, although his American influence had begun earlier. Th e paper focuses on Chicago as, due to personal relationships and thematic compatibility, this was the central location of Simmel’s American import. The writing discusses the role played personally by Albion Small and Robert E. Park, the leading figures of Chicago sociology, and then moves on to show how Park reinterpreted the stranger in his marginal man concept, and how Schütz adapted it to his phenomenological sociology.

Released: Replika 112, 63–76.