Attraction, Repulsion, Adoption: The French Simmel Reception

The starting point of the essay is the assumption that the relationship to Simmel is at stake in the intellectual and institutional struggles in the French sociological field. There is a specific dividing line that separates the French school of sociology (Durkheim-school, Bourdieu etc.) on the one side and divergent approaches focusing on individual acting on the other side. Th is gap explains, among others, the existence of two layers of the French Simmel reception: the manifest one consists in the public discussion and interpretation of Simmel’s works and thoughts, while the latent one refers to hidden influences and silent lending. The article highlights three points in the history of the French Simmel reception: first it will present Durkheim’s relationship to Simmel, then it will give a quick overview of contemporary trends in the Simmel reception. As it is well known, the initial rapprochement rapidly led to a break-up between Durkheim and Simmel, while in some fields of the contemporary French social science Simmel received an enthusiastic reception. The third part of the essay tries to outline Simmel’s influence  in Pierre Bourdieu’s work, arguing that maybe the two traditions are not as incompatible as many people think.

Megjelent: Replika 112, 77–96.