Georg Simmel is one of the founding figures of sociology whose work is comparable in importance to that of Marx, Weber and Durkheim, as well as being a major philosopher. His writings on money, metropolises, and modernity have inspired generations of thinkers for over a century.
In this book leading expert Thomas Kemple clearly and accessibly introduces Simmel’s sociological and philosophical work, ranging from his masterpiece The Philosophy of Money to his famous essays ‘The Metropolis and Mental Life’ and ‘Fashion’ and beyond. He situates his writings within his social and intellectual circles, and analyses them in light of current debates surrounding urban sociology and social networks, phenomenology and metaphysics, cultural criticism and the study of everyday life. He brings Simmel’s most famous works into conversation with others that have received less attention, such as his writings on nature, art, religion, sexuality.
Through diagrams, everyday examples, and expositions of the work of his predecessors and contemporaries, this highly readable book captures the innovative spirit of Simmel’s unique method of thinking about cultural objects and his original style of writing about social life. It will be the leading guide to Simmel’s thought for generations of students and scholars.