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The Social Thought of Georg Simmel

The Social Thought of Georg Simmel

February 2014 | 128 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

An accessible introduction to ideas and concerns of one of sociology’s early founders.


This new volume of the SAGE Social Thinkers series provides a concise introduction to the work, life, and influences of Georg Simmel. It closely examines the writings and ideas of Simmel that introduced a new way of looking at culture and society and helped establish sociology’s place among the academic fields. The book focuses on the key intellectual concerns of Simmel, including the process of individualization, religion, private and family life, cities, and modernization. It is ideal for use as a self-contained volume or in conjunction with other sociological theory textbooks.

Chapter 1: Georg Simmel - The Man and His Work
Chapter 2: Sociology as One of the Humanities
Chapter 3: Individualization as Ethical Concern
Chapter 4: What Religions Have in Common
Chapter 5: Evolution: The Family and Private Life
Chapter 6: Equality versus Liberty: Competition and Money
Chapter 7: Sociology Saves Lives: Vitalism and the Poor Person
Chapter 8: Further Readings: Living in Big Cities

"Horst Helle presents a fuller picture of Simmel's scholarship than is generally known to sociologists. In addition, he includes aspects of Simmel's sociology that is often neglected because they have not appeared in English. This is a worthwhile read not only for those being introduced to Simmel but also for those who have some familiarity with him."

Anthony J. Blasi
Visiting Professor, University of Texas at San Antonio

Excellent text to capture the thought of Simmel. Students will engage well and will find this text and its interpretations very useful in understanding the great sociological thought of Simmel.

Mr Lewis Simpson
Department of Health & Social Studies, Grimsby Institute of HE & FE
August 27, 2014
Key features


  • In addition to English translations of Simmel’s works, the author relies on his own insights into the meaning of the original German texts.
  • Chapter-ending Questions for Thought encourage readers to reflect on and apply each chapter’s ideas to today’s social world.
  • A Further Readings chapter facilitates additional study and research.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

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