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Georg Simmel (1858 – 1918)
Related: fashion - Germany - sociology
Georg Simmel (March 1, 1858 – September 28, 1918) was one of the first generation of German sociologists. Simmel was born in Berlin and lived there most of his life. After the early death of his father a guardian was appointed for him. His studies pioneered the concept of social structure. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Simmel [Oct 2005]
Simmel's work is often quoted (Jukka Gronow) in a context of fashion.
"Fashion", International Quarterly, 10(1), October 1904, pp. 130-155, reprinted in American Journal of Sociology, 62(6), May 1957, pp. 541-558.
In the 20th century, much has been written on fashion, yet systematic and general theories of fashion are few. The best remains one of the earliest: Fashion by Georg Simmel. It is probably the only true attempt at a general theory of fashion and although this paper is over a century old (it was published in 1895), it is not yet pass&ecate;.
According to Simmel, fashion (non-cumulative change in cultural features) derives from a basic tension specific to the social condition of the human being. On one hand, each of us has tendency to imitate others. On the other, we also have a tendency to distinguish ourselves from others. Undoubtedly, some of us tend more towards imitation (and thus to conformism) while others tend to distinction (and thus to eccentricity and dissidence), but fashion's flux needs both of these contradictory tendencies in order to work. In short, Simmel argues that we need to postulate two radical drives which he attributes to human nature. Homo Sapiens are driven by two instincts (among others) - one pushing them to imitate their neighbours, the other pushing them to distinguish themselves. From one side, an individual tends to imitate others they admire. From the other, they tend to distinguish themselves from people towards whom they are indifferent or who they despise. --Sergio Benvenuto (2000) via http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/3/2/forum/2.html#fn1 [Oct 2005]
Fashion (1904) - Georg Simmel
Fashion (1904) - Georg Simmel [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Simmel on Culture : Selected Writings (1998) - David Patrick Frisby (Editor), Mike Featherstone (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
This volume brings together for the first time a wide range of essays on culture and related themes by the sociologist and philosopher Georg Simmel (1858-1918). Simmel is now recognized as one of the leading social theorists active in Europe in the early part of the 20th century. This unique collection enables the reader to engage with the full range of SimmelÆs dazzling contributions to the study of culture. The collection opens with SimmelÆs most basic essays on defining culture, its changes, and its crisis. These are followed by more specific explorations of the culture of face-to-face interactions, spatial and urban culture, leisure culture, the culture of money and commodities, the culture of belief, and the politics of female culture. The collection includes a large number of previously untranslated essays together with others that are not readily available. The result is an unparalleled introduction to Simmel on culture. The book not only provides a missing piece in the history of cultural study, it also reveals a new way of studying culture. It will be essential reading for students of cultural studies and sociology.
See also: Georg Simmel - fashion - 1904
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