Simmel and the Formation of the Modern Individual

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Rodrigo MOTA ALBUQUERQUE DE OLIVEIRA, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil
Among the many accomplishments of the sociology of Georg Simmel, his studies on the relationship between individual and society are among the most valuable for contemporary studies. After a long tradition of ignoring the individual in favor of a more structural look, many sociologists today are concerned with the way in which individuals are portrayed, and the real way in which they live their lives and face the many challenges posed by modern societies. In addition to that, social structures themselves are being looked now as producing particular types of individuals, in different times and places, as shown in the Sociology of the Individual of Danilo Martuccelli and his individuation theory. Concerned with how societal changes such as the money economy and the metropolis have enlarged individual's social circles and shaped the modern individual, Simmel is among the forefathers of this kind of analysis. The modern free subject has looked at society as something strange, as a reality sui generis, which gave birth to the modern social sciences and sociology in particular. How does this process of individuation is analyzed in Simmel's work? Which new lights can the German sociologist give to our contemporary look on the individual? Those are among the questions I wish to address in this presentation.