Marx and Simmel: 1818 – 1918 – 2018

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC35 Conceptual and Terminological Analysis (host committee)

Language: English

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth and the 100th anniversary of Georg Simmel’s death. This occasion presents a timely opportunity to reflect on the relation between their works. The relevance of Marx’s writings to Simmel’s oeuvre is often alluded to, but the precise extent of this influence still calls for further exploration. The continuities are most striking at the level of the diagnosis of modern society: Marx’s analyses of alienation, commodity fetishism, and capital’s quantifying and accelerating tendencies are not only critically discussed but also expanded in Simmel’s investigations of the paradoxes of modern culture, to the point that the latter’s work could appear to a contemporary reader as a psychological counterpart to Capital. These diagnoses, however, were formulated on very different philosophical and political foundations: whereas Marx relied on the tradition of Left Hegelianism, English political economy, and French socialism, Simmel dialogued mainly with neo-Kantianism, neoclassical economics, and vitalism. To what extent, then, do Simmel’s investigations on money supplement, widen or contradict Marx’s analysis of capital? Do their different philosophical and methodological starting points prevent a productive dialogue between their arguments? How to reconcile Marxian analyses of class and exploitation with Simmel’s focus on pathologies affecting the totality of modern individuals? In what way can the confrontation between their perspectives become relevant for current sociology and social philosophy? This panel welcomes contributions that reflect on these or other aspects of the relation between Marx and Simmel.
Session Organizer:
Mariana TEIXEIRA, Cebrap (Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning), Brazil
Craig BROWNE, University of Sydney, Australia
Oral Presentations
‘Simmelian Marxism’: A Radical Project of a Relational Modern‘Life’?
Spyros GANGAS, DEREE-The American College of Greece, Greece
Capital, Desire, and Neurasthenia
Arthur BUENO, Universität Erfurt, Germany
Infinite Ends and the Tempo of Life: The Marx/Simmel Convergence
Thomas KEMPLE, University of British Columbia, Canada
Objectification, Alienation, and Reification: Marx Meets Simmel in History and Class Consciousness
Mariana TEIXEIRA, Cebrap (Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning), Brazil
Aspects Concerning the Criticality of Karl Marx's and Georg Simmel's Approaches
Stefan FORNOS KLEIN, Universidade de Brasilia (UnB), Brazil