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Échange, don, réciprocité

l'acte de 'donner' chez Simmel et Durkheim

Luca Guizzardi and Luca Martignani

This focuses on a key topic for comparison of two masters of sociological thought, Georg Simmel and Émile Durkheim: the question of giving in the context of social exchange. Durkheim deals with the issue in introducing the concept of organic solidarity, based on the division of social labour and implying the interdependence of individuals. This representation of solidarity links with the interest in credit and debt relations in Simmel's philosophy of money and with a perspective in which reciprocity is conceived as one of the main sociological functions involved in the representation of social bonds. After a comparison of Durkheim and Simmel's theories of reciprocity, a specific case discussed is the mortgage, conceived as a paradigm of the shape assumed by the immaterial reality of reciprocity in institutional and everyday life.

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Nigel Dodd

stuffed full of arguments about the shattering consequences for modern Western society, especially during the nineteenth century when what Simmel’s great editor, David Frisby, once called the ‘mature money economy’ grew in intensity and spread into areas

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Christianity and the City

Simmel, Space, and Urban Subjectivities

Anna Strhan

This article examines the growing scholarly interest in urban religion, situating the topic in relation to the contemporary analytical significance of cities as sites where processes of social change, such as globalization, transnationalism, and the influence of new media technologies, materialize in interrelated ways. I argue that Georg Simmel's writing on cities offers resources to draw out further the significance of “the urban” in this emerging field. I bring together Simmel's urban analysis with his approach to religion, focusing on Christianities and individuals' relations with sacred figures, and suggest this perspective opens up how forms of religious practice respond to experiences of cultural fragmentation in complex urban environments. Drawing on his analysis of individuals' engagement with the coherence of God, I explore conservative evangelicals' systems of religious intersubjectivity to show how attention to the social effects of relations with sacred figures can deepen understanding of the formation of urban religious subjectivities.

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Michael Whyte

In this article I explore links between fieldwork experience and different conceptions of time as they are encountered in what I term 'episodic fieldwork'. I use 'episodic' to emphasize the importance of absence and return for fieldwork relationships and the ethnographies that are founded on these relationships. I draw on Simmel's concept of sociability to explore the significance of the recurring updates that are so much a part of long-term and thus episodic fieldwork. Updating suggests participation, positionality, and transformation-as well as play and familiarity. The presumption of familiarity, which is at the heart of sociability, becomes a tool for exploring time and new social experiences and the ways in which chronology is interwoven with shifting social positions.

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Barbara Thériault

Cultural diversity has been one the most pressing challenges to present-

day Germany. Issues of diversity and, its corollary from the perspective

of the recipient society, the practice of toleration—as opposed

to the personal attitude of tolerance—are being paradigmatically

debated around the fate of Muslims. Although not new, Muslims

presence and public claims, such as the claim for legal recognition of

Islam and religious instruction in public schools, have undoubtedly

raised the issue of diversity anew. Some recent events, such as the

“Ludin case,” a German teacher of Afghan descent who fought the

federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg to wear a hijab in class, is a telling

example (see Beverly Weber’s article examining the case in this issue

of German Politics and Society). Similarly to the debate raging over

headscarves in France, this case seems to point to the “Muslim” as an

important figure of the stranger, understood as symbol of group

mediation, of the group’s inner and outer boundaries.1 But, unlike the

headscarf affair in France, where pupils are at the center stage of the

debate, the case of teachers in Germany bears witness to a different

type of stranger as outlined by Simmel in terms of spatial and symbolic

position within the group. Indeed, he/she is a stranger “from

within.”2 As such, Muslim growing and enduring presence in Germany

showcases practical problems encountered with the “management

of diversity” within some state institutions. Looking at the assessment of these dilemmas not only points to conflicting normative

models of social organization, but also puts in the hot seat those

who, to paraphrase Dubet, carry out le travail sur autrui (“work on the

other”), professionals activities, which aim at explicitly transforming

the “stranger.”

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Reflections on Cosmopolitan

Politesse with Perspectives from Papua New Guinea

Eric Hirsch

In this issue’s forum, Nigel Rapport takes his lead from Georg Simmel, who asked how society is possible. Simmel notes that every individual has a sense of being connected to others, and it is through these connections that the individual has

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Searching for the Young Soul Rebels

On Writing, New Wave, and the Ends of Cultural Studies

Richard Langston

-century Lebensphilosophie in order to recuperate what Marxism had extinguished in the course of the previous decade. In Defense of the Soul after the New Left It was the cultural philosopher and cofounder of German sociology Georg Simmel who was the first to

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“Nowhere near Somalia, Mom”

On containerizing maritime piracy and being good men

Adrienne Mannov

him at sea. On dishonesty, Georg Simmel writes, the “the direct positive … significance of untruthfulness” lies in the ability misinformation has to console, sustain [and] to reproduce family ties and roles (1906: 447). According to Simmel, no

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Introduction

Overcoming the Quantity-Quality Divide in Economic Anthropology

Sandy Ross, Mario Schmidt, and Ville Koskinen

sharing abstracting properties that spring ‘naturally’ from money’s inherently quantitative nature ( Bohannan 1959 ; Dalton 1965 ; Simmel [1907] 2011 ). If a form of money did not share this abstracting potential, it could be classified as special

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Clarifying Liquidity

Keynes and Marx, Merchants, and Poets

Rolf Hugoson

source of enlightening perspectives, if not a necessary component in systematic explanations. An effort to reach further occurred when the sociologist George Simmel published his Philosophy of Money in 1900. 47 Simmel argued the increasing availability