An internationally famous philosopher and best-selling author during his lifetime, Georg Simmel has been marginalized in contemporary intellectual and cultural history. This neglect belies his pathbreaking role in revealing the theoretical significance of phenomena—including money, gender, urban life, and technology—that subsequently became established arenas of inquiry in cultural theory. It further ignores his philosophical impact on thinkers as diverse as Benjamin, Musil, and Heidegger. Integrating intellectual biography, philosophical interpretation, and a critical examination of the history of academic disciplines, this book restores Simmel to his rightful place as a major figure and challenges the frameworks through which his contributions to modern thought have been at once remembered and forgotten.
About the author
Elizabeth S. Goodstein is Professor of Liberal Arts at Emory University and the author of the award-winning Experience without Qualities: Boredom and Modernity (Stanford, 2005).
"The most important study of philosopher George Simmel to ever appear in English, this book does more than contribute to our understanding of a major modern thinker: it offers a fascinating analysis of knowledge formation at the turn of the twentieth century and is a crucial addition to our understanding of Western modernity itself."
—Michael Jennings, Princeton University
"Georg Simmel and the Disciplinary Imaginary is remarkable for its breadth of knowledge, its philosophical discernment, and its sophisticated approach to the complexity of both Simmel's work and our own contemporary existence."
—Patrice Petro, UC Santa Barbara.
"Anyone interested in understanding the character – and especially the fate – of Simmel's thought would do well to consult Elizabeth Goodstein's Georg Simmel and the Disciplinary Imaginary."
—Paul Reitter, Times Literary Supplement
"Goodstein has written a truly important book on Simmel and his place on the margins of the discipline of sociology, but beyond this I think she has also produced an equally important work on the need to think differently in a world defined by hyper-connectivity and what Simmel called infinite reciprocity."
—Mark Featherstone, Theory, Culture and Society