George Simmel 's ' The Stranger '

992 Words4 Pages
George Simmel’s, ‘The Stranger’ and W.E.B. Du Bois’, ‘Souls of Black Folk’ pose very parallel arguments in understanding the role of a ‘stranger’ in society. In Simmel’s work, he examines the trajectory of the stranger through an abstract lens. He establishes a conceptual framework for the ‘stranger’ within society while Du Bois presents a more tangible illustration through the experiences of African Americans in the United States. Although each approach is discrete from the other, the theories behind both arguments are comparable. In ‘The Stranger,’ George Simmel first explains who the actual stranger is away from standard definition. Spatial relations within society consist of three types: the wanderer, the outsider and the stranger. The wanderer is one who enters society one day and leaves the next and the outsider has no direct relation to the society in which they enter. However, the stranger is unique from both the outsider and the wanderer because they actually join and remain in the society while developing a relationship to it and position within it. When referencing the stranger Simmel states, “…the man who comes today and stays tomorrow.” Although the stranger is now a part of society, he is never fully integrated. Despite being connected to this new space, the stranger remains alienated because of her differences. He participates within the larger society, but is still detached from it because the more dominant group marginalizes him. She plays a pivotal
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