Simmel's versus Du Bois's Theories in the Social Sciences

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Throughout history, Georg Simmel and W.E.B. Du Bois have had a substantial influence on imperative theories and concepts developed in the area of social sciences. Two of the most significant and distinguished concepts fostered by both of these theorists are the concepts of “double consciousness” and “the stranger”. In this essay, I will be analyzing each of these works to draw upon differences and similarities concerning the two. The resemblances I will be expanding on are the usage of the paradoxical figure, which both theorists discuss in their theories, and the coexisting sensation of division from conventional society. The contrast between the two theories in which I will be exploring is the perception that conventional society…show more content…
He is fixed within a certain spatial circle- or within a group whose boundaries are analogous to spatial boundaries- but his position within it is fundamentally affected by the fact that he does not belong in it initially and that he brings qualities into it that are not, and cannot be, indigenous to it” (Low, 2008). Simmel defines the stranger as one that is both close and far; that is physically close, but socially distant. He disassociates his concept from the understanding of the stranger as one who comes and goes. Rather, the stranger he speaks of in this case is one who comes and stays, but has not been socialized under the same conditions as mainstream society. Despite this, the stranger is not a person who is withdrawn from society and is unaware of social norms. Rather, someone is inorganically appended to the society, but still an organic member of the group (ibid, 149). The stranger is seen as and valuable member of society because it is, in no way connected to any one individual. The stranger holds a certain objectivity, and can be confessed to without the threat of judgment on the confessor (ibid, 145). Simmel believes that the role of stranger is historically related to certain forms of economic interaction, particularly trade. Because the role of the stranger is never the owner of land, it takes on the specific character of

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