Problems with spatial mapping

The nation, or the nation-state, has been the privileged unit of modernity, but has never ruled out entirely other units of mapping cultures – from the “tribal” units of anthropology to the civilizational units of high cultures. These mappings establish boundaries that are thought to express something about what they contain – more often than not a political unit that derives its identity from particular social and cultural practices, the one not clearly distinguished from the other.

Notes on Georg Simmel

According to Georg Simmel (1858-1918), the inability to actually know another person creates the condition for social relations. Society has created categories, type, or generalizations to facilitate social interaction. For example, when a student talks to a teacher, the student relies on a generalized concept or image of teachers. But the role of “teacher” doesn’t tell us much about the person who plays that role.

What is a Society, Gabriel Tarde

Economic production exacts a specialisation of aptitudes. If this specialisation were fully developed in accordance with the logically inevitable although unexpressed wish of economists, we should have as many distinct human species as there are miners, farmers, weavers, lawyers, physicians, etc. But, fortunately, the assured and undeniable preponderance of juridical relations prevents any excessive differentiation of workers. In fact, it is continually diminishing such distinctions.

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