Hawthorne, Simmel, and Skepticism

“A large number of passengers were already at the station-house awaiting the departure of the cars. By the aspect and demeanor of these persons it was easy to judge that the feelings of the community had undergone a very favorable change in reference to the celestial pilgrimage. It would have done Bunyan’s heart good to see it.”

The Social Contract, Consensus, and Foucault

Another consequence of the assumption that individuals materialize society through their behavior lies in the hypothesis that structural problems of society (e.g., excessive differentiation without sufficient integration, or contradictions in the structures and behavioral expectations of society) manifest themselves in deviant individual behavior and can be empirically ascertained in such behavior.

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.