Theory, Culture and Society 29 (7-8):53-77 (2012)

This article explores the neglected idea of fate in Simmel’s thought. It examines the specific definition of fate present in Simmel’s writings and the relation of this definition to tragic drama. The argument operates under the assumption that tragic drama represents the ‘natural habitat’ for the exploration and expression of the fate problematic. In this context, it is argued that Simmel’s rediscovery of the relevance of fate emphasizes the modernity of tragedy. The article explores Simmel’s translation of fate from drama and philosophy into sociology, but into a sociology replete with a distinctly existential and metaphysical consciousness. It is argued that Simmel’s application of fate to modern social life constitutes a sociologization of fate, but that rather than involving a reduction of fate to society, this sociologization actually involves a form of re-enchantment of the social through life. In relation to this sociologization and building on the argument of Peter Baehr, it is argued that the concept of fate is uniquely endowed with a capacity to encourage a sense of pathos conducive to the development of a reflexive and critical sense of collective social responsibility and of shared future. In this regard, the article examines Simmel’s engagement with Naturalist tragedy and the transition from ancient to modern drama. Throughout, it is argued that the experience of modernity, where ‘all that is solid melts into air’, is conducive to a rediscovery of the relevance of fate and tragedy
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DOI 10.1177/0263276411435547
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References found in this work BETA

Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity.Ulrich Beck, Mark Ritter & Jennifer Brown - 1993 - Environmental Values 2 (4):367-368.
Conflict and The Web of Group-Affiliations.H. S. Harris - 1955 - Philosophy of Science 22 (4):327-327.
Introduction — Allosociality.Thomas M. Kemple - 2007 - Theory, Culture and Society 24 (7-8):1-19.

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