© 2019

Georg Simmel’s Concluding Thoughts

Worlds, Lives, Fragments


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. The Pursuit of Inspiration

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 23-23
    2. David Beer
      Pages 25-52
    3. David Beer
      Pages 53-75
  3. The View of Life

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 77-77
    2. David Beer
      Pages 79-98
    3. David Beer
      Pages 99-123
    4. David Beer
      Pages 125-144
    5. David Beer
      Pages 145-170
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 195-197

About this book


‘This timely book offers a rich critical reflection on Simmel’s lesser known later works. It is a hugely enjoyable read: a lively yet serious engagement that reinvigorates those texts, and compels the reader to revisit Simmel’s oeuvre with new questions in mind. David Beer offers us a powerful evocation of the detail, depth and range of Simmel’s imaginative thinking and how it might inspire us in the present.’
Martin Hand, Queen's University, Canada

This book draws upon the work of Georg Simmel to explore the limits, tensions and dynamism of social life through a close analysis of the works produced in the final years of his life and reveals what they might still offer some 100 years later. Focusing on the relationships between worlds, lives and fragments in these works, David Beer opens up a conceptual toolkit for understanding life as both an individual experience and as a deeply social phenomenon. Taking the reader through artistic and musical forms of inspiration, to the problems of culture and on to the conceptual understanding of lived experience, the book illuminates the richness of Simmel’s ideas and thinking. This sophisticated dialogue with Simmel’s lesser known later works will provide fresh insights for students and scholars of cultural and social theory and pave the way for a reinvigorated engagement with his ideas.

David Beer is Professor of Sociology at the University of York, UK. His previous books include The Data Gaze (2018), Metric Power (2016) and Punk Sociology(2014).


Georg Simmel David Frisby sociological imagination biography the social world social media The View of Life social life individuation metaphysics flâneur sociological bricoleur sociological impressionism Sociation transcendence the turn towards ideas

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of YorkYorkUK

About the authors

David Beer is Professor of Sociology at the University of York, UK. His previous books include The Data Gaze (2018), Metric Power (2016) and Punk Sociology (2014).

Bibliographic information


“Simmel’s interests were wide-ranging. He could find inspiration in all sorts of subjects and topics, and Beer shows in beautiful detail how extraordinarily original Simmel’s world and work actually were. He brings to light the connections between thinking and writing, between form and content, between systematic arguments and passing remarks.” (Daniel Chernilo, Issue (1-4), European Journal of Social Theory, 2020)