Georg Simmel’s The Philosophy of Money and the Modernization Paradigm
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Gdansk University of Technology
Andrzej Karalus
Publication date: 2018-12-19
Polish Sociological Review 2018;204(4):429–445
This article examines Georg Simmel’s contribution to the understanding of how money functions inmodern society, mainly scrutinizing his most important work on that topic,The Philosophy of Money, in the con-text of modernization theories. Modernization theories, as developed (most notably) by Marx, Weber, Durkheim,and Elias, attempted to explain the transition from feudalism and a closed agrarian economy to capitalism andindustrial society, as well as to understand and predict the avenues, consequences, and dangers of that transfor-mation. The author argues that Simmel’s work and his theoretical framework fit neatly into the “modernizationparadigm” template and, in fact, constitute one of its finest articulations. The conclusion points at those aspectsof Simmel’s sociology that transcend the boundaries of modernization discourse and make him a forerunner ofthe postmodernist structure of “feeling.”