SIMMEL STUDIES

Special Issue 2021- Call for papers

Georg Simmel and Love

The German philosopher and sociologist, Georg Simmel is considered one of the founders of sociology and culture studies. Thanks to the variety and vastness of his work, his thought has influenced and shaped the work of many social scientists.

Throughout his career, Simmel wrote regularly on issues concerning women, sexuality and love. An essay “On the psychology of Women” appeared in 1890, followed by brief newspaper pieces and popular journal articles on the women’s movement in 1892, 1894, and 1896. A newspaper piece on “The Role of Money in the Relations between the Sexes” appeared in 1898. Two years later, these ideas were incorporated in “The Philosophy of Money” in which he included a discussion on the monetary valuation of women, marriage and prostitution. A preliminary sketch of his text “Female culture” appeared in 1902. This was followed by some remarks on the psychology of women, notes on the ideal of a philosophy of love, and a preliminary version of the essay “Flirtation”. Whilst some ideas presented within these texts open intellectual doors others are highly questionable.  

The “Fragment on Love”is a paper left unfinished by Georg Simmel and published posthumously under this title. According to Simmel, love is one of the forms that life takes that can turn into a higher goal than life itself.  The link between life and love allows Simmel to approach and combine his Lebensphilosophie with social reality. Love allows two individuals to turn their differences into a unity. Love partially dissolves individual life in favor of something superior, a super-individual level. Therefore, Simmel believes that love creates a dynamic process transforming both partners. In its history, love has gone through different forms (expressions), reaching from Platonic love over the universal love towards humanity, and Christian love, to modern love; in particular, the character of modern love appears to be more dynamic.

Today, love has taken on a different role. Its romantic form has become intertwined with capitalist consumption and enriched by visual imagery from films and series. They shape expectations for Valentine’s Day and anniversaries, and create an artificially sweetened and stilted image of love. While the media continues to project a false version of romance, in our everyday relationships we have become increasingly skeptical when it comes to love. Love seems to appear as a sociological problem, and maintaining close relationships in a modern, individualized society has become even more complicated. There seems to be a gradual decline of traditional relationships between men and women. New forms of relationships and new trends in love that are much more flexible and self-centred have emerged in recent years with the advent of new technologies, social struggles and access to new possibilities of love.

This call for papers invites contributions that reconstruct and interpret Simmel’s vision of love and – relying on his contribution- reflect and interrogate the following contemporary topics: love relationships and modernity, the reconfiguration of male/female roles, the role of love in today’s society, a Simmelian perspective on love in times of pandemics, love and female emancipation, sex and Eros, flirtation and love in today’s cultural frames outside/beyond western society.

Proposals must be written in English. Abstracts of 400 words, for 5,000-8,000 word submissions, should be sent to the following email addresses: paulina.sabugal[at] eui.eu, sseebach [at] uao.es

Closing date for abstracts submission: Apr 30th 2021

Notification to the authors: until May 31th 2021

Articles submission deadline: Jul 10th 2021

Articles assessment: Aug 10th 2021

Final version submission: until Sep 10th 2021

Publication: Dec 2021 For more information on Simmel Studies: https://www.erudit.org/en/journals/sst

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