chapter  2
At the turn of the centuries: Georg Simmel then and now BIRGITTA NEDELMANN
Georg Simmel then and now
ByBirgitta Nedelmann
Pages 17

Contemporary sociological research on problems of inclusion/exclusion can profit in many different ways from going back to the sociological classics, especially to Georg Simmel. The establishment of sociology as an autonomous academic discipline coincided with a historical phase in which a hot social and political battle was going on regarding the inclusion of the working class into the emerging democratic system, the extension of welfare provisions to deprived social groups, and about the participation of women in social institutions. Many of the sociological classics engaged themselves personally in this battle. Georg Simmel participated in different social movements and fought for workers’ and women’s rights, for the introduction of poverty relief, of penal reform, and of public hygiene (Köhnke 1996, Levine 1997: 187-9). Being labelled and treated as a Jew, he was specifically sensitive to the marginal role of strangers in the German Kaiserreich (Köhnke 1996: 122-49).