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Tragedy of Culture

Updated on November 27, 2017

For this blog, I will be talking about the theorist Georg Simmel and the theory that was made by him is the tragedy of culture. The main concept of the tragedy of the culture that Georg Simmel was trying to explain that the making of products and goods within the society is being more concrete. According to Ritzer, George and Jeffrey Stepnisky (2013), the tragedy of culture means that objective culture grows while individual culture only grows marginally (53). For example, in the book Georg Simmel talks about fashion, clothing is used in many ways for people to wear and give a message. Clothing is used for people to make a statement of how they feel and they can dress the way they want to make themselves comfortable and, they want to be fit in a group of people who have similar interest as they do. But the issue that fashion has based off the tragedy of culture is that fashion is always changing so fast that it seems difficult for those to keep up with making their own original material. The designer’s job is to come up with new ideas and being able to help people express themselves.

Since there is always new fashion coming out that we as the people feel like we must buy so much clothing so we can keep up with the fashion trends and we do not want to feel left out. I feel like there is a social trend has an impact on us because people are always trying to change ideas and trying to keep up with the trends by thinking of new ways to improve things. Since social trends can be transcended because everyone is trying to change form one period to the next new look. Another example that I can think of would be the industry of music and dance since they are always trying to make new ideas of music and dance moves to represent how people feel. There is a video that I feel like it helps explain better how this theory of Georg Simmel influences us today and compare to how it affected others in the past.

I do feel that the video does go in-depth of the explanation of tragedy of culture can have some negative and positive views by the way it has such an effect on us today.

For the first link that I found talks about Georg Simmel background information and his theory of tragedy of culture. It also shows how it is affecting the culture of today and how it is a good thing and how it has its negativity. The link to the first website is I do feel like it does a good job on giving an introduction of Georg Simmel background information. For the second link that I could find talks about the theory of tragedy of culture with more information compared to the first website link. This link shows and explains how this theory of Georg Simmel why it matters to us today. The link to the website is

For the first article, by Levine, D. (1970) has stated the up and downs for the theory that Georg Simmel theory and how others have they own option if they do support or do not support the theory of tragedy of culture. Levine, D. (1970) has also stated how Georg Simmel is not looked up so much in the sociology world. I do feel like this article does explain the studies that Georg Simmel has done and explains how others viewed his work. For the next article that I have found shows that Georg Simmel did not work alone, he also worked with Weber. For this article Scaff, L. (1988) has stated that how both did have different views but the one thing that brought them together was the issues with modern culture. This article shows how it takes more than one person to show their work and can prove something based on how society culture can be affected. I do feel like this article helps understand the issues of modern culture in two different ways because this two-people had to work together, so they were able to show their work to the public.


Levine, D. (1970). GENERAL: The Conflict in Modern Culture and Other Essays. Georg Simmel . K. Peter Etzkorn, ed. American Anthropologist, 72(1), 109-111.

Ritzer, George and Jeffrey Stepnisky. 2013. Contemporary sociological theory and its classical roots: the basics. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Scaff, L. (1988). Weber, Simmel, and the Sociology of Culture. The Sociological Review, 36(1), 1-30.


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