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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Janet Stewart

Stewart, Janet C. (1999). 'Georg Simmel at the Lectern'. Body & Society 5(4): 1-16.

Author(s) from Durham


Recalling a public lecture that Georg Simmel gave in Berlin in 1910, Paul Fechter described him as `philosophizing with his whole body'. This article focuses on the role of the communicative body in the production, reproduction and reception of sociological ideas by investigating the dissemination of Simmel's sociological thought through the medium of the lecture. It utilizes contemporary reports of Simmel's lecturing style as observational data, and his own writings on the `Sociology of the Senses' and the `Aesthetic Importance of the Face' as a theoretical framework. This examination of Simmel's lectures, focusing on both physiognomic expression and perception, reveals that the lecture as a complex communicative event is structured on a dialectic of closeness and distance.