Georg Simmels' Concept of the Aura of the Self

Topics: Social class, Ethnic group, Sociology Pages: 4 (1421 words) Published: August 20, 2013
Critical Writing:
Critical Essay II
Erin Diaz
California University of Pennsylvania

Starting on p. 96 Anderson discusses people’s conversations on cell phones by relating it to Georg Simmels’ concept of the “aura of the self.” Explain what Anderson is talking about. What kinds of things are people doing or accomplishing when they talk on their cell phones in public in the Gallery Mall? Although I am not one hundred percent certain, I believe that Georg Simmel’s meaning of “aura of self” is in relation to one’s own self-awareness in the environment that surrounds that person. I believe that “aura of self” is just a term used to describe how we as people understand and see ourselves in terms of our surroundings or how other people in our surroundings views us and our interactions. With that being stated, I feel as though Elijah Anderson’s connection between the way in which people communicate on their cell phones with one another and Georg Simmel’s “aura of self” is an interesting yet perceivable connection made. In the third chapter of his book, The Cosmopolitan Canopy, Elijah Anderson discusses how people’s way of communicating via their cellular device, is somewhat connected to a term donned by Georg Simmel as “aura of self”. In his text Anderson states, “Those who speak on their cellphones have a certain awareness of being overheard.” He goes on to state that, “They imagine, see, and hear themselves in the mind’s eyes and ears of those nearby, as well as in the other person’s responses to what they say.” Anderson is expressing that when people speak on the phone, they are still aware of their surroundings and who might hear them or be eavesdropping and in having that knowledge, are better aware of what they say (Canopy 96). Anderson expresses how as people, when we are on our phones in a public setting, not only do we become aware and see ourselves as speaking to the person on the other side of the phone, but also to the public closely surrounding us....

References: McGraw-Hill, Beverly Daniel Tatum, (2008). The Meaning of Differnce. Experiencing Difference: Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, 2, 228.
McGraw-Hill, Jelita McLeod, (2008). The Meaning of Differnce. Experiencing Difference: Everybody’s Ethnic Enigma, 2, 245.
Norton & Company, W.W. (2012). The Cosmopolitan Canopy. The Gallery Mall: The Ghetto Downtown, 3, 96.
Norton & Company, W.W. (2012). The Cosmopolitan Canopy. Rittenhouse Square: The Practice of Civility, 4, 105-106.
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