Patrick Buxbaum blog #2 29 feb, 2012
How does, according to Simmel, the position of stranger differ from non-stranger and what does this position allow for stranger and why?
To wander or to be detached from permanency of any one and everyone given point in space is essentially what makes one a stranger. The stranger holds with in him the choice and discipline to arrive and vanish at any time, choosing his every move whether it be for business or pleasure and to do so with no emotional baggage keeps him labeled as a stranger rather than one of the village. This can also be said about his lacking the ability to be one with the people as a whole although the stranger with out a doubt plays an intrical role within the group.
The stranger is not seen as a negative member of the functioning society but as a trader, and a trader always enters the group as a stranger. He differs from people who are born in a village/town and live there whole lifes in that town because he did not originate from that town, he more than likely came as a trader, thats how history has it at least. He differs from the locals not only because they view him differently but also because he views himself differently. Often times a stranger or traveler can never shake his want to travel, or distant himself from the society he lives in even if he has settled in it and seems to be staying.
The role of the stranger allows that individual to view things from his own perspective, not letting emotions, family and community connections fog the view in which he sees his surroundings. His ability to remain objective to all situations he encounters prevents him from projecting prejudices onto others. This ability learned through many life lessons allows the stranger to treat even his close relationships through a set of binoculaurs.
The stranger is always near and always far. In modern times a stranger is at it was 100 years ago he may not come to as a trader although he very may well. A stranger is a human walking across the street who you can relate to through his shoes. A man that borrows you a quarter. The lack of emotional connection allows the stranger to view in most cases without prejudices that often come when one is of the same village. To know one is to know there weaknesses and faults and that often leads to judgement and prejudice.