Between the late 1800s and the early 1900s, sociologists in Germany focused their interest on the beginning of modern times, the increase in social diversification, the affirmation of an individualistic orientation and, in particular, of metropolises and the appearance of new figures in urban spaces. Tönnies and Simmel concentrated their studies on the social figure of the foreigner as a metaphor of modernity and, though through different cognitive approaches, defined a strongly converging social representation. In both authors we find that the foreigner’s ambivalence is based on traits such as lack of fixation in social space, mobility, freedom, individualistic orientation and objectivity. Their considerations differ however in regards to the perception of this figure as being an isolated individual or referred to as a «type»: in Tönnies we see the first orientation, whereas Simmel believes that the foreigner is perceived through reference to a social «type», thus with a more structured representation. In such a way Simmel anticipates a theme that will later be further developed by sociology and social psychology.