One of the first major studies of sociology, this book explores the clash between small-scale neighborhood-based communities and the large-scale competitive. More recently, Ferdinand Tönnies examines the clash between small-scale neighborhood-based communities and the large-scale competitive market society. Community and Society has 56 ratings and 3 reviews. Jonathan said: After years of getting him secondhand, I thought it was high time to read Tönnies dire.
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Full facsimile of the original edition, not reproduced with Optical Recognition software. A classic in its field, Community and Society was not the first book to explore the composition of, and relationship between, these two types of social groups. Confucius spoke of fundamental social relationships between friends, family members, and rulers and subjects. Similarly, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and other great thinkers produced clear-cut classical outlines of the two groups.
In doing so, he considered all aspects of life — political, economic, legal, and family; art, tlnnies, and culture; construction of “selfhood” and “personhood”; and modes of cognition, language, and understanding.
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Community and Society: Ferdinand TÃ¶nnies, C. P. Loomis: : Books
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Publish in kindle format. One person found this helpful. Tonnies wasn’t the first to recognize the differences between a community Gemeinschaft and a society Gesellschaft. Durkheim termed it mechanical and organic solidarity, Cooley primary and secondary groups, and Spencer militant and industrial but none defined it with the precision as Tonnies. To describe it today in layman’s terms one must reference differences between rural and urban America, between religion and secular organizations, and between ever-changing popular opinion and relatively unchanging mores and folklore.
Gemeinschaft is translated from German to English as “community”. Tonnies’s community is one that encompasses a family and its surroundings to include one’s natural will controlled by the folklores and mores of the village one lives.
The mores and folklore are controlled by the church through religion. These mores and folklore very rarely change resulting in a continued safe manor of behavior tonniees its residents. What is good for the community is placed above that of the individual.
This tonniew is achieved through the church by use of public ridicule and embarrassment. The individual is limited in one’s freedom for to exercise certain forbidden freedoms will result in the entire community knowing.
The community is small and nothing goes unseen. This restricts freedoms of the individual to blossom into what one may wish to be or who one is biologically.
The fringes of politics, religion, and sexuality are repressed so that the community puts forth one face to the outside world, a face of harmony and content. Homosexuality, Liberalism, Scientology could be some of the fringe elements of a Gemeinschaft society that would be repressed for the greater good of the community.
The advantages to this type of community would be less crime, a close knit community watches out for each other. A safety net in times of tragedy such as a house fire, death of the bread winner, etc. They have sympathy for one and another. Gesellschaft is translated into English meaning “society”. It is in the form of a city controlled by legislation via public opinion.
Public opinion continually changes thus changing legislation allowing for changes tonniees behavior by its citizens. This freedom to change allows for subcultures to originate and thrive over a period of time.
What was forbidden in Gemeinschaft is at first tolerated in Gesellschaft, then accepted and finally completely normal according to public opinion and legislation.
This will explain the greater diversity in larger cities to include homosexuality and other deviant forms of behavior. Tonnies feels that the community of Gemeinschaft is followed by Gesellschaft through a transition that is naturally occurring and absolute.
This evolution is one that is good and bad. It is good in that progress occurs that allows for a higher quality of life but at the expense of the working class. Tonnies echoes Marx in that he feels that class consciousness will lead to class struggle. He states that in the city the common people decay in loneliness of the ocean eociety people surrounding them.
The city life has no natural will to belong or sympathy for each other. One is cultured to use one’s rational will that is self serving in that it attempts to become efficient and valuable with no regard of compassion to other humans.
The phrase “it’s a dog eat dog world” applies to Tonnies Gesellschaft in that each member of this society is primarily self serving and absorbing. He sees this as the end of what was and shall never be again, the days of our past that we embrace in our memories. I think Tonnies connects one’s childhood memories into the realm of a Gemeinschaft community that he grew up.
He places the mores and folklores above that of public opinion thus declaring that the Gemeinschaft communities are ” Just as I long for the “good ole days” of my youth growing up in a very small town I would be hard pressed to apply those feelings to any research I may complete in the future.
Community and Society
The book tonnis a great accomplishment and to my understanding widely accepted but he does apply a bit of a subjective tone concerning his preference for what type of organization is better. He places rural above urban. Of course, I think he is correct.
This book really is a classic in its field. Written towards the end of the nineteenth century it tried to cope with the whole universe of new phenomena that the young industrial European society encountered for the first time in its history. The book was not considered too influential at first but shortly before WW1 and even more so after it, it began to grow in influence. Tonnies’s greatest contribution to sociology is perhaps the distinction he makes between a large society and a small community and the difference in the substance of the relationships prevailing in one and the other.
He was largely a conservative, viewing the preindustrial world in ferdinanx colours and in this way he served as one of the ideological sources of fascism but then, Nazis abused and misinterpreted many other authors, so this is not anything against Tonnies. Strangely enough, even the totalitarian Left found him inspiring, thus cementing the view that both the big totalitarian ideologies of the twentieth century had lots in common.
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