Tönnies, Ferdinand (Julius)

Tönnies, Ferdinand (Julius)

biographical name

(born July 26, 1855, near Oldenswort, Schleswig—died April 9, 1936, Kiel, Ger.) German sociologist. From 1881 he taught principally at the University of Kiel. In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887; “Community and Society”), he explored the differences between the organic conception of society, or Gemeinschaft (“community,” a social union based on traditional rules and a shared sense of solidarity), and the social-contract conception of society, or Gesellschaft (“society,” a social union held together by rational self-interest). In practice, he argued, all societies show elements of both kinds of organization, because human conduct is neither wholly instinctive nor wholly reasoned.


Tönnies, Ferdinand (Julius) or Ferdinand (Julius) Toennies

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