Tonnies, Ferdinand

(1855-1936)
   sociologist and philosopher; for-mulated the concepts Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society) that so enlivened German thought in the first half of the twentieth century. Born to prosperous farmers in the Schleswig village of Oldenwort (Schleswig was still a duchy of the Danish crown), he formed a friendship in his youth with the poet Theodor Storm, became an adherent of Bismarck s new Reich, and studied at Strassburg as a youthful expression of patriotism—Strassburg having just "rejoined Germany. Soon at Jena, he focused his studies on classical philology and modern philosophy. In 1877 he took a doctorate at Tübingen and then wrote his Habilitation at Kiel in 1881.
   In 1887 Tonnies published his masterpiece, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. He aimed to contrast a naturally evolving community (Gemeinschaft), founded upon kinship ties, with a rationally based society (Gesellschaft), founded upon artificial ties that endeavor to maximize pleasure and profit: "as Gemeinschaft rests on custom and consciousness of duty, Gesellschaft rests entirely on desire and fear. He argued that his categories were ideal sociological types not found in the empirical world, and that their value rested in synthesis. Yet, building on a theme that had inspired German philosophy since the early romantics, he used his Weltanschauung (his term) to link an alienation from modern society with an idealized view of the Middle Ages.
   Tonnies abhorred Bismarck's antisocialist laws, a fact that led some to iden-tify him with the SPD, and he worked for political and social reform in the decades preceding the war. But while his politics impaired his career—Prus-sia s* Cultural Ministry refused to appoint him full professor until 1908—his professional colleagues esteemed him. He was a founding member in 1909 of the German Society for Sociology and was elected the society's first president, a position he retained until 1933. Receiving numerous honors in the 1920s for his pioneering work, he was instrumental in establishing sociology as a disci-pline in the Republic's Technische Hochschulen.
   Although Tonnies finally joined the SPD in the last years of the Republic, he never embraced democracy, fearing that it would lead to Caesarism. Firmly wedded to rational analysis, he abhorred the irrationality of those who espoused a racial Gemeinschaft, and he rejected the NSDAP's Volksgemeinschaft as a perversion of his thought. In 1933 the NSDAP banned him from the classroom and stripped him of the presidency of the Sociology Society. He spent his final years in Kiel.
   REFERENCES:Benz and Graml, Biographisches Lexikon; Cahnman, Ferdinand Tonnies; Heberle, "Sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies"; Mitzman, Sociology and Estrangement; Fritz Ringer, Decline ofthe German Mandarins.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Tönnies, Ferdinand — (1855 1936) A German sociologist and founding member of the German Sociological Association. He is most famous for his distinction between Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft(association). The distinction refers to the different types of… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Tönnies, Ferdinand (Julius) — or Ferdinand (Julius) Toennies 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… …   Universalium

  • Tönnies, Ferdinand (Julius) — o Ferdinand (Julius) Toennies (26 jul. 1855, cerca de Oldenswort, Schleswig–9 abr. 1936, Kiel, Alemania). Sociólogo alemán. A partir de 1881 fue docente en la Universidad de Kiel, principalmente. En su obra Comunidad y sociedad (1887) exploró las …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Tönnies — Tönnies, Ferdinand …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Ferdinand Tönnies — Denkmal Büste in Husum Ferdinand Tönnies (* 26. Juli 1855 bei Oldenswort; † 9. April 1936 in Kiel) war Soziologe, Nationalökonom und Philosoph. Mit seinem 1887 er …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Ferdinand Toennies — Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies à Husum, état de Schleswig Holstein …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ferdinand Tonnies — Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies à Husum, état de Schleswig Holstein …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Tönnies — Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies à Husum, état de Schleswig Holstein …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ferdinand Tönnies — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Ferdinand Tönnies Ferdinand Tönnies (Oldenswort (Eiderstedt), 26 de julio de 1855 Kiel, 9 de abril 1936), sociólogo a …   Wikipedia Español

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