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The Anthem Companion to Ferdinand Tönnies
 0857281828, 9780857281821

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The Anthem Companion to Ferdinand Tönnies

Anthem Companions to Sociology Anthem Companions to Sociology offer authoritative and comprehensive assessments of major figures in the development of sociology from the past two centuries. Covering the major advancements in sociological thought, these companions offer critical evaluations of key figures in the American and European sociological traditions, and will provide students and scholars with an in-depth assessment of the makers of sociology and chart their relevance to modern society. Series Editor Bryan S. Turner—City University of New York, USA, and Australian Catholic University, Australia Forthcoming titles in this series include: The Anthem Companion to Hannah Arendt The Anthem Companion to Pierre Bourdieu The Anthem Companion to Auguste Comte The Anthem Companion to Everett Hughes The Anthem Companion to Karl Mannheim The Anthem Companion to C. Wright Mills The Anthem Companion to Robert Park The Anthem Companion to Talcott Parsons The Anthem Companion to Phillip Rieff The Anthem Companion to Georg Simmel The Anthem Companion to Gabriel Tarde The Anthem Companion to Ernst Troeltsch The Anthem Companion to Thorstein Veblen The Anthem Companion to Max Weber

The Anthem Companion to Ferdinand Tönnies

Edited by Christopher Adair-Toteff

Anthem Press An imprint of Wimbledon Publishing Company www.anthempress.com This edition first published in UK and USA 2016 by ANTHEM PRESS 75–76 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA, UK or PO Box 9779, London SW19 7ZG, UK and 244 Madison Ave #116, New York, NY 10016, USA © 2016 Christopher Adair-Toteff editorial matter and selection; individual chapters © individual contributors The moral right of the authors has been asserted. All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Adair-Toteff, Christopher, editor. Title: The Anthem companion to Ferdinand Tönnies / edited by Christopher Adair-Toteff. Description: London; New York, NY : Anthem Press, [2016] | Series: Anthem companions to sociology | Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016002466 | ISBN 9780857281821 (hardback : alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Tèonnies, Ferdinand, 1855–1936. | Sociologists – Germany. | Sociology – Germany – History. Classification: LCC HM479.T59 A58 2016 | DDC 301.092—dc23 LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2016002466 ISBN-13: 978 0 85728 182 1 (Hbk) ISBN-10: 0 85728 182 8 (Hbk) This title is also available as an ebook.

CONTENTS Introduction Christopher Adair-Toteff

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Chapter One

Ferdinand Tönnies and the Development of Sociology Christopher Adair-Toteff

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Chapter Two

Ferdinand Tönnies and Georg Simmel Niall Bond

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Chapter Three Whither Gemeinschaft: Willing and Acting Together as Community Kenneth C. Bessant

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Chapter Four Tönnies and Globalization: Anticipations of Some Central Concerns of Twenty-First Century Sociology David Inglis

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Chapter Five From Metropolis with Love: Tönnies, Simmel and Urban Social Architecture Stefan Bertschi

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Chapter Six

Ferdinand Tönnies: Hobbes Scholar Efraim Podoksik

Chapter Seven Gender and Family William Stafford Chapter Eight The Power and Value of Public Opinion as a Form of Societal Will Slavko Splichal

119 141

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Chapter Nine

The Politics of Ferdinand Tönnies Niall Bond

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Chapter Ten

Crime and Law in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft Mathieu Deflem

205

Contributors

225

Index

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INTRODUCTION Christopher Adair-Toteff

Any list of the most important sociologists is bound to include Ferdinand Tönnies. This is because he was so instrumental in developing sociology as a separate and important discipline in Germany and because his influence on sociology has been virtually worldwide. The fact that he did not hold a faculty position in sociology is irrelevant, not the least because sociology as an academic discipline had not yet been established in Germany. That it did happen around 1920 is due in large measure to Tönnies’s growing reputation and increasing influence. Tönnies’s reputation rests primarily on his now famous distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. As will become clearer toward the end of this introduction, these two concepts are neither easy to comprehend nor to translate. Briefly, Gemeinschaft is the traditional, rural, organic community whereas Gesellschaft pertains more to the modern, urban, individualistic society. Tönnies’s conceptual opposition has become one of the enduring contributions to sociology; people have tended to pay less attention to Tönnies because they erroneously believe that this was his only contribution. Unfortunately, this mistaken impression is not held just by laypeople; even some important sociologists have held this belief. For one important example: in 1957 Charles Loomis published his translation of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. In his foreword to this edition Pitirim A. Sorokin insisted that “Like many an eminent thinker Ferdinand Tönnies was a man of one central idea” (Tönnies 1988 [1957], vii). In 2001 Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis published a new translation of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. This volume appeared in the illustrious series Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought and Harris and Hollis, like Charles Loomis before them, believed that it was an “acknowledged classic” and that it legitimately belonged in the sociological-political canon (Tönnies 2001, xxix; 1988, xii). Both Loomis’s and Harris and Hollis’s opinions about Tönnies continue to be borne out, but Sorokin’s claim has lost some currency. One goal of this volume is to demonstrate how important and relevant Tönnies’s distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft remains, but a second goal is to show that Tönnies’s importance is not just based on that “one central idea,” but that he had much of importance to say on a variety of topics, including many aspects of sociology and social theory.

The Tönnies Chapters The chapters in this volume were written with the intention of covering many of the major aspects of Tönnies’s sociology. The authors were invited to submit their chapters

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because of their important and recent contributions to the study of Tönnies’s thinking. They offer different analyses of older topics and provide explorations of newer subjects. Tönnies’s masterwork is of course covered, but most of the chapters in this book focus on many different themes, thus disproving Sorokin’s insistence that Tönnies was a man of only one central idea. The volume opens with my chapter (Chapter 1), which is intended to explore the three ways Tönnies helped sociology to develop as a major discipline in Germany. I begin by discussing Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft and by noting that while Tönnies made minimal changes to the various editions, he did include new introductions. These are highlighted to demonstrate the ways his perspectives on the books and on sociology in general underwent changes. The second major section is intended to show how Tönnies fostered the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (German Society for Sociology). While others were involved with him in first establishing it, Tönnies was the one who persevered and ensured that it overcame many obstacles. While books such as Die Sitte, Das Eigentum and Einführung in die Soziologie have never achieved the iconic status that Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft has, they are nonetheless important contributions to sociology. Reading these volumes will significantly add to one’s understanding of Tönnies and will help undermine the notion that he was a man of one central concept. The final section is devoted to exploring Tönnies’s relationships with his fellow German sociologists. These sociologists included Georg Simmel, Werner Sombart, Ernst Troeltsch and especially Max Weber. The general point of my chapter is to detail the various roles that Tönnies played in the development of sociology and to show that he was indispensable for its existence as a respectable scholarly discipline. In his first contribution (Chapter  2) Niall Bond explores the relationship between Tönnies and Simmel. He explains how they both moved from philosophy to social theory to sociology. Tönnies based much of his thinking on Thomas Hobbes and his preoccupation with security while Simmel founded his thinking on Immanuel Kant and his concern with epistemological forms. Bond contrasts Tönnies’s rural conservatism with Simmel’s urbane progressivism and he delineates how the former largely regarded society as organic whereas the latter focused more on the individual. Furthermore, Tönnies was tempted to make moral statements while Simmel preferred to maintain a critical distance. But Tönnies and Simmel both were fundamentally concerned with the question of how society was made possible. Bond stresses that while they focused on the same thing, their approaches differed fundamentally; Tönnies’s sociology is characterized as “solid” while Simmel’s was “agile”; Tönnies sees society as a substantial whole, while Simmel regards society as a massive series of interconnected relations. Tönnies concentrated on the peaceful, organic whole whereas Simmel investigated continuous, everyday struggles between individuals. Simmel may have regarded Tönnies’s sociology as a “relict of positivist assumptions,” but he still learned quite a bit about social wills and social interactions. For his part, Tönnies thought that Simmel was too influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche and was too often removed from the situations; Tönnies believed himself to be an empirical scientist and thought that Simmel was too much of an “ivory tower” thinker. Yet these contrasts paled in relation to their shared interests: the impact of money, the increasing urbanization and the movement toward expanding rationality and artificiality. However, Bond does not merely focus on Tönnies and Simmel; rather he



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places both of them within the larger context of contemporary German social thought. Thus, Tönnies is contrasted with Wilhelm Dilthey while Simmel is occasionally connected to Max Weber. Bond is rather complete in his explorations and careful in his judgments: he concludes by noting that Tönnies and Simmel did not always agree and on occasion they seemed to regard each other as rivals. But, as Bond makes clear, Tönnies and Simmel learned much from each other and they valued each other’s contributions to the establishment of sociology as a reputable science. They may have sometimes thought of each other as adversaries, but they always regarded each other as worthy sociologists. Kenneth C. Bessant (Chapter  3) provides a clear account of Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft distinction but he moves beyond the typical accounts, first, by stressing the “willing” aspects of it and, second, by arguing that most accounts oversimplify Tönnies’s distinction, whereas it is really very complex. Part of this complexity stems from the “dialectical and dynamic quality of social life”—Bessant suggests that too many commentators ignore this quality and believe that Tönnies provides a rather static overview of social forms. Bessant also takes issue with the accepted notion that these forms are rather rigidly demarcated; he suggests that they are rather fluid and subject to change over time. Part of this change is a result of increasing modernity with the replacement of organic states by a highly globalized system. Thus, one of the key factors in Bessant’s account is how fundamental the process of change is to Tönnies’s sociology. A second key factor is his emphasis on action; people are not isolated individuals but act with and against others; this is the case whether it is the closely knit community or the individualistic society. Tönnies is in agreement with Max Weber regarding this emphasis on action, but his long-standing concern with collective entities was dismissed by Weber. However, Bessant points out that in practice, Weber came quite close to Tönnies’s view of communal characteristics. More importantly, Bessant underscores Tönnies’s “three-fold conception of social entities: biological, psychological, and sociological.” In all three aspects, there is a sense in which the entity “wills.” Bessant’s final point is to argue that Tönnies’s sociology is not outdated, but is often misunderstood. Rather than viewing Tönnies as one who affirms the static past, we must recognize that he embraces the changing future. David Inglis (Chapter 4) also addresses the question of Tönnies’s relevance for today’s sociology and he answers it with a definite affirmative. He argues that no other classical sociologist has been stereotyped and misunderstood to the degree that Tönnies has. Inglis takes as his task to show not only that the typical picture of Tönnies as a “dry thinker” is a caricature but that it prevents students from realizing how fecund he is for the future study of sociology. Inglis focuses primarily on the related notions of Gesellschaft and Kürwille and he demonstrates how much the merchant is the embodiment of the spirit of the latter. The merchant is the individual who embodies rational calculation for the attainment of wealth. In this regard Inglis notes Tönnies’s affinity with Karl Marx but he suggests that Tönnies rejects Marx’s historical materialism and instead offers a more sociological account of Gesellschaft. In so doing, Inglis emphasizes the importance of the metropolis because in Tönnies’s account it is the center of culture and science and is connected with commerce and industry. However, Tönnies is not solely preoccupied with the ruling elites; rather, he is also concerned about the impoverished members of the working class. Like the wealthy merchants, the workers are cosmopolitan, but lacking

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the benefits that capital provides, they are reduced to having a sense of alienation. Inglis concludes that Tönnies contributes to a better understanding of modernity in two ways; first, by understanding the linkages between Gesellschaft and globalization and, second, by appreciating the crucial role of public opinion in modern societies. Stefan Bertschi (Chapter  5) continues with the theme of Tönnies’s concern about the future. He specifically concentrates on urban social architecture and he does so by comparing him to Georg Simmel. Bertschi finds the earlier lack of comparison between Tönnies and Simmel perplexing for several reasons. First, both were trained as philosophers; second, both were founding members of the German Society for Sociology; and, third, both were interested in social architecture. Because this contrast is almost a blank slate, Bertschi chooses the rather unconventional method of proceeding back in time. That is, he begins with twenty-first century gated communities and works backward to the end of the nineteenth century. The gated communities provide a type of Gemeinschaft; by excluding the “other” the communities reinforce shared values and foster a sense of physical safety. In the gated communities one is not likely to meet Simmel’s “stranger” and as societies they are more “cerebral” than the “organic” communities. Nonetheless, the rational activities of their members do not condemn the people to isolated and meaningless lives; instead, they work with a common purpose toward “communal” values and shared financial gain. One of Bertschi’s important goals is to persuade readers that Tönnies’s insights into more social architecture are just as relevant as those of Simmel and that a close analysis of how these two sociologists compare in a postmodern light helps contribute to a richer understanding of modern and contemporary social ­interaction. Efraim Podoksik (Chapter  6) is one scholar who recognizes Tönnies’s interest and debt to some of his predecessors, but his topic is not the usual one. Instead of tracing Tönnies’s debt to Marx, Podoksik examines his long-term interest in Hobbes. In fact, Podoksik makes the case that Tönnies was a bona fide Hobbes scholar. Tönnies’s interest in Hobbes was life-long; it began the year of his graduation and continued throughout his life. In 1878 Tönnies spent considerable time in England with the purpose of examining Hobbes’s unpublished manuscripts. There, he uncovered what he believed to be the original manuscript for Hobbes’s Behemoth. Tönnies later published some of the fruits of his own labor in two volumes and in numerous essays. One of Tönnies’s major points was his insistence that Hobbes was the first truly modern philosopher. Most nineteenthcentury historians of philosophy had maintained that Descartes was the first, but Tönnies maintained that Hobbes was more important because, first, Hobbes’s philosophy was not a derivative of the empiricism of Bacon but was a type of rationalism. Second, Hobbes’s emphasis on reason was extremely influential on the other two main rationalists, Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried Leibniz. Podoksik allows that by our current standards Tönnies’s editing was not optimal, but he makes a compelling case for regarding Tönnies’s scholarship on Hobbes as path-breaking and of continuing relevance. William Stafford (Chapter 7) tackles the thorny problem of Tönnies’s views on gender and the rather common view that he was patriarchal and bound by tradition. Stafford begins by setting out passages that seem to confirm these views, beginning with the origins of Gemeinschaft in the family, and by making the claim that the increasingly modern society has led to the demise of the family and a rise in criminality. Stafford notes that this



INTRODUCTION

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pessimistic view of modernity was widely shared in many sections of German culture and he compares it with a similar view found in G. W. F. Hegel. However, unlike Hegel’s abstract philosophy, Tönnies’s sociology was a combination of conceptual models based on empirical observation so his viewpoints were more complex and realistic than some scholars contend. Stafford extends this view of complexity and ambiguity to Tönnies’s views of gender and argues that Tönnies uses the notion of “gender polarity” to accent the conceptual differences, but notes that the gender lines are far more blurred in empirical reality. Stafford quotes from passages in which Tönnies bemoans the use of “stale clichés” and inveighs against the claims of universal validity. Seen in a certain light Tönnies does seem patriarchal, but unlike Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche he was not a misogynist. He was always a progressive who fought for equality. He encouraged women to participate more in local government and he welcomed more women into the discipline of the social sciences. Stafford’s concluding point is that we should not be misled into thinking that Tönnies’s views on gender were fixed and immutable; rather, they evolved as he matured. And we should not be misguided by those who see only “black and white” in Tönnies’s writings; rather they are far more complex and ambiguous than a superficial reading might suggest. Slavko Splichal (Chapter 8) aims to “rehabilitate” Tönnies’s efforts to conceptualize public opinion as a form of social will. Splichal argues that Tönnies’s 1922 book Kritik der öffentlichen Meinung has suffered unwarranted neglect. Tönnies’s attempt was one of the first as well as one of the last to offer a close study of what public opinion really is and how scholars should investigate it. Splichal notes that there were no real theoretical approaches to public opinion until Habermas’s work in the early 1960s. Splichal not only sets out important distinctions between how will is expressed by the Gemeinschaft and how it is expressed by the Gesellschaft, he also details how Tönnies draws on the work of two of his famous philosophical predecessors: Immanuel Kant and G. W. F. Hegel. Tönnies emphasizes that his book is an epistemological critique by naming it after Kant’s famous Kritik der reinen Vernunft. And Tönnies borrows from Hegel’s philosophy of law by noting how Hegel demonstrated the contradictory sides of public opinion; it was esteemed in its essence but despised in its concrete manifestations. Finally, Splichal links Tönnies’s emphasis to the connection between public opinion and the press and he emphasizes his insistence on the necessity of a free press—that it not only appears to be a manifestation of the social will but it is also a critical means to educate people. In his second contribution (Chapter 9) Niall Bond discusses Tönnies’s complex relationship to politics. His chapter has three major concerns: Tönnies’s theoretical understanding, his political sociology and his own political views. Bond demonstrates that many scholars have misunderstood Tönnies and his politics, beginning with failing to recognize that Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is not just a major sociological work but also a political and ethical book. His larger point is that Tönnies’s political theory was a complex assimilation of various political theories. Bond warns against believing that Tönnies’s political theory and political beliefs were unchanging; instead, he shows how they underwent major changes as a result of Tönnies’s political understanding and his political interactions. For example, while quite young, he read Marx and during his time in England he adopted some of Marx’s positions on the causes of poverty and social

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misery, but he later admitted that he did not have a proper understanding of Marx’s philosophy nor did he have an adequate response to social problems. Bond also points out that Tönnies’s opinions were not always based on scientific positions; for instance, he cites Tönnies’s nationalistic fervor. In addition, while Tönnies tended to regard the state as important, he never believed that it could or should provide all remedies to all social problems; instead, it was the community that was more important and more trustworthy. That did not mean that Tönnies was fully in favor of mass democracy; he was concerned about the masses’ understanding of political issues. Nonetheless, he was in favor of mass suffrage. Finally, Bond takes issue with the belief that Tönnies was anti-liberal; while he was never fully comfortable with every aspect of liberal doctrine in Germany at the time, he clearly favored many aspects of it. Most telling was his adamant stance against and continual warnings about the rise of National Socialism in Germany. While Tönnies suffered greatly during the early years of the Nazi regime, he did not live to experience the full horrors of living in Nazi Germany. Mathieu Deflem (Chapter 10) clearly announces the thesis of his chapter by the title “Crime and Law in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” Deflem persuasively argues that Tönnies’s research in the area of crime is one of the most neglected areas of his work. Deflem believes that the concentration on Tönnies’s notions of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft meant that scholars did not pay sufficient attention to other issues, especially criminal conduct. Deflem maintains that this is unfortunate for at least two reasons: first, Tönnies successfully integrated sociological theory with empirical theory, and, second, on the basis of this he was able to construct a unique conception of social order. Tönnies’s interest in crime was not insignificant; rather, over a 40-year period he published no fewer than 34 works on crime and another 17 on criminal statistics. Rather than lumping all criminals into one classification, Tönnies differentiated them into those who commit minor transgressions and those who commit major crimes. Furthermore, he analyzed how a criminal’s place of origin impacted his predilection to crime and he considered the frequency of crime in urban areas relative to rural regions. Finally, while Tönnies concentrated primarily on social causes of crime, he also investigated biological and individual causes. In Deflem’s considered view, because Tönnies was able to combine a diverse range of factors, his work on crime is particularly instructive and well worth studying. The full range of the topics covered in this volume should be more than sufficient to convince almost everyone that Tönnies was more than a man of one central idea. He made significant contributions to the history of philosophy, economics and politics, not to mention important contributions to the notions of global expansion, increasing urbanization and even gender relations. Of course, Tönnies’s most famous and most enduring contribution is to sociology—through his terminology, methodology and focus. It is hard to think about Tönnies without thinking about sociology; it is almost as difficult to think about sociology without Ferdinand Tönnies.

A Note on Translating Tönnies Anyone who has translated any German’s writing into English is well aware of the dangers and pitfalls that they are going to encounter. While there are degrees of correctness



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the translator can never hope to achieve the perfect translation. Instead, the translator is painfully aware that one’s best efforts are never enough. Whether it is Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Faust or Hermann Hesse’s Glasperlenspiel, the translator faces numerous problems in choosing the right word, in deciding how to change the sentence structure, and even in considering where to break lengthy paragraphs. The translator of the classical German sociologist is confronted with similar problems, and more. Anyone who has tried to translate Simmel’s writings finds themselves at their wit’s end in trying to put his particular German into acceptable English. Weber’s German is not as problematic as Simmel’s, but his preoccupation with the substance of concepts, coupled with his lack of interest in the form, contributes to the difficulty of rendering his German into acceptable English. In contrast to Simmel and Weber, Tönnies appears much easier to translate. Granted, he writes in lengthy sentences and in long paragraphs, but his style seems relatively congenial and his grammar not very peculiar. The trouble with Tönnies is his concepts. Not with all of them or even many, but a select few are particularly troublesome. This difficulty is partially because he uses terms in new and different ways and partly as a result of these terms having been brought into common use. An indication of the difficulties of translating Tönnies is evident in the various translations of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. The title of the translation by Charles Loomis was Community and Society (Tönnies 1988). However, Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis believe that Loomis’s title did not accurately reflect Tönnies’s meaning of Gesellschaft, so the title of their translation is Community and Civil Society (Tönnies 2001). Harris and Hollis note the long history of problems with Tönnies’s German—that he uses the traditional lengthy sentence with its numerous subordinate clauses. They also point out that Tönnies’s style vacillates between rigorous scientific analyses and almost romantic rhetoric. Finally, they suggest that he tends to use archaic words or adapt more modern terminology to suit his own needs (Tönnies 2001, xxxviii–xxxix). Unfortunately, their remedy for the deficiencies in Tönnies’s writing is misguided; they try to render his German into “the idiom of the present day, including everyday and even occasional slang expressions.” In my review of their book I admitted that translating is notoriously difficult, but I pointed out that their effort is often awkward and poor while also being rather perplexing and occasionally inconsistent (Adair-Toteff 2003, 167–8). The most popular of Tönnies’s terms and the most difficult to translate are the two pairs: Gemeinschaft/Gesellschaft and Wesenwille/Kürwille. Tönnies is responsible for giving them their current meanings, but he did not invent either pairing. Thus, in order to understand Tönnies’s particular use, it is helpful to consider the origins of these terms. As the Grimms’ Deutsches Wörterbuch notes, Gemeinschaft is related to a number of terms: Gemein, Gemeinde and Gemeinheit. Gemein has a history of describing what is shared or held in common. What is shared is shared by members of the same “tribe” (Stamm) (Grimm 1984: 5, 3169–74). Gemein is also related to Gemeinde as in das Gemeine Haus (Grimm 1984: 5, 3180; see also the connections on 3182 and 3186). But Gemein also has larger connections, such as with the gemeine Leute (“common people”). This may mean the lower class as in the “little people” (kleine Leute), but it also means the common members of a group, and it is this that also links Gemein with Gemeinde (Grimm 1984: 5, 3202, 3205, 3218).

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The Grimm brothers explored the connection between Gemein and Gemeinde more specifically in the entry on Gemeinde. The Gemeinde is composed of people who share the common land, who share the common resources, and who pay for the common costs (Grimm 1984: 5, 3221–2, 3225–6). Occasionally, the Gemeinde will take on the responsibility for the welfare of the poorest members and there are occasions in which the closeness of the community is emphasized, as in Volksgemeinde (Grimm 1984: 5, 3234, 3238). Martin Luther may have been one of the earliest to stress the close connection between Gemein, Gemeinde and Gemeinschaft (Grimm 1984: 5, 3231; see also 3239). The term Gemeinschaft can be traced back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Mittelhochdeutsch, where it is used as either a religious or a civil term. Its connection to Gemeinde is especially underscored by the form Gemeinschaft. Furthermore, it has two characteristics that point toward Tönnies’s use: that members possess and use the goods in common and that such a Gemeinschaft can exist only where there is fundamental trust (Grimm 1984: 5, 3265, 3267–8). And it was Tönnies who helped modify the notion of Gesellschaft because its original definition was quite close to Gemeinschaft. Gesellschaft was often employed to refer to any closely knit group; this included noble knights as well as middle “class” tradesmen, and even handworkers and artisans (Grimm 1984: 5, 4051–3). What seems to differentiate Gemeinschaft from Gesellschaft is that members of the former are either formally related or somehow closely connected whereas members of the latter have chosen to associate (Grimm 1984: 5, 4059–60). Tönnies offers definitions of Gemeinschaft: it is the natural condition that represents the unified will of human beings who are related by blood (see Tönnies 1920, 7). In contrast, Gesellschaft is a circle of humans who are not naturally bound together but rather have chosen to live peacefully in close connection (see Tönnies 1920, 33). The Gemeinschaft/ Gesellschaft relation is replicated in the second pairing: Wesenwille/Kürwille. As with the first pairing, a glance at the historical context of each of these terms will help clarify and set the stage for understanding Tönnies’s particular use of them. Wesenwille and Kürwille are compound words and as such do not have their own entries in the Grimms’ Deutsches Wörterbuch. They are combinations of two words with Wille—in English “will”—and each of the two represents Tönnies’s specific emphasis on the differing types of wills. Wesen is “existence,” or “essence” or even “being” (Grimm 1984: 29, 507, 510–11, 522–6). Tönnies uses Wesenwille to mean the will’s equivalent of the human body, that is, it is the natural component. It is “essential” to the human will in the same way that the cell is essential to the human body; both are natural and organic (Tönnies 1920, 71–3). Kürwille is Tönnies’s version of Willkür, which does have its own entry in the Deutsches Wörterbuch. There its history is traced back to Luther’s time. Its fundamental meaning is having the freedom to choose; it is not “necessitated,” but is “arbitrary.” It has certain connotations of a child’s capriciousness, but it has a larger sense of being free to choose. It is not an irrational choice, but is based on good reasons; hence, it is rational. It has this sense of “free” that is continued by Kant, Johann Fichte, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Schopenhauer (Grimm 1984: 30, 205–7). Tönnies continues this traditional use of Willkür, but inverts the words to form Kürwille. Unlike the organic Wesenwille, which naturally leads to moral decisions, Kürwille is deliberate and thoughtful in choosing its goals (Tönnies 1920, 87–9). It might not be too much



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of a stretch to suggest that Wesenwille is the heart and Kürwille is the head. Whereas the first is a natural and immediate inclination, the second is a hesitant and reflective choosing. Of course, like the Gemeinschaft/Gesellschaft distinction, the Wesenwille/Kürwille distinction is not firm and fixed, but is fluid. Tönnies notes as much but for heuristic purposes he, like Max Weber, tended to draw the clearest oppositions in theory while admitting that they are rarely as clear in reality. This note on translation was not intended to be exhaustive; it was intended to provide some historical context for a better understanding of four terms that are central to Tönnies’s sociology. Further points regarding the specific challenges in translating Tönnies can be found in each of the following chapters.

References Adair-Toteff, Christopher 1995, “Ferdinand Tönnies: Utopian Visionary?” Sociological Theory. Vol. 13, Issue 1. 58–65. Adair-Toteff, Christopher 2003, “Review of Ferdinand Tönnies’ Community and Civil Society. Edited by Jose Harris. Translated by Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.” The British Journal for the History of Philosophy. Vol. 11, Issue 1. 164–8. Adair-Toteff, Christopher 2005, Sociological Beginnings: The First Conference of the German Society for Sociology. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Bond, Niall 2013, Understanding Ferdinand Tönnies’ Community and Society: Social Theory and Political Philosophy between Enlightened Liberal Individualism and Transfigured Community. Berlin, Münster, Wien, Zürich, London: LIT Verlag. Grimm, Jacob und Wilhelm 1984 [1897], Deutsches Wörterbuch. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. (Leipzig: Verlag von S. Hirzel). 33 Bände. Inglis, David 2009, “Cosmopolitan Sociology and the Classical Canon: Ferdinand Tönnies and the Emergence of Global Gesellschaft.” The British Journal of Sociology. Vol. 60, Issue 4. 813–32. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1909, Die Sitte. Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt Rütten and Loening. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1920, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie. Dritte durchgesehene Auflage. Berlin: Karl Curtius. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1922, “Ferdinand Tönnies.” In Die Philosophie der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen. Herausgegeben von Dr. Raymund Schmidt. Leipzig: Verlag von Felix Meiner. 199–234. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1988 [1957], Community and Society (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft). Translated by Charles P. Loomis. With a New Introduction by John Samples. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Tönnies, Ferdinand 2001, Community and Civil Society. Edited by Jose Harris. Translated by Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter One Ferdinand Tönnies and the Development of Sociology Christopher Adair-Toteff

For three days in late October 1910, some 30 people participated in the first conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS). None of these people were professional sociologists; instead, they came from many different disciplines. Ferdinand Tönnies and Georg Simmel were trained as philosophers; Max Weber and Werner Sombart were political economists; and the rest tended to be lawyers and political and social thinkers and, in the case of Ernst Troeltsch, a theologian. The second conference of the DGS occurred two years later but, because of the war, the third was not held until 1922. By then Weber and Simmel were dead; Sombart and Troeltsch were no longer active in the DGS; and only Tönnies was left to establish sociology as a respectable German scholarly discipline. In fact, as I intend to show in this chapter, while Max Weber and Georg Simmel rightfully hold significant places in the history of sociology, it was Ferdinand Tönnies who probably did more than anyone else in Germany to develop sociology as a science.

The Early Years: From Philosophy to Sociology Like Georg Simmel, Ferdinand Tönnies was trained primarily in philosophy, and many of Tönnies’s early writings, like Simmel’s, were on philosophers. These philosophers included Thomas Hobbes, Benedict Spinoza and Friedrich Nietzsche; but Tönnies soon rejected Nietzsche and moved beyond Spinoza. In marked contrast, Hobbes continued to interest Tönnies and clearly influenced Tönnies’s sociological thinking (Merz-Benz 1995, 26, 247, 350). Unlike Simmel’s writing, Tönnies’s first major sociological work drew a considerable amount of interest, and, more importantly, established Tönnies’s concern with the nature and the function of social life as well as his recognition of the importance of social justice. This concern reflects Tönnies’s interest in and indebtedness to Karl Marx (Bond 2013, 138–40). For Tönnies, the first question is how to resolve the differences between tradition and the modern (Adair-Toteff 1995, 58–65; Lichtblau 2012a, 9). The second and more important question is how various classes and groups can coexist peacefully. This second question is, for Tönnies, one of the most important and most pressing questions of the time, and throughout his life he attempted to answer it. Thus sociology was not simply an abstract scholarly pursuit; it was also a means to help

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determine a better world for human beings. This was Ferdinand Tönnies’s almost lifelong objective. While philosophy undoubtedly helped him to formulate his views and certainly aided him in clarifying his concepts, it was his development of sociology as a science that helped him to confront the many critical issues in social life. Tönnies’s importance in establishing sociology is found even in his first major “philosophical” work—Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. The intention here is to trace Tönnies’s approach to his most famous work, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, through his original “sketch” (Entwurf), his various introductions and his later responses to its meaning and its importance (see Liebersohn 1988, 27–35; Tönnies 2001, xv–xxii). The first few of these are important because they help trace Tönnies’s evolution from philosophy to sociology, and the last of these are significant because in them Tönnies explains why he wrote Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft and what the book was intended to mean as well as what it meant to him. During the years 1880 and 1881 Tönnies wrote his sketch for Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft and he subtitled it “theorems of cultural philosophy.” It is a relatively lengthy piece for a sketch and Tönnies discusses a number of issues that will remain important in his writings. The first is his concern with “the facts of human life together” (“die Tatsachen des menschlichen Zusammenlebens”) (Tönnies 1925b: 1. See also 350–1). What he meant by “Zusammenlebens” is that people need to live and work together. He noted that this was a fact in history, is a fact now, and will undoubtedly be a fact in the future. He is not concerned with the past; he will refrain from predictions about the future, but will discuss the present. People do not live solely by themselves, but live together, thus giving rise to what Tönnies calls “culture.” He acknowledges that “culture” can be historical and he notes that it is composed of many different parts. These include legal history, economic history, moral history, art history, religious history and even the philosophy of history. It is the notion of philosophy that he wants to treat, and he does so by suggesting that philosophy focuses on a “world view” (Weltanschauung). Philosophy is primarily a rational endeavor, but Tönnies also emphasizes the empirical approach. While some philosophers are interested in metaphysical questions, Tönnies’s concern is with ethical and aesthetic judgments, for these make up the cultural part of his philosophy (Tönnies 1925b, 8–11). Before examining these types of cultural judgments, Tönnies discusses the basic feelings of pleasure and pain and he ties them to desire and avoidance. This allows him to introduce his crucial notion of “will” (Tönnies 1925b, 13–15). A person’s will can help determine the means to secure a specific end, but Tönnies is concerned with a particular type of will. This is “free will” or, in a term that he will employ for a number of years: Willkür. This term is difficult to translate, but it seems that Tönnies connects it with the term “arbitrary,” but in the sense that the will is “unrestrained” by customs or morals (Tönnies 1925b, 16–18). He clarifies this somewhat by turning to a discussion of friends and enemies—the former share the same will while the latter have opposing wills. It is here also that Tönnies brings into play Thomas Hobbes’s claim that the state of nature is the “war of all against all” (Tönnies 1925b, 20). However, in the state of society there cannot be a “general and unconditional” form of enemies; instead, there must be a mechanism for minimizing the number, duration and strength of disagreements. The mechanism is law; specifically contractual law. It is also here that Tönnies introduces



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his distinction between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft—the first applies to a group, a “community” that in numbers and strength stands in friendly relationships, while the second applies to a group, a “society” in which the individuals stand in marked contrast with each other and their activities are determined by recourse to the individual and “arbitrary” wills, namely by Willkür (Tönnies 1925b, 21–3). Tönnies emphasizes the importance of legal contracts for “society” because they regulate those cases where two opposing wills can agree. However, because “society” is driven by desire and fear, he has little interest in it. Instead, his distinct preference is for “community,” where the importance of customs, tradition and the “feeling of obligation” (Pflichtgefühl) dominates (Tönnies 1925b, 30–2). While Tönnies would change some aspects of his 1880/1881 sketch, the basic contrast between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft is continued, as is his marked preference for the former over the latter. Tönnies’s contrast and his preference for Gemeinschaft are clearly present in the preface to the first edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Even more evident is the philosophical background. Tönnies emphasizes the contrast between the historical and rationalist tendencies in the investigations into “social life,” and he notes that it seems paradoxical that empiricism seems more dominant than rationalism—paradoxical because Kant adapted David Hume’s empirical philosophy to construct his own more or less rational philosophy. Hume had discovered the psychological “laws” that govern how we interpret the world but, as Kant had argued and Hume himself had admitted, these were only fundamental psychological predispositions to believe that the future will conform to the past and that a given cause would give rise to a certain effect. Kant’s discovery was to uncover the sources and limits to our knowledge; that the sources come from the inner workings of our minds but are confined to impressions of things given to us. Thus the very subjective-ness of our human nature that guarantees the universality and necessity of our empirical knowledge also limits it to phenomena. For Tönnies, one of the most important factors of Kant’s method was to finally divorce human understanding from any supernatural sources (Tönnies 1925b, 34–7). A second important factor was Kant’s addition of the principle of human causality to the previous fundamental laws of logic: the principle of identity and the principle of sufficient reason (Tönnies 1925b, 38–9). Tönnies agrees with Kant that all science is rationalistic and also concurs with Kant that every philosophical object is empirically apprehended. However, Tönnies’s interest is in human life, and so his philosophical sources go beyond Kant and include a number of thinkers who were all concerned not with individuals but with groups. In their views as well as in Tönnies’s, there is no individualism in history and in culture (Tönnies 1925b, 43). Thus his focus in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is on groups of people or types of culture. He concludes the preface to the first edition by the (somewhat unwarranted) claim that there are “scarcely any traces” of the sketch in the current book (Tönnies 1925b, 44). The second edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft was published in 1912, 25 years after it appeared. The book itself remained mostly unchanged; what had changed was Tönnies’s connection with philosophy. In the preface to the second edition, almost all traces of philosophy had disappeared. The exception was in the beginning paragraphs where Tönnies mentions his affinity with the “Marburg School” of Neo-Kantianism (Adair-Toteff 2003, 33–6). However, he goes on to complain that every book on ethics suffers from some

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flaw and that because of the continuing importance of philosophy there is no place in German universities for sociology (Tönnies 1925b, 45). He acknowledges that philosophy grew alongside the natural sciences, but whereas the former continued to look toward the future, the latter seemed condemned to look more to the past. He objects that Hegel helped restore the old notion of the absolute state by fusing the notion of the state with the moral idea (Tönnies 1925b, 48). Unfortunately, what also occurred was the rise of “laissez faire” capitalism, but at least during the last decades of the nineteenth century it was countered by the rise of a new group of scholars who were concerned with the plight of the working class. Tönnies shared many sentiments with these scholars; but here he insisted that what he was offering was a strictly theoretical approach to the problems of culture. He was avoiding a socialistic theory with its attendant value judgments concerning capitalism, private property and the proletariat (Tönnies 1925b, 50). He concludes by reminding the reader that the origins of the book lie in the works of Joseph Bachofen, Henry Maine and others, but he insists that his approach is new and that the theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft cannot be separated from the two types of will: Wesenwille and Willkür. He does not explain these two types of will here, but he adds a few words about the new edition. The book remained much as he had originally written it, but he admitted that he would probably not write it as it is now. What is different is that he has added some comments and he has indicated these by noting the year (Tönnies 1925b, 56–7). The third edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft carries only a one-page preface. In it, Tönnies refers to the Great War that occurred between the second and third editions and he regarded it as a catastrophe for Europe. He noted further that he has replaced Willkür by Kürwille in the hopes of minimizing confusion about the meaning of this central concept. He also notes that despite the war, the second edition has been reviewed by Werner Sombart, Ernst Troeltsch, Martin Buber and a number of others. He also notes that a more proper preface will be reprinted “shortly” in the forthcoming volume of his Soziologische Studien und Kritiken (Tönnies 1920, III). In this proper preface Tönnies refers to the notion of “communism” in the original subtitle of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. He wishes to clarify that he did not mean the “fantasy” of communism but rather the “scientific form” (“wissenschaftliche Gestalt”) (Tönnies 1925b, 58–9). He suggests that earlier he had not sufficiently appreciated the cooperative function (“Genossenschaft”) of the workers’ movement, but that he now recognizes that it has “elements of the people” (“Elementen des Volkes”) (Tönnies 1925b, 61). He directs the reader’s attention to the 1912 “addition” to the third book (§ 14), where he had suggested that over the previous couple of decades there had been the growing tendency for people without property to band together against the encroaching domination of major companies. He applauded the morality of this tendency and contrasted it with the unfavorable traits of modern industrial society (Tönnies 1920, 167). He concludes his preface with the observation that while Germany had to lay down its weapons, it will not lay down its “weapons of the spirit” (“Waffen seines Geistes”). As an “ethical power” (“ethische Macht”) Germany has the power of the thought of “community” and as such it stands between the raw communism of Russia and the individual capitalism of England and America. And, as such, Tönnies hopes and believes that Germany’s future will lay in a just and an equitable type of socialism (Tönnies 1925b, 63–4).



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The belief in a just society permeates Tönnies’s writings and it is found in one of the most impressive of Tönnies’s earlier books. Die Entwicklung der sozialen Frage (1907) is impressive for several reasons: it sets out Tönnies’s vision of how people and classes can peacefully coexist, it covers not just Germany but Great Britain and France, and in it Tönnies draws on a wide variety of sources, including Marx and Engels, but also Adam Smith and Thomas Hobbes. The “social question” is the question of how people are to live together in harmony and Tönnies suggests that the social question appears in three life forms: economic, political and spiritual. The most important of these is economic life and its most important part is work. Previously people worked on the land, and frequently for other people. These other people were the ruling classes and they often made their workers into slaves. Now, the ruling class is composed of industrialists and the factory workers are reduced to servitude, not just to the factory owners, but also to the machines (Tönnies 1907, 7–11, 16–17, 23–4). Part of Tönnies’s goal is to call much warranted attention to the fundamental contrast between rich and poor; the former rule and the latter are ruled. Tönnies points out that this is not necessarily always bad; he points to the English common law that governs the relationship between master and servant and he also singles out the relationship in Germany between master and craftsman. But he also notes that often these relationships are neither productive nor beneficial (Tönnies 1907, 24–5). This is especially problematic in the modern industrial system with the capitalistic owner. This new development is largely responsible for the rise of the social question. Unfortunately, the factory owner employs uneducated and untrained people and pays them the minimum. Without adequate payment the worker and his family are forced to live in substandard housing and often lack enough food. In Tönnies’s opinion, this opened up a “new world”—“hell on earth” (Tönnies 1907, 29). What gave rise to this “new society” was the Industrial Revolution with its introduction of machines, but the state helped further industrial development by its focused concentration on economic progress (Tönnies 1907, 32–5). Different conflicts among the classes also developed. Tönnies notes three types: the bourgeois and proletariat against the old masters, the old masters and proletariat against the bourgeois, and the old masters and the bourgeois against the proletariat. His particular interest is in the third struggle, which is both the struggle for equal rights and the struggle for one’s interests. These struggles have occurred in France, Britain and Germany, but they have taken different forms: political in France, economic in Britain and predominately ideal in Germany (Tönnies 1907, 39–42). While Britain found the expression in the workers’ movement, France found it in the various revolutionary movements (Tönnies 1907, 50–6, 89, 93, 104). In Germany it found its expression in philosophy— Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Ferdinand Lassalle and Karl Marx, as well as Friedrich Albert Lange and Franz Brentano (Tönnies 1907, 107–19). Tönnies does admit that there has been considerable progress in addressing the social question in Germany with the introduction of labor laws. However, much social reform is needed, and while Tönnies seems convinced that such reform can be conducted through a form of Marxist socialism, he does not seem totally convinced (Tönnies 1907, 138–51). In 1909 Tönnies published a book with the translation-resistant title Die Sitte. Despite being only 93 pages in length, this book was remarkably important for three reasons:

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the series in which it appeared, the type of book that it was and the influence that it exerted. In 1906 Werner Sombart published the first book in a major series edited by Martin Buber. Titled Die Gesellschaft (The Society), Buber’s series was dedicated to exploring the major social questions of the day and is regarded as one of the most important contributions to the development of sociology (Käsler 1984, 118). As many of the titles indicated, the series focused on the labor problems in Germany. Sombart’s book was about the proletariat (Sombart 1906); Eduard Bernstein’s books were on the strike and on the workers’ movement (Bernstein 1906, 1910); and Gustav Landauer’s book was on revolution (Landauer 1907). Dozens of volumes followed; some were written by Georg Simmel, by Willy Hellpach, and by Buber himself. Buber subtitled the series “Socialpsychological monographs” in his “Prospekt,” and he insisted that each volume would address the issues confronting social life through the psychological presentation of individual concrete appearances, and not by any abstract investigation into universal problems (Buber 1906). While the authors mostly tended to follow Buber’s instructions for scholarly objectivity, many of them used their books for political and partisan purposes. This was especially true for Sombart, Bernstein and Landauer. And most of the “objective” writers had relatively noncontroversial topics that lent themselves to the scholarly approach. This is what sets Tönnies’s Die Sitte apart from most of the others; he took a scholarly approach to a controversial topic. Sitte, or the plural, Sitten, has a long history in German philosophy. In 1797 Immanuel Kant wrote a book titled Die Metaphysik der Sitten, which dealt primarily with jurisprudence (Kant 1914). In 1807 G. W. F. Hegel published his Phänomenologie des Geistes, and in it he spends considerable time on the notion of Sitte, but he connects it to the philosophical notion of “morality” (Sittlichkeit) (Hegel 1952, 256, 319). Yet, in his later Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts, he differentiates between Moralität and Sittlichkeit, where the latter covers marriage, family and the raising of children, thus setting the stage for Tönnies’s later usage of the term Sitte (Hegel 1955, 142–65). Tönnies also draws a connection between Sitte and Sittlichkeit, but he is more concerned with setting out his sociological meaning (Tönnies 1909, 41–5). For Tönnies, the word Sitte is synonymous with the terms “custom” (Brauch) or “practice” (Gewohnheit). He provides three definitions and offers a number of examples: (1) A “regular fact of nature.” A person regularly gets up early; a person regularly goes for a walk at a certain time; a person regularly takes a midday nap—these are all practices that he does routinely and they belong to his way of life (Tönnies 1909, 7). (2) An indication of a “rule” (Regel) or norm that one regularly applies to one’s self. (3) An expression of one’s will. It is this third use that Tönnies finds so important, but it is also the one that attracts so little notice. It is the expression of one’s will when one regularly wills something (Tönnies 1909, 8–10). He remarks that noted jurist Rudolf von Jhering had understood “practice” (Gewohnheit) as “social appearance” but overlooked the sociological significance of Sitte. It is the most important form of social will regardless of whether it applies to a loose confederation of individuals (Gesellschaft) or to a group of closely bound people (Gemeinschaft). Of course, Tönnies’s concern is primarily with the latter and so he naturally connects Sitte to the notion of “the people” (Das Volk). Sitte is the expression of the “social essential will” (“soziale Wesenwille”) (Tönnies 1909, 13–17). Its origins lay in tradition and its originator may have been regarded as a deity. It demands



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dutiful respect toward tradition and the elderly. Tönnies gives the Spartans as an example of a people who had a sense of Sitte “par excellence,” and he offers the Chinese as a “cultural people” who had and still have it (Tönnies 1909, 19–20, 54). Tönnies acknowledges the special relationship of Sitte to religion, but he also notes that, for many traditional cultures, religion is Sitte and is not dogma. Furthermore, he admits that there is frequently a struggle between old and new Sitten (Tönnies 1909, 25–8). He also draws a distinction between law and Sitte—the former is written, but the latter is unwritten (Tönnies 1909, 34). Instead of relying on the legal authority of rules, Sitte rests on the authority and “dominance” (Herrschaft) of the elders (Tönnies 1909, 36). Lest anyone accuse Tönnies of automatically embracing patriarchy, he emphasizes the role of women in the practice of Sitte (Tönnies 1909, 37–41, 46–9). It is in the household that Sitte is most prominent, but not as much in individual families as in the community. He makes this abundantly clear by insisting that Sitte always signifies the “community” (Gemeinschaft) (Tönnies 1909, 53). It indicates happiness and warmth, culture and protection. Its antithesis is brutal struggle (Tönnies 1909, 59–61, 63). He claims that Sitte and religion are conservative powers; thus they often appear to modern individuals as incomprehensible and lacking in sense (Tönnies 1909, 62). They are also typically connected with the land (Tönnies 1909, 70). This connection sets up Tönnies’s opposition between “Sitte” and “Mode”; the people of “Sitte” wear traditional costumes while the people of “Mode” wear the newest fads (Tönnies 1909, 76–7). “Mode,” or “fashion,” is connected to the cities and their inhabitants’ compulsive desire for the newest trends. Simmel had recently discussed this, and Tönnies explicitly mentions him (Tönnies 1909, 78–9). “Society” (Gesellschaft) is the carrier of modern, civilized and educated fashion, and thus stands in opposition to Sitte and “community” (Gemeinschaft). The people of the land appear “outmoded” and easy to ridicule, but in Tönnies’s opinion modern society is cold and artificial (Tönnies 1909, 86–7). It is unfortunate that in the name of economic progress the modern state demands that all of that which is “Heimatliche, Traute, Gemütlich” (“homeland, trusted, comfortable”) must disappear (Tönnies 1909, 89). It is also unfortunate that modern society will force “Sitte” to disappear. Tönnies concludes by citing Nietzsche’s belief that “Sitte” must go, but only the separate individuals will be left (Tönnies 1909, 94–5). The third reason Die Sitte is such an important book is how influential it was. Max Weber consulted it not only to examine Nietzsche’s criticisms of Sitte, but he also utilized Tönnies’s sense of Sitte as compulsion. This served as a fundamental impetus for Weber to develop his own notion of causality and then to apply it to his own legal theory (Turner and Factor 1994, 11–12, 80–90).

Tönnies’s Importance for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie The previous section showed how Tönnies moved from philosophical issues to the concern with the social question and social life. It also indicated how he started to view his work as a part of sociology. But sociology as an independent and respectable discipline had yet to come into being. Dirk Käsler, in his account of the pre–World War II

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, places sociology’s date of birth on 3 January 1909 (Käsler 1984, 294). That was the date that Tönnies, Weber, Simmel and six others met to form the DGS. It came into being in 1910 with the express purpose of fostering sociological knowledge through the establishment of purely scientific investigations, with their publication, and by periodically occurring conferences. In the interest of science, it also expressly banned the furthering of specific religious, ethical or political goals. The executive board consisted of Ferdinand Tönnies, Georg Simmel, Werner Sombart, Herman Beck, Philipp Stein and Alfred Vierkandt. The treasurer was Max Weber (Verhandlungen 1911, V–VI, IX). The first conference of the DGS was held in Berlin between 19 and 22 October 1910. Close to 30 people attended, and they heard nine papers on a variety of topics. Simmel spoke on the “Sociology of Sociability,” Sombart on “Technology and Culture” and Troeltsch on “Stoic-Christian Natural Law and the Modern Profane Natural Law.” Other papers were devoted to the topics of race, panic, economy and law and legal science and sociology. In contrast, Tönnies spoke specifically on the nature and purpose of sociology, as indicated by his title “Ways and Goals of Sociology” (“Wege und Ziele der Soziologie”) (Verhandlungen 1911, 17; Adair-Toteff 2005, 5, 18–19). Tönnies opened his address by proclaiming that sociology has a future. While it is relatively new, it has its origins as a philosophical discipline. However, he distinguished it from law and ethics, in that sociology has an affinity with medicine. Tönnies spoke of how doctors determine not only the nature of a patient’s illness; they also prescribe the means that will cure him (Verhandlungen 1911, 17–21). Similarly, he distinguishes sociology from those areas where people are concerned with what “should be” (“sein soll”). He calls those areas “future programs” (Zukunft-Programme) and announces that he will leave these aside, not because he looks down on them, but because the task of sociology is limited to the examination of “objective knowledge of the facts” (“objektive Erkenntniss der Tatsachen”) (Verhandlungen 1911, 23). While he acknowledges the worth of many other disciplines, he believes that sociology is crucial because it focuses on the study of human beings in their social conditions and their social changes. He concludes by drawing on Socrates’s dictum “to know oneself ” and Goethe’s employment of Alexander Pope’s claim that “the proper study of mankind is man”—and insists that it is the task of sociology to fulfill this study (Verhandlungen 1911, 24–37). It was an interesting paper, but what made it even more singular is that, unlike the others, there was no discussion of it. Instead, as chairman, Tönnies immediately turned the lectern over to Max Weber to give his treasurer’s report. The second conference of the DGS occurred two years later; it was held from 20 to 22 October 1912, in Berlin. In contrast to the first conference, Tönnies seemed content to remain mostly in the background. He did introduce Paul Barth, the second speaker, and more important, he made two extended comments. In the first, he expressly reminded the audience of the DGS’s scientific approach and its adherence to the principle of not making value judgments. In the second, he insisted that “the people” (Volk) is one of the original elements of social life and he contrasts that with the modern concept of the nation. The problem is that the modern person who is patriotic does not connect that patriotism with his people, but with the nation (Verhandlungen 1913, 49, 187).



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The plan was to hold the third conference in the fall of 1914, but the outbreak of the war prevented that. Nor was the time directly after the war favorable for the third conference. Instead, the DGS regrouped after ten years, and the third conference took place in Jena on 24 and 25 September 1922. As an indication of the financial difficulties plaguing the DGS (as well as all of Germany), a preliminary remark indicated that, in order to save money, no official stenographical record would be taken of the conference. Tönnies began his opening speech by reflecting on the turbulence of the previous years. The DGS had intended to continue having its conferences every two years, thus it had been scheduled for 1914. Because of the outbreak of the war the conference was postponed and the DGS went silent. There was an attempt in 1919 to resurrect it, but that failed. The response to a circular was weak; many of the intended recipients had given no forwarding address (Verhandlungen 1923, 1). The number of scholars who had died during the intervening years was not small and the impact on the DGS was great. Tönnies singled out the deaths of Simmel in 1918 and Max Weber in 1920 as especially devastating to the society. On 1 May 1920, Tönnies met with a few surviving members of the group in the hopes of reconstituting it. As he recalled, the DGS was basically dissolved and had to be begun anew. Tönnies emphasized his hopes that new blood would give it new life, and he stressed the importance of sociology. He insisted that the knowledge of social life is crucial to a dozen different fields and that it was the obligation of the DGS to continue the investigation into social groups and social relations. While scholars in other countries focused on applied sociology and pure social theory, Tönnies maintained that German sociologists concentrated on the important empirical type of sociology. This was the “inductive investigation” of social conditions, and such study would lead to better lives in Germany (Tönnies 1923, 25). There were only two speeches—one by Leopold von Weise and the other by Ludo Moritz Hartmann—and both were on revolution. And there were only nine active participants (Käsler 1984, 33). One gets the impression that the DGS managed to survive from 1914 until 1922 only through the persistent efforts of Ferdinand Tönnies. The fourth conference of the DGS occurred two years later, on 29 and 30 September 1924. The location was Heidelberg. Leopold von Wiese provided the preliminary remarks to the published proceedings, and in them he commented on the contrast between the previous conference and the present one. Because of the need for thrift, the proceedings of the third conference were published in a “thin little book” (“dunes Bändchen”) of 56 pages while the present one was 241 pages (Verhandlungen 1925, V). As president, Tönnies gave the opening speech and again he recalled the number of people who died during the previous two years. Among those Tönnies singled out for mention was Ernst Troeltsch. While he noted that Troeltsch was primarily regarded as a theologian and later as a philosopher, Tönnies emphasized Troeltsch’s importance for sociology—along with Max Weber, Troeltsch was the scholar who developed the sociology of religion (Verhandlungen 1925, 1–2). As the fourth conference indicated, the DGS had survived. The fifth DGS conference took place 26 to 29 September 1926, in Vienna, Austria. As customary, President Tönnies opened the conference with some words about the importance of Austrian sociologists, and he expressly named Ludo Moritz Hartmann and Friedrich Freiherr von Weiser (Verhandlungen 1927, 2). But, for the first time since the

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year 1910, Tönnies gave a speech. Along with Hans Kelsen, Tönnies spoke on the topic of democracy. For Kelsen, it was natural that he addressed the topic because he had published several major works on the nature of the state and in 1920 had even published a small work on the essence and value of democracy. For Tönnies, the topic might have seemed a slight departure from his usual topic—the social question. However, he made quite clear in his first paragraphs that he considered the function of the democratic state was to resolve the social question (Verhandlungen 1927, 12, 15). Tönnies insisted that the time for authoritarian states was long gone and their claim to divine justification was past (Verhandlungen 1927, 19, 28). Following Max Weber, Tönnies believed that the essential characteristic of the modern state is rationality, but, unlike Weber, he believed that the modern state is not yet “complete.” It can become “complete” only when it solves the fundamental problem of personal property (Verhandlungen 1927, 12, 28–31). He concluded by insisting that democracy’s economic foundation needs to be comprehensively reformed if it is to survive (Verhandlungen 1927, 36). This topic of property will continue to concern Tönnies for the next several years. The next DGS conference occurred in Zürich, Switzerland, from 17 to 19 September 1928. There were two major topics: Leopold von Wiese and the young Karl Mannheim spoke on competition, and Paul Hönigsheim and Franz Oppenheimer spoke on emigration. There were two subgroup meetings: the first was on methodology and Werner Sombart spoke on “understanding”; the second was on ethnological sociology and Richard Thurnwald spoke on the “origins of art.” Tönnies gave no lecture, but he did give the presidential speech and he made numerous comments on the other speakers’ papers. In his opening speech he noted that this was the first time that the DGS had met outside of Germany and Austria and he complimented the Swiss authorities for allowing the DGS to have its meeting there. Tönnies also used the occasion to draw a contrast between the Verein für Sozialpolitik and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie; the former was much older and much larger, but it was founded to address political goals. In contrast, the DGS was a strictly scientific association and tended to avoid making value judgments (Verhandlungen 1929, 1). Tönnies’s point about the impartiality of the DGS would not have been lost among those attending in neutral Switzerland. As he had done in the previous conferences, Tönnies commented on the loss of some members. In particular, he singled out Max Scheler; Tönnies acknowledged that Scheler was impulsive and had a rather strange approach to scholarship, yet praised him for his sociological interests and his fight against Nietzsche’s growing influence. In a very personal way, Tönnies also called attention to the fact that the year was the 250th anniversary of Spinoza’s death (Verhandlungen 1929, 4–5). The DGS met for the seventh time. This conference was held in Berlin from 28 September to 1 October 1930. In his opening address, Tönnies emphasized the firm establishment of international sociology, and he did so by pointing to the renewal of the International Institute for Sociology and by remarking on the passing of three corresponding members of the DGS. The first was Swedish, the second was Italian, and the third was German. This last scholar was Kuno Francke, who moved to the United States in 1884, eventually becoming a full professor at Harvard. In recognition of Francke’s worldwide reputation, Harvard named a professorial chair in his honor (Verhandlungen



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1931, 2–3). At this conference, two major lectures and ten papers were presented in the various subgroups. Tönnies presented a paper on “Social-graphic” (Soziographie), by which he meant a fusion of old-style and new-style statistics. The old style was a type of “demographics” with a newer version of collecting facts regarding social life (Verhandlungen 1931, 197–203). Tönnies underscores the problems in applying a statistical approach to unclear concepts like the “city.” He proposed three specific marks for a city: economic exchange, political autonomy and intensive “intellectual” life. He recommended an approach to concepts that he had formulated in 1887. What Max Weber called “ideal types” Tönnies preferred to call by another name. In light of the negative connotations that came with the term “ideal,” he named them “normal concepts” (Verhandlungen 1931, 206). Planning for the eighth DGS conference began in May 1931, and the conference was scheduled for September of the following year in Tönnies’s home city of Kiel. The conference was postponed until March 1933. This was further delayed, largely because of an increasingly bitter fight over the Nazification of the DGS. Tönnies announced that he had long intended to resign and that he was finally doing so (Käsler 1984, 513–25). The DGS began to disband, and it would not be reconstituted until several years after the war. Fourteen people attended two of the DGS conferences, six people attended three, and two people attended four. Three people attended five: Werner Sombart, Robert Michels and Leopold von Weise. However, only Ferdinand Tönnies was present at all seven of the conferences held from 1910 to 1930 (Käsler 1984, 34–5, 606). The DGS was begun with the massive help of Tönnies, and it continued mostly through his great efforts (see Käsler 1981, 234). When it became evident that some scholars wished to make the DGS into a propaganda machine for Nazism, Tönnies realized that his efforts to keep the DGS focused on scientific investigations were no longer sufficient, and he ended his relationship with the DGS.

Tönnies’s Later Sociological Importance Ferdinand Tönnies not only devoted himself to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, he also devoted himself to writing about sociology and the social question. A glance at the list of his writings shows how many works he composed and how often he wrote, but here the focus can only be on a few selected works (see Tönnies 1929, XIII–IX; 1998, V–VII). These are chosen with the purpose of showing how Tönnies continued to work on these ideas and how he tried to advance sociology as a legitimate science. In 1931, Alfred Vierkandt published the Handwörterbuch der Soziologie (Vierkandt 1931). The fact that he could publish such a book indicates how far sociology had come since the end of the war. Since then, several universities adopted sociology as a discipline, and publishers seemed more receptive to books about sociology. Vierkandt’s book included 37 authors, and while most of them contributed only one entry, a handful wrote more. Vierkandt himself authored five entries, as did Theodor Geiger, and Werner Sombart wrote six. Tönnies wrote four, including the lengthy entry on “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” This entry is important because he does not simply repeat portions of his famous book, but he sets out some crucial developments of that work.

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In the entry “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft,” Tönnies explains that it is sociology’s task as a special science to examine a special object. Sociology’s special object is mankind, but not the study of mankind’s physical or mental being. Rather, it is the study of the social conditions of mankind (Tönnies 1931a, 184, 180). He sets out four fundamental differences that govern social interactions. First, how well do we know somebody? Tönnies deliberately frames this in terms of gender. Obviously, the better we know someone, the better we can relate to that individual. This leads to other differences: the second is whether we feel sympathy or antipathy toward the individual. Tönnies’s point is that the more we know someone, the stronger our feelings are toward that person. This is true whether we have a greater sense of sympathy or whether we have a greater sense of antipathy. The third point relates to trust and mistrust. Obviously, the more sympathetic we are to the person, the more we are likely to trust her; the more antipathy we have toward the person, the more we are likely to mistrust him. The fourth difference is focused on bonding. If we are “bound” to someone, we are likely to “naturally” fulfill our obligations to her. The opposite is “freedom,” by which Tönnies means the lack of the sense of being bound. Following what he had set out in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies believes that this “freedom” is “artificial” (Tönnies 1931a, 180–3). This artificial sense of freedom is found in the Gesellschaft, and the relationships found there are also artificial. In contrast, the bonding among members of the Gemeinschaft is natural; the bonding is natural because it is familial (Tönnies 1931a, 187). This emphasis on the family should come as no surprise because Tönnies’s second important entry in Vierkandt’s book is devoted to that topic. A quick glance at the opening paragraphs of Tönnies’s article on the family might suggest that he was an old-fashioned patriarch and not one of the founders of modern sociology. He maintains that marriage is the binding of the wills of two people and that the express purpose of marriage is procreation and the raising of the child. He notes also that marriage is not just a matter between two people, but has repercussions throughout society and also affects the state. That is why the state has a vested interest in furthering marriage and fostering the notion that it is not proper to have a child out of wedlock (Tönnies 1931b, 122–3). Any such conclusion is immediately disproved because he moves to discuss the “idea” of marriage and the belief that marriage is a lifelong commitment. First, he insists that marriage is between two equal “wills”—he does not suggest that one should dominate. Second, he notes that marriages end for several reasons; through death or through divorce. He notes further that unhappy marriages often produce unpleasant effects on the larger society, through conflict and abuse. And he objects to the practice of vilifying stepmothers, stepfathers and stepchildren because it is mostly unwarranted (Tönnies 1931b, 124). In his examination of the notion of marriage he concentrates on the conditions that make a good marriage. It is often a matter of the couple sharing the same religious beliefs and the same outlook on life; it is also often a matter of having similar convictions about the raising and the educating of children. And it is often a matter of having the right parents who, by having good marriages themselves, provide a realistic model for the young couple to follow (Tönnies 1931b, 126–7). He also focuses on the problems and difficulties that often lead to the dissolving of the marriage union, and he locates the sources of many of these problems in the worsening economic



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and social conditions of modern capitalism. The man is often away from the house to work, and in his “free” time he frequently seeks “social joy” (gesellige Freude) at the tavern. Meanwhile, the wife feels neglected and is forced to raise the children mostly by herself (Tönnies 1931b, 127). This leads to further problems, with alcoholism for the husband, with depression for the wife and with neglect and illness for the children (Tönnies 1931b, 128–9). These are some of the pathetic results from the introduction of modern capitalism; add to them the disastrous effects from the war and its aftermath. Given all of this, Tönnies was right to warn of the increasing problems confronting the modern family (Tönnies 1931b, 131). Tönnies had concluded the entry on “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft” with his emphasis on the importance of the “social question” for modern society, so it was not surprising that the third entry was on classes. He allows that the notion of class is connected with politics and morality, but his primary concern here was with the facts of economic life. Tönnies first discusses the higher class, which was made up of “worldly” and “spiritual” nobles. He differentiates between those who belong by virtue of their birth and those who belong by virtue of their profession (Tönnies 1931c, 617–19). However, his interest is primarily on the lower classes; that is, the class without property. These are the workers who have no capital and little money; about the only thing they can offer is to work (Tönnies 1931c, 622–5). This disparity between the wealth of the higher class and the poverty of the lower class leads Tönnies to examine class warfare at length. Unlike Sombart, who changed his mind frequently about the proletariat, and, unlike many working-class theorists, who had no realistic plans for solving the proletariat’s problems, Tönnies is vitally interested in first understanding the nature of the problems and then providing possible solutions to them (Tönnies 1931c, 632–7). But this article was not the place to discuss either part, and he concludes by briefly mentioning the connections between modern “mobile” riches (capital) and the traditional “immobile” riches (property). This leads to Tönnies’s fourth contribution to Vierkandt’s book—the one on property. Tönnies begins by noting that we think of things belonging to us in many ways. In one sense, we think of having “ownership” of them, but that can be said to apply to many different things. Thus, while we do not tend to say that the tail, the bones and the teeth belong to the dog, we do say that it is his tail, his bones and his teeth. In a similar way, it seems odd to say that the clothes, the wig or the false teeth belong to the person, but again we do say that they are his clothes, his wig and his false teeth (Tönnies 1931d, 106). Thus ownership is slightly different than merely having something “belong” to somebody; and this is especially the case in regards to property. Tönnies believes that property can be possessed in three ways: “communal” (gemeinschaftliche), “individual” (individuelle) or “societal” (gesellschaftliche). The first is often thought of as pertaining to the “fatherland,” but this is mostly an historical use. The second is a contemporary usage and commonly refers to private property. Tönnies mentions that private property is often connected with specific needs; unfortunately, he does not spell out what he means here, but he does so in his book Eigentum. The third type is “societal,” and he connects it with the state and the crucial concept of law (Tönnies 1931d, 109–12). Again, he does not elaborate fully, but he does so in his earlier book.

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In Eigentum Tönnies traces some of the history of German laws regarding property. He begins with the early versions in which property owners are left pretty much to their own beliefs concerning how to use their property. He says that under this type of law it is not against the law to let the house go to ruin or to make it into a rental property that is worse than a pig stall. It is, however, against the law to set the house on fire. Tönnies’s point is that property laws are rather lax, except when it comes to how the person’s use or abuse of the property conflicts with what the state wants (Tönnies 1926b, 5–7). He then contrasts this belief with the claim that owning property is a “crime,” and he observes that some critics have compared it with slavery. He noted that many of those who had supported slavery in the past regarded themselves as “good Christians,” and he suggests that those who support private property rights today no doubt think that their position is equally justified (Tönnies 1926b, 10–16). However, he points out that property is used as a basis for increasing capital, and that means increasing money. He then contrasts “real” property with “ideal” money, and he complains that most capitalists want a government that does nothing more than protect their property and monetary interests; that is, a “night-watchman” (Nachtwächter) state (Tönnies 1926b, 22, 24). Fortunately, there are those who believe that the state can and should do more; that is, to guarantee that every German is entitled to a “healthy” apartment and that all families are entitled to have their specific economic needs met (Tönnies 1926b, 38). It is important to note that in this book, Tönnies moves from a brief survey of legal doctrine to a more general critique about private property. But he makes rather clear when he is moving from a scholarly examination to political opinions. This is one of his cardinal virtues, one that he adhered to throughout most of his life. The last work to be considered is Tönnies’s Einführung in die Soziologie. This book covers all four of the areas that he addressed in Vierkandt’s collection, but it also covers much more. Accordingly, he writes about various types of social interactions, social relationships and social groups (Tönnies 1931e, 34–132). He also writes about economic values, political values and ethical social values (Tönnies 1931e, 133–76). He also covers social norms, which he divides into law and morality (Tönnies 1931e, 187–255). Finally, he discusses economic, political and “spiritual” factors and how they affect society (Tönnies 1931e, 269–311). What may be of even more interest is his “preface” because there he deals with four possible objections to his book. First, he notes that some may object to his emphasis on theoretical sociology, but he believes that it is the most helpful in clarifying social concepts. Second, he observes that some may object that this is not an introduction to sociology, but rather is an introduction to Tönnies’s own sociology. But there really is no answer to this claim. Third, they may object that his theoretical work does not address current political problems, but that was never Tönnies’s intention. Finally, critics can complain that his introduction is incomplete. His response is to point out that there are a number of important sociologists, not just contemporary ones like Alfred Vierkandt, Werner Sombart and many others. But a proper list would also include above all the recently deceased Max Weber and Georg Simmel and older thinkers such as Rudolf von Jhering and Karl Marx (Tönnies 1931e, V–IX). Einführung in die Soziologie is a good introduction to Tönnies’s later thinking about sociological concepts and methods. But it is obvious that he has built on Gemeinschaft



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und Gesellschaft with his continued use of terms like Kürwille and Wesenwille and especially Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Tönnies 1931e, 1–15). The book does have an additional interesting point. On the title page, just under his name, is the following: “President of the German Society for Sociology” (“Präsident der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie”). Einführung in die Soziologie is not only a work reflecting his earlier and later sociological thinking, it is also an indication of his sense of pride in helping to lead the DGS.

Tönnies and the German Sociologists This chapter began by referring to Sombart, Troeltsch, Simmel and Weber, so it may be fitting to conclude by briefly exploring Tönnies’s relationships with his fellow German sociologists from the DGS. Tönnies had mixed feelings about Werner Sombart, and they come through clearly in his review of the first edition of Sombart’s Der moderne Kapitalismus. On one hand, he praises Sombart for wanting to resolve the conflict between theory and practice and for wanting to provide a history of the development of capitalism. However, he has serious doubts about Sombart’s differentiation between economic forms and about his contrast between smaller and larger workplaces. But Tönnies has a much more general and more damning view of Sombart’s work—he believes that Sombart is too hasty to form generalizations and he likens Sombart’s rush to generate ideas to a massive rainfall (Tönnies 1929, 424, 429, 432). In contrast, Sombart has almost exclusive praise for Tönnies. In the first volume of Der modern Kapitalismus, Sombart borrows Tönnies’s terminology from Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, and, in the second, he refers to it as “his epoch-making work” (Sombart 1902a, 60; 1902b, 142). In Der Bourgeois from 1913, Sombart again praises Tönnies for his “fine notion” of “usualness” (Gewohnheit), and he explicitly notes that he is employing the phrase “‘societal’ bindings” (“‘gesellschaftliche’ Bindungen”) in Tönnies’s sense (Sombart 1913, 22, 374). Troeltsch did not say much about Tönnies, but he did make a couple of important observations about him in Der Historismus und Seine Probleme. One of the greatest problems of history is the relationship between the individual and the general, and it is to Tönnies’s credit that he takes up this problem when he writes about the Wesenwille of the Gemeinschaft in contrast to the Willkür of the Gesellschaft (Troeltsch 1922, 44–6). He also praises Tönnies for employing a Hegelian dialect-dynamic in what had been a rather sterile “biological sociology” (Troeltsch 1922, 260). He also seems to have good words for Tönnies’s differentiation between the organic Gemeinschaft and the artificial Gesellschaft, but he seems to have reservations about Tönnies’s conservative ethical-political views. Troeltsch suggests that many of Tönnies’s weaknesses stem from his attempt to develop a sociology that is halfway between a comparative sociology and a teleological approach to universal history (Troeltsch 1922, 362–3). If Troeltsch did not have much to say about Tönnies, Tönnies had many things to say about Troeltsch, specifically about Der Historismus und Seine Probleme. Published in 1925, Tönnies’s essay is much more than a review of Troeltsch’s book; it covers most of modern history. Tönnies appears to have several problems with Troeltsch, beginning with Troeltsch’s attempt to keep sociology from replacing the discipline of the philosophy of

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history. In Tönnies’s opinion, this is rather futile. However, he believes that Troeltsch’s book has appeared at the “right time,” and he applauds him for tackling the “crisis of history.” For both Troeltsch and Tönnies, this phrase is just another one for the “crisis of modern civilization” (Tönnies 1925a, 381–2). Troeltsch appears to follow Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert in the search for a history of philosophy that focuses primarily on the individual, and he seems to follow the latter, especially with the attempt to devise a “system of values” (Tönnies 1925a, 388, 393–4, 421). But it does not appear evident what this system could be. What is clear is that Troeltsch does not believe in any Marxist type of historical materialism because it appears to replace Christian autonomy with historical determinism. In Tönnies’s opinion, it is unfortunate that Troeltsch never lived to write the second volume, in which he had promised to offer many answers (Tönnies 1925a, 381, 404). This leads to Tönnies’s second problem with Troeltsch. Troeltsch was a university professor and a Christian theologian, and he always sought a compromise. But, as Marx had shown, compromises are not always available or, indeed, wanted (Tönnies 1925a, 416–18, 429). In 1914, Tönnies reviewed Troeltsch’s Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen, and, while he confessed to not being an expert on Troeltsch’s subject, he believed that he had some important criticisms to make. He acknowledged the importance of the doctrine of natural law for Troeltsch, but he contended that Troeltsch exaggerated the differences between the notions of absolute and relative natural law. And Tönnies objected to Troeltsch’s including mysticism as one of the three types of social forms. Tönnies granted that church and sect were legitimate forms, but he insisted that mysticism was not—he contended that it was a radical form of individualism that rejected social groups (Tönnies 1929, 432–4). These two complaints were not new; Tönnies had made them earlier at the 1910 DGS conference (Verhandlungen 1911, 194–6). The fact that Tönnies felt it necessary to repeat them indicated how important he believed his criticisms to be, but he did not appear to appreciate Troeltsch’s notion of natural law and he seemed not to acknowledge the important types of communal mysticism. This review is a rare example of two of Tönnies’s failings: the tendency to repeat criticism and the tendency to offer opinions beyond his areas of expertise. Tönnies’s relationship with Simmel is rather clear; as much as he appreciated what Simmel had done for sociology, he had significant reservations about his methodology and especially about his appreciation for Nietzsche. In 1908, Tönnies wrote a lengthy article on the development of sociology in Germany for the “Festschrift” for the great Gustav Schmoller. His concluding comments focused primarily on Simmel, and he praised Simmel for many of his recent work, including his two-volume work on moral philosophy, his book on money and his writing on sociology. But Tönnies stated his dislike for Simmel’s “abstract” sociology and his attempt to return to the speculative philosophy of the past (Tönnies 1926a, 102–3). In his review of Simmel’s Ueber soziale Differenzierung, Tönnies complained that Simmel was uncertain about his subject and that his method was not the strongest (Tönnies 1929, 413). Specifically, he suggests that to talk about social “laws” is ill-advised, especially given the contrast with such laws of physics by Copernicus, Johannes Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton. Tönnies is also somewhat distrustful of Simmel’s suggestion that individual guilt can be assigned to a group (Tönnies 1929,



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415–17). And Tönnies has significant doubts about Simmel’s conclusion regarding the differentiation among social classes. Nonetheless, he praises Simmel’s “engaging small book” for its earnestness and scientific approach to a significant social problem (Tönnies 1929, 413, 422). Tönnies was an early admirer of Nietzsche, and he thought Nietzsche’s early writings were among the finest written. But he had a growing sense of apprehension about Nietzsche’s later writings, and he considered almost everything that Nietzsche wrote from Also Sprach Zarathustra on erroneous and even dangerous. Tönnies published a number of short reviews and writings discussing Nietzsche, and then, in 1897, he wrote a small book that was extremely critical of Nietzsche’s philosophy. In Der Nietzsche-Kultus, Tönnies warned of Nietzsche’s growing influence and he appealed to readers to reject it (Tönnies 1990, 9, 95–6). In contrast, Simmel’s philosophical concerns were originally with Kant, but he soon began to be interested in Nietzsche. Unlike Tönnies, he found much to value in all of Nietzsche’s writings. Consequently, Simmel published a rather critical review of Der Nietzsche-Kultus in which he praised Nietzsche’s philosophical insights and defended him from Tönnies’s charges of immorality and nihilism (Simmel 1897, 1645, 1651). The disagreement between Tönnies and Simmel was much greater than just about Nietzsche’s writings and influence; it was more about how Tönnies valued the traditional notions of community, love and trust while Simmel examined the modern problems of society with its conflicts and emphasis on the individual and on profit (Adair-Toteff 2016). The hardest relationship to characterize may be Tönnies’s relationship with Max Weber. There are those who think that Tönnies did not have a great opinion about Weber, and there are those who think that Weber did not have much use for Tönnies. However, Werner Cahnman, who wrote extensively about both, claimed that while there were some differences of opinion, Tönnies and Weber had great scholarly respect for each other. Otherwise, they would not have worked together as cofounders of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie and they would not have been “comrades-in-arms” in other fights. Cahnman claimed that they agreed about fundamental issues but that they disagreed about merely minor points (Cahnman 1995, 109, see 81). Weber was both privately and professionally close to Tönnies. Tönnies stayed with the Webers in Heidelberg during the Third International Philosophical Congress, which ran from 1 to 5 September 1908. The only thing that marred their private relationship occurred during the ongoing legal dispute that Weber had with Bernhard Harms. Tönnies himself was not involved, but he sided with Harms, who was his colleague at Kiel, rather than with Weber. This was not an ordinary conflict; it lasted for years and passions ran high. Originally, Weber was asked to help with a revised version of Gustav Schönberg’s Handbuch der Politischen Ökonomie, but Weber declined on various grounds, including that he believed that it should be a fundamental revision. Paul Siebeck concurred with Weber and asked Schönberg to consider, but he refused. Schönberg’s death meant that Siebeck was then free to do what he wanted, which was to have Weber produce a new edition. Weber finally accepted, and it was stipulated that it would no longer be the “Schönberg” but would be titled something entirely different. These changes were not to be just cosmetic; the number of volumes and the focus of the volumes would be completely altered. This became Weber’s Grundriss der Sozialökonomik (Schluchter 2009,  1–4, 18).

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As Schönberg’s “agent,” Harms sought to hold the J. C. B. Mohr (Siebeck) publishing company to the prior contract that had stipulated that Schönberg’s heirs would receive compensation. As a lawyer and a friend, Weber advised Siebeck that there was no legal need to do this because his Grundriss would no longer resemble the “Schönberg.” As a result of this legal conflict, there was both personal and professional animosity between Weber and Harms. Consequently, Weber faulted Tönnies for siding with Harms (Schluchter 2009, 9–11; Weber 1998, 2, 522–7, 788–800). However, for the most part, Weber valued Tönnies’s friendship and respected his personal opinions. In a letter to Tönnies dated February 19, 1909, Weber wrote of some rather personal matters—his relationships to politics and to religion—that in relation to the latter he was “unmusical” (Weber 1994, 63–6). We know that Weber had a high regard for Simmel’s sociological writings, so we can infer that he also had a high regard for Tönnies’s professional opinion from a number of points. In his capacity as one of the three editors of the Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, Weber was extremely interested in getting Tönnies to write an extensive review of Simmel’s Soziologie. In several letters Weber asked Tönnies to review this book; in the second, he acknowledged that Tönnies did not like to review books but still asked him because of the great importance of Simmel’s book (Weber 1990, 583, 607). Unfortunately, Tönnies declined. Weber thought highly of many of Tönnies’s writings. In the beginning of Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft Weber refers to Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as “factually above all the beautiful work” (“Sachlich vor allem das schöne Werk”), and he immediately contrasts it with the “terrible” book by Rudolf Stammler (Weber 1922, 1). He also thought highly of Die Sitte; in 1909, Weber wrote to Tönnies to thank him especially for this “little book” (“Büchlein”) that he read “with great interest and enlightenment” (“mit großem Interesse und Belehrung”) (Weber 1994, 237). In the same letter, however, Weber complained that Tönnies’s concepts such as “Wesen-Willens” are not only unclear, but appear laden with value judgments. He proposes that if Tönnies used more heuristic concepts such as his own “ideal types,” he would avoid both problems (Weber 1994, 237–8). Tönnies not only rejected this advice, but he continued to use such concepts for the rest of his life (Tönnies 1931e, 6–7). Max Weber is perhaps best known for his exploration of the importance of rationality for the West, but he was always ambivalent toward it. On one hand, he recognized its immense importance for the cultural and economic development of the West, but on the other hand, he was concerned that its domination could become so great as to diminish the non-rational forces in the world such as religion. Tönnies had no such ambivalence; as much as he appreciated rationality, he had a much greater regard, or even respect, for customs and traditions and he mourned the passing of the old ways. This may be illustrated in Tönnies’s contribution to the posthumously published two-volume Remembrance for Max Weber. In “Zweck und Mittel im sozialen Leben,” Tönnies concludes by dividing humans into three major groups: “homo oeconomicus,” “homo politicus” and “homo scientificus.” While he praises the third type, he has serious reservations about the first two. The “homo oeconomicus” strives for money and riches, thus Tönnies is against the capitalist (Bond 2013, 144, 158). The “homo politicus” seeks power and domination,



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but Tönnies sides with democratic legitimacy (Tönnies 1923, 205–7). Tönnies objects to modern society because it is fundamentally unjust and unequal and it goes against his communal view of Gemeinschaft. Weber was similarly ambivalent about capitalism. For much of his life he was preoccupied with offering a possible explanation of why capitalism arose only in the West, but he was not always convinced that it was the best economic framework. He did believe that it would continue to be the dominant form of economics for the future and that some of its faults were simply magnified in the planned economy of socialism. For Weber, striving for money and power is simply a fact of life, and to deny that is to deny reality. For Weber, Gesellschaft is the present way of life and it will be in the future; Tönnies’s view of Gemeinschaft belongs mostly to the past. Cahnman suggested that Tönnies was always hopeful about the future, whereas Weber was not (Cahnman 1995, 114). Weber readily admitted that he was not an optimist, but he was convinced that the human race would persevere. Tönnies and Weber may have had their differences of opinion about what type of future there would be, but they both believed in an important future for sociology. The difference was that Weber was not certain what that should be, while Tönnies never doubted that it could and would exist as a full-fledged science. Max Weber may very well be regarded as the most famous sociologist, but with his books and articles and especially with his long-term involvement with the DGS, Ferdinand Tönnies did more than anyone else, including Weber, to establish sociology as a reputable, scholarly science.

References Adair-Toteff, Christopher 1995, “Ferdinand Tönnies: Utopian Visionary?” Sociological Theory. Vol. 13, Issue 1. 58–65. Adair-Toteff, Christopher 2003, “Neo-Kantianism: The German Idealism Movement.” In The Cambridge History of Philosophy: 1870–1945. Edited by Thomas Baldwin, 27–42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Adair-Toteff, Christopher 2005, Sociological Beginnings: The First Conference of the German Society for Sociology. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Adair-Toteff, Christopher 2016, “Confronting Modernity: Tönnies and Simmel on the Early Reading of Nietzsche.” European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. Vol. 2. Issue 03/04, 345–59. Bernstein, Eduard 1906, Der Streik. Sein Wesen und sein Wirken. Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt, Rütten & Loening. Bernstein, Eduard 1910, Die Arbeiter-Bewegung. Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt, Rütten & Loening. Bond, Niall 2013, “Ferdinand Tönnies’ Appraisal of Karl Marx: Debts and Distance.” Journal of Classical Sociology. Vol. 13, Issue 1, 136–68. Buber, Martin 1906, “Prospekt.” In Bernstein 1906 (unpaginated). Cahnman, Werner J. 1995, Weber and Toennies: Comparative Sociology in Historical Perspective. Edited with an introduction by Joseph B. Maier, Judith Marcus and Zoltán Tarr. London: Transaction Publishers. Hegel, G. W. F. 1952, Phänomenologie des Geistes. From the original text. Edited by Johannes Hoffmeister. Hamburg: Verlag von Felix Meiner. Hegel, G. W. F. 1955, Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts. Edited by Johannes Hoffmeister. Hamburg: Verlag von Felix Meiner. Kant, Immanuel 1914, Die Metaphysik der Sitten. Berlin: Druck und Verlag von Georg Reimer. Kant’s Geammelte Schriften. Band VI.

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Käsler, Dirk 1981, “Der Streit um die Bestimmung der Soziologie auf den Deutschen Soziologentagen 1910–1930.” In Soziologie in Deutschland und Österreich 1918–1945. Materialien zur Entwicklung, Emigration und Wirkungsgeschichte. Edited by M. Rainer Lepsius, 199–244. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Käsler, Dirk 1984. Die frühe deutsche Soziolgie 1909 bis 1934 und ihre Entstehungs-Milieus: Eine wissenschaftssoziologische Untersuchung. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag. Landauer, Gustav 1907, Die Revolution. Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt. Rütten & Loening. Liebersohn, Harry 1988, Fate and Utopia in German Society, 1870–1923. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Lichtblau, Klaus 2012a, “Einleitung.” In Lichtblau 2012b, 7–26. Lichtblau, Klaus, Editor 2012b, Ferdinand Tönnies. Studien zu Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Wiesbaden: Springer. Merz-Benz, Peter-Ulrich 1995, Tiefsinn und Scharfsinn. Ferdinand Tönnies’ begriffliche Konstitution der Sozialwelt. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Schluchter, Wolfgang 2009, Max Weber. Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: Entstehungsgeschichte und Dokumente. Presented and edited by Wolfgang Schluchter. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Simmel, Georg 1897, “Ferdinand Tönnies, Der Nietzsche-Kultus: Eine Kritik.” Deutsche Litteraturzeitung. No. 43. 1645–51. Sombart, Werner 1902a, Der moderne Kapitalismus. Erster Band: Die Genesis des Kapitalismus. Leipzig: Verlag von Duncker & Humblot. Sombart, Werner 1902b, Der moderne Kapitalismus. Zweiter Band: Die Theorie der kapitalistischen Entwicklung. Leipzig: Verlag von Duncker & Humblot. Sombart, Werner 1906, Das Proletariat. Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt. Rütten & Loening. Sombart, Werner 1913, Der Bourgeois. Zur Geistesgechichte der modernen Wirtschaftsformen. München. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1880/1881, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: (Theoren der Kulturphilosophie). “Entwurf.” In Tönnies 1925b, 1–32. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1887, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: Abhandlung des Kommunismus und des Sozialismus als empirischer Kulturformen. Preface to the first edition. In Tönnies 1925b, 34–44. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1892? “Simmel, G., Ueber soziale Differenzierung.” In Tönnies 1929, 413–23. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1990, Der Nietzsche-Kultus: Eine Kritik. Leipzig: O.R. Reisland. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1899, “Einleitung in die Soziologie.” In Tönnies 1929, 65–74. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1902, “Sombart, Werner, Der moderne Kapitalismus.” In Tönnies 1929, 423–32. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1907, Die Entwicklung der Sozialen Frage. Leipzig: G. J. Göschen’ sche Verlagshandlung. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1908, “Entwicklung der Soziologie in Deutschland im 19. Jahrhundert.” In Tönnies 1926a, 63–103. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1909, Die Sitte. Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt. Rütten und Loening. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1912, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie. Preface to the second edition. In Tönnies 1925b, 45–57. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1914, “Troeltsch, Ernst, Die Soziallehren der christlichen Kirchen und Gruppen.” In Tönnies 1929, 432–8. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1919, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Preface to the third edition. In Tönnies 1925b, 58–64. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1920, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie. Berlin: Karl Curtius. Third revised edition. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1923, “Zweck und Mittel im sozialen Leben.” In Erinnerungsgabe für Max Weber. Edited by Melchior Palyi. München: Verlag von Duncker & Humblot. Band I. 235–70. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1925a, “Tröltsch und die Philosophie der Geschichte.” In Tönnies 1925b, 381–429. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1925b, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken. I. Jena: Verlag von Gustav Fischer.



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Tönnies, Ferdinand 1926a, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken. II. Jena: Verlag von Gustav Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1926b, Das Eigentum. Wien und Leipzig: Wilhelm Braumüler UniversitätsVerlagsbuchhandlung. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1929, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken. Third Collection. Verlag von Gustav Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931a, “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” In Vierkandt 1931, 180–91. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931b, “Familie: II. Die modern Familie.” In Vierkandt 1931, 122–31. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931c, “Stände und Klassen.” In Vierkandt 1931, 617–38. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931d, “Eigentum.” In Vierkandt 1931, 106–12. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931e, Einführung in die Soziologie. Stuttgart: Verlag von Ferdinand Enke. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1932, “Mein Verhältnis zur Soziologie.” In Lichtblau 2012b, 263–80. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1998 [1935], Geist der Neuzeit. In Ferdinand Tönnies. Gesamtausgabe Band 22. 1932–1936. 1–223. Edited by Lars Clausen. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Tönnies, Ferdinand 2001, Community and Civil Society. Edited by Jose Harris. Translated by Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Troeltsch, Ernst 1922, Der Historismus und Seine Probleme. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Turner, Stephen and Factor, Regis 1994, Max Weber. The Lawyer as Social Thinker. London: Routledge. Verhandlungen des Ersten Deutschen Soziologentages vom 20.-22. Oktober 1910 in Frankfurt am Main. 1911. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Verhandlungen des Zweiten Deutschen Soziologentages vom 20.-22. Oktober 1912 in Berlin. 1913. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Verhandlungen des Dritten Deutschen Soziologentages am 24. Und 25. September 1922 in Jena. 1923. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Verhandlungen des Vierten Deutschen Soziologentages am 29. Und 30. September 1924 in Heidelberg. 1925. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Verhandlungen des Fünften Deutschen Soziologentages vom 26. Bis 29. September 1926 in Wien. 1927 Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Verhandlungen des Sechsten Deutschen Soziologentages vom 17. Bis 19. September 1928 in Zürich. 1929. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Verhandlungen des Siebten Deutschen Soziologentages vom 28. September bis 1. Oktober 1930 in Berlin. 1931. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Vierkandt, Alfred, Herausgegeber, 1931, Handwörterbuch der Soziologie. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke Verlag. Weber, Max 1922, Grundiss der Sozialökonomik: Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Tübingen: Verlag von J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Weber, Max 1990, Briefe 1906–1908. Edited by M. Rainer Lepsius and Wolfgang J. Mommsen in collaboration with Birgit Rudhard and Manfred Schön. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Weber, Max 1994, Briefe 1909–1910. Edited by M. Rainer Lepsius and Wolfgang J. Mommsen in collaboration with Birgit Rudhard and Manfred Schön. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Weber, Max (1998), Briefe 1911–1912. Edited by M. Rainer Lepsius and Wolfgang J. Mommsen in collaboration with Birgit Rudhard and Manfred Schön. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck).

Chapter Two Ferdinand Tönnies and Georg Simmel Niall Bond

If we are to discount writers who did not actually call themselves sociologists—such as Karl Marx—Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–1936) and Georg Simmel (1858–1918) were the first German-speaking writers to leave a lasting mark on the nascent science of sociology. Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft appeared in 1887, eight years after his introductory article on Hobbes was published. A year later, in 1888, Simmel, whose doctorate and Habilitation in philosophy had dealt with Kant, published his first sociological article on problems of “social ethics,” following close on Tönnies’s methodological heels; this treatise was followed by a compact volume on “Social Differentiation” in 1890, which broke completely with the nineteenth-century, positivist tradition, pointing to the complexities of the reality of the psychological interplay of individuals (Simmel 1890). Tönnies may be said to have introduced individual relations based alternatively on emotional commonality or instrumental reason for ulterior motives into the focus of sociology. He thus introduced the theme of emotiveness to the social sciences—a topic that was to become dominant inside and outside Germany. Simmel accepted this basic theme and notably the consequences of purposive rationality for human intercourse—alienation—but from a more urbane vantage, streamlining it using the prism of Neo-Kantian logic. It was with the publication of a survey on Polish and German workers east of the Elbe in 1892 that Max Weber (1865–1920) moved from law, the discipline in which he received his first degree, to sociology, having started his studies in history with Theodor Mommsen. Max Weber followed the trails of Tönnies and Simmel but left deeper tracks. Given the negligible impact of an earlier, self-proclaimed sociological work published between 1875 and 1878, Bau und Leben des socialen Körpers by Albert Schäffle (1831–1903), on sociology within and beyond the German-speaking world (notwithstanding the author’s influence on Otto von Bismarck’s plan to insure workers), it can be said that Tönnies had published the founding work for the discipline in Germany, one even his detractor, René König, called the Grundbuch of sociology. The word Grundbuch means both land register and basic book; it was in this work that the discipline’s extent and orientation were staked out. After Tönnies, Simmel and Weber founded the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS) in 1909, Tönnies was described as the “Nestor” of the field and served as president of the society from 1909 until 1932. Here, we shall show that Georg Simmel in many respects developed his own sociology in response and as a reaction to Ferdinand Tönnies’s own

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sociological writings, belying the impression he seems to have wished to make that he was working in a discipline remote from all other human scientists of his age. Here we shall show that Tönnies was one source of stimulus among the dizzying gamut of authors with whom Simmel was deeply familiar. We may surmise that their differences in temperaments and values attract very different publics, which may explain why research has not focused on their relationship (cf. Bond 1991 and essays by Alexander Deichsel, Donald Levine and David Frisby in Rammstedt 1988). Tönnies and Simmel’s exchanges were marked by a courteous recognition more of distance than proximity in a relationship marked by competition and at times by envy. That the academic institution failed to recognize the seminal importance of both minds in the human sciences produced neither an intense nor lasting solidarity. They entered the field during a century in which “sociology,” along the lines of Auguste Comte, John Stuart Mill or Herbert Spencer, was associated with philosophies of history, which were also to be found in German Romanticism (Bond 2011a in Bond 2013), and they slid with the discipline into a century during which the rationale of social development was no longer sought in unilinear developments of social organisms. Simmel played a driving role in this paradigm shift, a shift that Tönnies had difficulties accepting right up to his final work, Geist der Neuzeit. They also responded differently to ideological debates, Tönnies as a “German moralist” of rural provenance and solid, often conservative values despite his sympathies for leftist thought, Simmel as an urbane philosopher open to a broader variety of perspectives; Tönnies as a socialist and Simmel as one who described socialism as an “egotism of all.” They both initially contemplated the possibility of conceiving sociology as a science that might imitate the certainties that quantitative “hard” sciences seemed to provide. Yet their development as social theorists offers a striking example of how they entered sociological speculation at the same time, with a similar set of references—Western sociology on one hand (Bond 2009), Schopenhauer (Bond 2011) and Nietzsche (Bond 2007) on the other—but with differing personal and ideological backgrounds, leading Tönnies to develop an ethos based on a yearning for community and the socialization of wealth through benevolent paternalism while Simmel formulated the “individual law” as an ethical principle. At the same time, Tönnies was attached to the idea that social development follows laws, while Simmel was attached to the absolute and unrepeatable individuality of historic events. Tönnies’s and Simmel’s social theories emerged from their interests in the intellectual history of moral philosophy, in contrast to that of Max Weber. Weber was at least as informed by the canons of social, political and economic philosophy, but his sociological categories issued from an original interpretation of the facts of social, economic and political history in the tradition of the historical school of German Nationalökonomik with which he was engaged in the Verein für Sozialpolitik. Political and social interests, conspicuous in the works and lives of Tönnies and Weber, are conspicuous more through their absence in the writings of Simmel, who came from pure philosophy and moved toward social psychology and an interest in (bourgeois) aesthetics in literature and the visual arts (Lichtblau 1997, 150ff.), on which Tönnies spent little time. The only common political ground that Tönnies and Simmel were to share were their national positions taken at the outbreak of the First World War on



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Germany’s cultural specificity and the political consequences that the defense of that specificity might imply. Another point of mutual interest is Tönnies’s and Simmel’s internationalism at the heyday of nationalism and jingoism, to which both succumbed prior to and during the First World War, and their engagements with the social sciences of the French-speaking world. While they shared interests in the relationship of history to regularities, Tönnies’s and Simmel’s understandings of sociology differed, and Simmel was convinced that he was the only person in Germany to pursue his science of sociology in his own meaning— that of a microscopic, specialized science of forms of socialization or Vergesellschaftung, as he wrote to Celestin Bouglé, a follower of Emile Durkheim, in 1899. But here he underestimated his own influence, for Tönnies allowed his own understanding of his terms to be influenced by what might be called the “micro-turn” Vierkandt later described: twentieth-century sociology no longer sought out the historic laws of the big picture, but contented itself with developing explanatory models for application in describing isolated phenomena in empirical reality past or empirical reality present. In Tönnies and Simmel, we see a progressive shift from philosophy to social theory to the social ­sciences. Mutual references in their writings are scant and give us only a fleeting idea of their mutual appreciation. Although Tönnies emphasizes his affinities between himself and Simmel and praises Simmel, he sees little influence of Simmel on his own thinking. What he no doubt fails to recognize is that Simmel, and through him Tönnies’s nemesis, Wilhelm Dilthey, so impacted the human sciences that readings of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, for example, by Max Weber, took on a new geisteswissenschaftlichen sense, implying a reinterpretation of Tönnies that Tönnies in the end to a large extent accepted (Bond 2012). At the same time, Tönnies observed that much of Simmel’s thought seemed to run parallel to his own. Simmel can surely be said to have borrowed a number of stimuli from Tönnies’s thought—to the extent that Tönnies’s thinking set the points for Simmel’s own sociology, notwithstanding very different epistemological and methodological assumptions. Still, Simmel’s reception of Tönnies’s thought is sometimes so distant as to verge on the ironic, for instance in his implicit, cursory and skeptical treatment of Tönnies’s philosophy of history in Simmel’s Grundfragen der Soziologie, published in 1917 (Simmel 1917).

Social Theory and Intellectual History Simmel and Tönnies pursue similar concerns and draw from at times identical sources; their authors of reference are Spinoza, Kant, Marx, Spencer, Schopenhauer and  Nietzsche, but the discrepancies between their receptions of these authors are as remarkable as their common ground. Although Tönnies first conceived of a “philosophy of culture” aimed at grasping the historical development of society as a whole, reminiscent of the constructs of Hegel, Marx, Comte and Spencer, and although his own social theory contains a nascent philosophy of history typical of the nineteenth century, it was possible for him and others to construe the significance of this work as the founding work of a modern, theoretical sociology in which types were created for descriptive application. The ambivalence of Tönnies’s youthful work was related to his attempt at

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achieving a heroic synthesis and conciliation of two contradictory intellectual movements, which Tönnies opposes in simplified form as rationalism and historicism (Tönnies 1979, xv). The contradictions between these two movements stemmed from assumptions as to the basis of human coexistence and from the possibilities science had to grasp this basis. Methodological, academic and ideological aspects of this tension accompanied Tönnies’s work and its reception from the nineteenth century, during which it emerged, to the twentieth century, during which it had various impacts. One reason for the opposition of historicism to rationalism was the relationship of theoretical constructions to interpreting reality in historic analysis. In the abstract economic and legal theory of modernity, pre-critical rationalism supposed an anthropologically constant human being gifted with rationality, whose rational pursuit of egotistical interests guaranteed social stability. Historicism turned against the partiality of this conception of the world and humans, the neglect of non-rational moments and the lack of clarity as to whether rational models were merely theoretical heuristic tools or whether they were normative and prescriptive. But while romantic historicists tended to declare that rationalist social theories were void, Tönnies was not prepared to sacrifice this recognition of rationality in social behavior on which modern life hinged. His solution to the dilemma was to juxtapose modern man, whose salient features he had taken from Hobbes, and premodern man, whose survival and social bonds did not depend on his egotistical weighing up of the most appropriate means for advancement but on an affective appurtenance to a community. This solution, he conceded, was itself historicist inasmuch as modernity is set in historic perspective. His philosophy of history was based on the belief that modernity constituted the mechanizing of organic forms of community in a general move toward decline and downfall. Rather than engage in antiquarian history as decried by Nietzsche, or what Dilthey referred to as the “loving immersion into the details of historic events,” Tönnies had set himself the task of founding a science intended to grasp the “iron laws” of social development, which he would later term “pure sociology” (in the subtitle of the second edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, which appeared in 1912). This methodological decision against recognizing the impossibility of “iron laws” may have been based on a number of considerations: the examples not just of Western positivism, but also of German romantic philosophies of history; the association of pure historiography in the German tradition with reactionary German politics; the promise that the natural sciences seemed to hold forth that a system of general laws from which reality might be deduced could allow for rational control of the world projection into the future, which, when related to norms, offered Tönnies the platform as a prophet; and possibly a position of rivalry with Wilhelm Dilthey at the University of Kiel, who was to become one of Simmel’s most important mentors in redirecting the paradigms of sociology toward philosophically informed Geisteswissenschaften, as evidenced in Simmel’s Die Probleme der Geschichtsphilosophie of 1892 (Simmel 1892). Tönnies’s understanding of history was influenced by Schopenhauer: “Taken by itself, history as a collection of facts is neither science nor philosophy. But it is both, inasmuch the laws of life of humanity can be discovered in it” (Tönnies 1979, xx). Although he was to write idiographic monographs on subjects such as Marx (Tönnies 1921)  or Schiller (Tönnies 1905), Tönnies never did justice to this purely idiographic part of his work in his own epistemology.



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With his broad, universal view of history, Tönnies formulated laws of the life of humanity according to which all original, affect-based community went through an irreversible process of rationalization toward a calculating, commercial society of egoists. Tönnies offers a synthesis of what he perceived as abstract and “manipulating” positivist sciences and intuitive historicism, suggesting that historicist approaches allowed us to understand community while rationalism allowed us to explain society (Tönnies 1979, 6). The epistemology was nationalist, insofar as rationalist theories came from advanced commercial societies, in contrast to the community spirit German contemporaries assumed prevailed in Germany. Tönnies’s attempt to create a synthesis of these opposed movements shows that he was torn between a responsible positivist and social liberal enlightenment with rational world mastery and his affects against the clerics, and the irrecoverable world of feeling prior to the modern, the social ethos of which was interpreted as an emotionally instinctive patriarchy. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft became popular among the educated bourgeoisie who sought erudite expressions for irrational longings for a declining patriarchy. Part of the work’s success is based on this ambivalence. Ernst Troeltsch noted that Dilthey also bore the burden of the coexistence of the souls of positivism and historicism (Troeltsch 1961, 517). Simmel’s sociology is the expression of Dilthey’s yearning for objectivity in the social sciences, and yet Dilthey had declared war on everything described as sociology prior to his own writings.

Wilhelm Dilthey as an Arbiter of Understanding in the Human Sciences Despite his opposition to contemporary sociology, Dilthey’s attempt to establish the salient features of Geisteswissenschaft had several points in common with Ferdinand Tönnies’s sociology. Like Tönnies, Dilthey felt that positivism as a movement and empirical rationalism fell short of reality and mutilated it, commenting that the veins of constructed rational subjects contained “not real blood, but the diluted juice of reason as a mere intellectual activity” (Dilthey 1883, xvii). Like Tönnies, he was convinced that the science of culture and society could be founded only through an anthropologically founded psychology, which grasped historical reality through the intermediation of the individual as a “component of a society” (Dilthey 1883, 39). However, Tönnies’s and Dilthey’s understanding of psychology varied substantially. Dilthey’s criticism, which Simmel, equally influenced by Nietzsche, took up, concerns the character of the individual as a component of society. Dilthey seeks to understand society and the individual in society. “I understand the life of society. The individual is […] an element in the reciprocal effects (Wechselwirkungen) of society, an intersection (Kreuzungspunkt) of the various systems of these reciprocal effects” (Dilthey 1883, 47). Tönnies may have taken this aspect of Dilthey’s observation on board when writing that all human relations were reciprocal (gegenseitig) inasmuch as they were given or inflicted by one party and received or suffered by another; however, he ignored the rest of Dilthey’s Einleitung, if he had read it. Dilthey’s understanding of society as a complex of the reciprocal effects of cultural systems, which themselves arise through the reciprocal effects of various individuals, led Dilthey to repudiate interpretations according to which the individual

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is merely a part of an organism or mechanism. “Real society is neither a mechanism, nor, as others imagine it more grandly, an organism” (Die wirkliche Gesellschaft ist weder ein Mechanismus, noch, wie andere vornehmer sie vorstellen, ein Organismus.) (Dilthey 1883, 154). Although Tönnies understands societies as composites of individuals, he continues a long tradition of social philosophies that regard the individual as a part of a mechanism or an organism. And this cannot be dismissed as a mere symptom of the intellectual currents of nineteenth-century thought, which were of little consequence for Tönnies’s theory, given that it is of such central significance for Tönnies’s sociology and his theory of history and, consequently, ideology. Tönnies significantly confuses cohabitation in a patriarchal community and understanding, which he calls Verständnis. Although Tönnies regards society as the product of the acts of volition of individuals, he presents society as an organism, and his philosophy of history, with its inexorability and concomitant pathos, depends on a belief in its organic quality and in the notion of collective decline to be valid. He had borrowed his categories of volition from Spinoza and Schopenhauer, and his focus on the individual will as the basis of sociability and socialization may make Tönnies appear as a precursor to both Simmel’s notion of Vergesellschaftung and to Max Weber’s methodological individualism. However, Tönnies’s diagnosis of modernity as the result of a process of rationalization that can be described as a collective process of aging throws Tönnies back to the philosophies of history that Dilthey decried in its forms of romantic philosophies of history and positivist sociology. Dilthey criticized analogies to organisms and mechanisms and linear schemes for describing societal development, which usually reveal the theoretician’s unawareness of the subjectivity of the viewpoint from which he adopted his measures. He attacked the sociological ambition to predict history as a “gigantic pipedream” (“gigantische Traumidee”) (Dilthey 1926, 107). Dilthey nowhere specifically disparages Ferdinand Tönnies’s own philosophy of history. Although they both taught at the University of Kiel, their relationships seems to have been one of weary tolerance. Tönnies’s comments on Dilthey in his private correspondence were far from flattering, but Tönnies did acknowledge that Dilthey had been right to point to the limits of the validity of previous social theoretical efforts in projecting the future development of society as a whole—while at the same time intimating that anyone would have been forced to recognize that his own unilinear construction from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft was obviously true. In later editions of his Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften, Dilthey, having seen the clearly circumscribed regularities Georg Simmel was keen on presenting in his formal sociology, acknowledged that perhaps regularities could be established by a nomothetic sociology that drew up regularities, provided that those regularities be used to describe reality as it unfolded rather than to project it willy-nilly on some remote future. But Dilthey tellingly did not include Tönnies’s sociology in the expurgated sociology. It was Simmel, and to an even greater extent Max Weber, who were to render Tönnies’s key concepts operable for future sociology. Tönnies took little account of the paradigm shifts Dilthey introduced to the human sciences, of such influence on Simmel, or Rickert in his exchanges with Weber. But Tönnies offered an important point of departure with regard to both substance—the internal or psychological motives of those engaged in Vergesellschaftung, or socialization,



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for Simmel, or for “social action” for Weber—and method, at least for Simmel, whose earliest ideas on quantitative determination were close to Tönnies’s German positivism.

The Quantitative Determination of the Social Group Tönnies’s model in the human sciences had been Thomas Hobbes; it should be recognized that Tönnies’s agenda had been less to render Romanticism palatable for the international social sciences than to render outside thinkers acceptable for Germany’s human sciences, in which historicism was the prevalent paradigm and in which, for example, John Stuart Mill was disregarded. Tönnies had been struck by Hobbes’s desire to emulate Euclid’s understanding of geometric corollaries in the human sciences and by Spinoza’s Ethica More Geometrico Demonstrata. He arrived at a conception of the quantitative determination of the social group and a geometric discussion of the constitution of the social group, with which Simmel may or may not have been familiar when he wrote on the subject. The similarity of their early thought in this respect is all the more striking when we take account of the paradigm shifts Simmel and Weber introduced into sociology in the wake of Dilthey and Rickert. In the tradition of moral geometry, the notion of “central” was itself central in the early development of sociology in Germany. As a metaphor, the idea, “central,” is, of course, a value judgment, which should give us pause for thought as to the respective values of Tönnies and Simmel. Tönnies was born at the point of crossing of various social circles: the Duchy of Schleswig was a protectorate of the Danish Crown, but really lost its autonomy only when it was integrated into the German Reich after 1865, at which point Berlin became the center. The center of world commerce was London at the time, in a sense the capital of Weltgesellschaft; Tönnies was skeptical of both centers, and his sympathy lay with the marginalized. His fear for the development of humanity lay in the evening out through the cultural homogenization of the periphery following the model of the center, in contrast to Herbert Spencer’s prediction of increasing differentiation. While Wesenwille was particular, the Kürwille of abstract man was identical throughout the world. Humans lost their individuality through the abandonment of particularity through imitation in the logic of network power, and were also prone to having their particularity taken from them through hierarchical superiors in the logic of Gleichschaltung. Tönnies employed the metaphor of the circle in the first version of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, which he submitted to obtain the Habilitation or professorial qualification in 1881; the thesis was incidentally rejected, leading Tönnies to write to Friedrich Paulsen that he assumed that his supervisor, Benno Erdmann, simply had not understood it; however, Tönnies’s essays on Hobbes were accepted in its stead. Tönnies’s intent was not to point out the particularity of events, which were dealt with by history, but the repetition of events with their impact on conditions or circumstances (Tönnies 1880/81, 33). While historical sciences described factual events of the past, Tönnies’s interest was in cause and effect; he identified this interest as philosophical in the title, a “Theory of Cultural Philosophy” (ibid., 33). Apart from establishing general rules, Tönnies opines, the philosophers aimed at defining an “ideal in life” that was “valid and binding for all those who share their appreciation of life” (ibid., 37).

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Tönnies’s interest in man led him to those sciences that taught about man’s soul and will—primarily psychology and logic. While the terms Soziologie, Völkerpsychologie or Gesellschaftswissenschaft had been in the discussion, Tönnies preferred the term KulturPhilosophie, with its concern with man’s ethical notions and inclinations. It is at the end of the paper that Tönnies arrives at his primary interest, which is to present two “directions of the wills” of human subjects and their causal relations. He starts from the assumption that our wills are not arbitrary (un-willkürlich) and that we have no choice but to avoid pain and seek pleasure (45). However, wills become less independent when the nexus between the elements of imagination and the wishes in which they are contained is made to loosen and becomes more conscious (47). (This fundamental idea for understanding Tönnies’s basic psychological concepts came from Schopenhauer.) Relations may be seen as based on hostilities and the desire to inflict pain, and based on the desire to provide pleasure (53) (an argument derived from Schopenhauer’s moral doctrine). The most extreme form of the former is the state of bellum omnium contre omnes (as formulated by Hobbes), and of the latter the state of eternal peace (as formulated by Kant). It is here that Tönnies observes two trends: one to refrain from hostilities for the sake of the relationship per se (A), and the other to refrain from hostilities for the sake of avoiding hostilities inflicted by the other party (B); Tönnies calls A Gemeinschaft and B Gesellschaft. A is depicted as concentric circles, the number and strength of which are indirectly proportional to the length of the radius (i.e., the closer, the greater the readiness to do favors or offer services (Leistungen), the further away, the greater the hostility), and B as a relationship in which the furthest away, the greater the readiness to provide services (Leistungen) (54ff.). Although by 1887 Tönnies abandoned this attempt at moral geometry, which was one of the least convincing parts of his essay, he remained convinced of the validity of laws in the human sciences (Tönnies 1979, book 3, §7, 49), and continued to try to develop social physics in the tradition of Auguste Comte and Adolphe Quetelet (Bond 2009). For instance, in his Einführung in die Soziologie, Tönnies wrote that individual relationships could only move from those of community to those of society, comparing this development to a “cooling off ” as found in nature (“Abkühlung”) (Tönnies 1931, 63). At the beginning of his career as a social philosopher, Georg Simmel showed some interest in geometric metaphors as a basis for generalizations. Simmel commences his Bemerkungen zu sozialethischen Problemen of 1888 with a discussion of the parallel differentiation of social “circles” through their expansion, observing that individualization keeps pace with the expansion of the circle and concluding that the greater the dissimilarity of the elements of two groups, the greater the resemblance between the two groups (Simmel 1888 in Simmel 1989, 20); this observation anticipated his later reflections on big cities. Simmel saw this differentiation in competition, the union of the weak against the strong, which created an international sympathy among aristocrats irrespective of their cultural content and the usual concomitant sympathy and antipathy (ibid., 20ff.) through a “centripetal” repulsion inside the groups and a “centrifugal” attraction bridging them to members of other groups (ibid., 21). Although Simmel showed some attraction toward a generalizing social science inspired by geometry or physics in his earliest writings, he was to distance himself from such an approach as early as 1890 with the publication of



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Über sociale Differenzierung, Sociologische und psychologische Untersuchungen. In his introduction, he explains why the human sciences cannot emulate physics, given the complexity of latent and effective forces on individuals, a complexity amplified through interactions between the individuals (Simmel 1890, 118). Hence, putative “laws” observed in human beings are regularly disproved by their opposites, just as intense love to the few may either open up an individual’s heart to a broader group of people or close it off (ibid., 119). “Neither in metaphysics nor in psychology can one observe the unambiguity of a rule of science, but to the contrary, the possibility of juxtaposing every observation or probability with the opposite” (ibid., 120). Errors arise “either when a partial truth is generalized to an absolute truth or when the observation of facts leads to a conclusion as to the whole which would have been impossible if the observation had been extended further” (ibid., 120). The principle that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is thus no more universally valid than “out of sight, out of mind.” So many processes play a role in a person’s soul that all attempts to establish causal relationships between simple psychological concepts such as the aforementioned were invariably one-sided (ibid., 122). After studying Dilthey, Simmel was to go into greater depths as to the impossibility of deducing meaning from general rules in his Die Probleme der Geschichtsphilosophie, which stressed the impossibility of deducing the particular from the general. When the metaphor of the circle reemerges in Simmel’s discussion of “the crossing of social circles” in his more voluminous work on sociology, it is again in order to repudiate the homogeneity of regularities in social development by pointing to the potential infinite heterogeneity of crossing social circles (Simmel 1908). The development of social models on the basis of examples found in geometry and physics had inspired Tönnies, as had the application of the anatomical metaphor of the organism, and was to do so until his demise. The methodological problems that such a transfer implied had been a matter of debates over the differences between the “natural” and the “human” sciences from the end of the eighteenth century onward. Tönnies was the self-acknowledged sociologist who introduced emotion and “essential will” into a field of sociology hitherto dominated by a largely utilitarian outlook. Georg Simmel was the self-acknowledged sociologist who introduced a circumspect analysis of the limitations of paradigms from the natural sciences into sociology. Simmel drew the consequence that it was impossible to speak of “laws of social development,” and in his critique of Simmel’s work, Tönnies explicitly repudiated Simmel’s conclusion (Tönnies 1929, 414). Simmel regarded Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as representative of the unilinear theories of societal development based on a reified conception of society.

Founders Divided by a Common Discipline in the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie Notwithstanding these differences in fundamental assumptions, Simmel became a close ally of Tönnies, Sombart and Weber in the foundation of the German Society for Sociology. Their relations seemed cordial apart from fleeting expressions of envy. But they remained divided as to what sociology could and should do. One central question was how society was possible. Yet another was the scope of sociology, which Tönnies

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sought to limit to relationships of mutual affirmation. Another was whether the development of societies as reified entities could be ascertained or predicted according to rules or laws.

How Is Society Possible? Both Tönnies and Simmel posed the question as to how society was possible. However, Tönnies’s inspiration came from Hobbes, whereas Simmel put the question in the Kantian tradition. Tönnies took the question from Hobbesian natural law—the rational basis for social peace among emotionally detached people lay in a compact among all individuals pursuing their egotistical wills in the spirit of reason—into a historical, empirical social science, complementing the theories of self-interested rationality typical of theories of society with an organic sense of affective appurtenance to a community. His own individual biographical experience and the consciousness typical of his epoch of mounting and inexorable rationality led him to draw a trajectory from the general rise in society of purposive rationality to the individual experience of the rise of calculation in human individuals and individual relationships. This gives the individual relationship and its bearers a constitutive role as the smallest social unit. Both community and society repose on the multifarious relationships of “human wills”; “every effect is a reciprocal effect inasmuch as it is inflicted or given by one side and suffered or received by the other side” (Tönnies 1979, 3). “How are mutual psychological effects of individuals on one another possible?” is the question with which Simmel commences his sociological studies (Simmel 1890, 3). Like the formulation of his question, his answer is inspired less by Hobbes than by Kant, as it was in his “excursion” on the question as to “how is society possible” in his larger sociology (Simmel 1922, 21). The attempt to give the concept of society a foundation that exceeds the “mere sum of the individuals” (Simmel 1890, 10) leads Simmel to “dissolve the soul of society in the sum of the reciprocal effects (Wechselwirkungen) of its participants”; this breaking down of society is part of the general movement of “modern intellectual life as a whole—dissolving what is solid, constant and substantial into function, force and movement and recognizing in every state of being the historical process of its becoming” (Simmel 1890, 13). “The recognition that humans in their entire being and all expressions are determined by the fact that they live in relationships of reciprocal effect with other humans must lead to a new way of seeing things in all so-called sciences of the mind (Geisteswissenschaften)” (Simmel 1922, 2). Simmel declares that the breaking down of society into social relationships and the social relationships into the reciprocal effects of their bearers is methodologically the “rational foundation of the science of society” (Simmel 1890, 11). Although Tönnies opened Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft with similar considerations, Simmel clarifies his thoughts are inspired by Dilthey. For Simmel takes this differentiation much further. He does not stop at considering the society as an aggregate of reciprocal effects or acts of will between human subjects; instead, he breaks down the human individual soul into a plurality of overcrossing, competing or mutually reinforcing individual elements, the reciprocal effect of which can be analyzed by individual psychology and by sociology. Here, Simmel takes leave of



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Tönnies. The individual is no longer considered the organically integrated member of an original community or as a calculating bearer of modern society, but as an intersection—­ Kreuzungspunkt—of social circles, such as those of family, profession, nationality, social status and clubs—which lay claim to him in various and often competing or conflicting ways in a “system of coordinates” (Simmel 1890, 100ff.; 1922, 24ff.) The infinite subtle variations of elements of milieu determine not just the variability of humans, but also individuals’ justified claims of “a deepest point of individuality” (Simmel 1922, 24). Sociologists have to take account of this individuality of constellations of Vergesellschaftungen—social relationships and social circles—in the microscopic contemplation of “all of the thousands of momentary or lasting, ephemeral or consequential relationships which play out from one person to another” (Simmel 1917, 13); however, this new form of contemplation also liberates the sociologist from the constraints of pursuing comprehensive systems of social logic, providing the new sociologist with the freedom of hovering over social reality, a vantage from which the sociologist can sweep down on social phenomena as they unfold. Simmel enjoys the freedom from the dogma that Tönnies imposed on himself of seeking out the same conceptual opposition between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft and of having to bend all evidence to prove that social development moves inexorably from community to society. Tönnies’s sociology and ideology were an alloy of youthful alienation and social commitment poured from a single mold; Simmel’s work is durchkomponiert, consisting of a continuous variation of tempi, keys, rhythms and orchestration of constantly shifting themes, leitmotifs and counterpoints.

Sociology as Reciprocal Psychological Effects, Positive and Negative: The Emergence of a Sociology of Conflict Where Tönnies’s sociology offers solid, clear contours and a dogma to which easy recourse could be taken, Simmel’s offers agility. The difference in the way they grasp social reality becomes clear when we contemplate the opening lines of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: Human wills stand in manifold relationships to one another; every such relationship is a reciprocal effect (gegenseitige Wirkung) which inasmuch as it was inflicted or given from the one side is suffered or received from the other. However, these effects are either made so as to tend to maintaining or to destroying the other will or body: affirmative or negating. This theory shall be exclusively directed towards relationships of mutual affirmation as the objects of its enquiry. (Tönnies 1979, 3)

The assumptions behind this introduction differ clearly from those of Simmel’s sociology; it is a semantic minefield. First, “mutual” initially refers in the most general sense to the impact that any action committed by an actor will have on another actor. Here, the term “effect” has to be understood very broadly indeed; for some actions are undertaken to effect another person of which the other person has no knowledge or subjectively remains altogether unaffected. If it is understood to imply a common awareness of the effect, the affirmation seems false; Max Weber was to criticize Simmel’s notion of Wechselwirkung on similar grounds (Weber 1972, 162ff.). What one person attempts to do

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for or inflict on another may be simply ignored or interpreted in a very different sense. Moreover, the term “mutual” undergoes a shift in meaning from the first to the second sentence, allowing Tönnies to maintain that all relationships are mutually affirmative or negating—thereby eliminating all such relationships of unrequited love or of hostility toward people who are utterly indifferent. The rule of thumb is that people either like each other or they do not; such commonsense affirmations are as undiscerning as they are reassuring. We shall consider two of Tönnies’s assumptions, both of which Simmel was to refute: the symmetry of motives in relationships and the inexorable development of relationships in one direction. Tönnies’s assumption behind his social psychology is that there is a symmetry behind the personal attitudes of humans toward one another; it allows him to assume that social relationships are of a constant nature. Each positive relationship can be conceived of either as “unity in plurality or plurality in unity. It consists of nurturing, facilitating and services in either direction and are considered expressions of the wills and their forces” (Tönnies 1979, 3). Tönnies regards negative relationships as lying outside sociology inasmuch as they are not part of human sociability, given that they tend toward the destruction of the other will or body. Later, Tönnies relegates negativity in social relationships to “social psychology,” for which “pure” or theoretical sociology does not, however, construct a conceptual arsenal. Tönnies’s definition of isolated social relationships is related to his interpretation of historical processes through his category of wills. In terms of developmental psychology, he observes a universal succession of calculating, egotistical reasoning from the benevolence and love characteristic of childhood just as he makes the historical observation of an evolution of human life structures from patriarchal communities based on personal commitment to a commercial society in which mutual indifference reigns. He attributes both of these developments to the same cause, the linear evolution from essential to arbitrary will. On an individual level, his argument relates to the impossibility of retrieving lost innocence, while on the societal level it relates to the notion that the systems of modern society cannot be dismantled and replaced. But his repeated affirmations that community can only develop toward society and that society will never evolve toward community have consequences for his understanding of individual social relationships. For if we pursue this reasoning to its logical (and absurd) extreme, the development of friendships from relationships in which people first gain acquaintanceship for extraneous purposes is impossible. It remains a fact that Tönnies mentions as an empirical phenomenon in his theory of community; however, it runs contrary to the logical assumptions of his theory. Simmel, by contrast, seeks to understand people in relationships that may be positive or negative, requited or unrequited and open to any conceivable sort of development; his subjects are “together, acting for one another, with one another, against one another, and enter a correlation of circumstances with others, i.e. have effects upon them and receive effects from them” (Simmel 1922, 4). Simmel’s sociology of social relationships, Vergesellschaftungen, and the Beziehungslehre or theory of relationships Leopold von Wiese developed subsequently thus differ from Tönnies’s assumptions, and von Wiese makes this difference explicitly clear (von Wiese 1955). Nevertheless, throughout the eight editions of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft between 1887 and 1935, Tönnies never saw any need



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to revise his presentation of relationships. In a sense, Tönnies needed to narrow his conception of social relationships to the fiction of non-conflictive relationships and social structures of mutual affirmation. Tönnies had taken peace within as the basis of his social theory from Hobbes; not just his rationalist theory of society but his theory of community, inspired by the romantics, and the quasi-biological philosophy of history all draw from this. His sociology was moreover initially designed as a science of ethical relationships—those relationships in which Schopenhauer precluded hostility. His macrotheory of society is constructed with building blocks of social relationships—Tönnies later refers to them as “social facts” (“soziale Tatsachen”; Tönnies 1925, 351)—which are reified and no longer allow for the grasping of the variety and spontaneity of human relations, in either individual or collective terms. In contrast to Simmel, for whom process in human relations is continuously emphasized, Tönnies’s concepts hardly allow us to grasp dynamics in relationships, either in the context of his theory of historical development, or in an understanding of individual relationships, because they are all deemed to move in the same direction. The obstacles Tönnies imposes for examining forms of sociability are thus indissoluble from his theory of the genesis and evolution of social life. He expresses this quite clearly in his 1907 essay titled “The Essence of Sociology” (“Das Wesen der Soziologie”): The sociological approach […] is essentially and primarily concerned with facts which I call facts of mutual affirmation. It analyses these facts, which in the narrower and real sense are social facts, and analyses their motives; it must, as I claim, be particularly attentive to the significant difference as to whether mutual affirmation is based primarily upon predominant motives or feeling or predominant motives of thinking; it must trace the process which in this respect I refer to as the development of essential will to arbitrary will. (Tönnies 1925, 351)

It is only an apparent paradox that Simmel—who in a critical reflection on the affirmation that empirical induction is necessary in the construction of theory and concepts had argued that propositions based on conceivable fictions may be just as evident—offered a far more supple set of concepts for application to real social configurations than Tönnies, who had sought to construct his conceptual dichotomy on his own observations of a historical development he regarded as beyond repudiation. Although Tönnies’s definition of sociology must have appeared problematic for Simmel when he proposed a systemic foundation for a science of forms of Vergesellschaftungen, many of the ideas found in Simmel’s writings emerged in friction with, stimuli from and the taking of distance to Tönnies’s writings. Simmel’s sociology of competition (included in Simmel 1908) is directed against the eudemonistic psychological assumption in Tönnies’s concept of essential will and against the telos of social peace, which made Tönnies found sociology as a science of affirmative relationships: “because the ideal of peace is denied not only by people who relish in struggle, and who see in struggle a definitive value which is justified in itself; nor is it denied only by the psychologist who regards struggle as an expression of irrepressible drives, and a part of psychic life which cannot be eliminated, with its heights and beauties; but it cannot be denied by the sociologist, for whom a group which is altogether centripetal and harmonic and is only a ‘union’ not only is empirically

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unreal, but also has no real life process” (Simmel 1893, 173). Relationships of negation are “by no means merely sociological liabilities, negative instances, so that definitive real society only came about by other, positive social forces, and only to the extent that the former did not prevent it. This usual understanding is altogether superficial. Society as it exists is the result of both categories of reciprocal effects, which therefore exist as altogether positive” (Simmel 1922, 187). This notwithstanding, Tönnies defends this “superficial” position when he claims that conflict is merely the “dialectical womb” (dialektische Mutterschoss) (Tönnies 1926, 240)  or “unorganized material” of social phenomena (Tönnies 1925, 355). Action and events between humans also include struggle, which cannot be reduced merely to the absence of a natural drive to solidarity or a social compact, but may include a value that transcends mere antagonism—the value for which conflict ensues or the value of a struggle per se. If science wishes to develop social regularities and causal nexuses through the conception of the circumstances of social life to illuminate individual empirical reality, it must have concepts to describe conflicts as a type of relationship. “If every reciprocal effect among humans is a form of social relationship (Vergesellschaftung), struggle (Kampf), which is one of the most lively reciprocal relationships, which cannot be logically reduced to a single element, has to be seen as a social relationship” (Simmel 1922, 186). We should remember that if Simmel transcends the positions Tönnies adopted from his reading of Hobbes’s natural law (for Gesellschaft) and from romanticism (for Gemeinschaft), he does so in order to extend and expand Tönnies’s contribution to the social sciences. Tönnies’s commitment to social peace is related to the pathos he invested in social causes; Simmel’s contemplation of genuine human relationships fed from his sense of irony, which allowed him to take distance from the moralizing, normative descriptions of social life issuing from Tönnies’s understanding of natural law.

Sociology and History Simmel gently presents Tönnies’s sociology as an obsolete relict of the positivist assumptions of the nineteenth century. Thus, as late as his Grundfragen der Soziologie of 1917, Simmel presented Tönnies’s social theory alongside that of Comte and Spencer, implicitly as typical (and thus typically obsolete) social philosophies of the nineteenth century: “one sees in all historical life a process progressing from organic common life to mechanical juxtaposition; possession, work and interests first grew up in the solidarity of the individuals who bore the life of the group, but are then distributed among egotistical persons who are all self-seeking and only prepared to ally with others for that motive; the former is the expression of the unconscious will of our deepest essence, revealed only in feeling, while the latter is the product of arbitrary free will (Willkür) and of calculating intellect” (Simmel 1917, 25). Simmel presents Tönnies’s narrative of social development neutrally and soberly, and the difference between his narrative and, for example, that of Comte suggests that they cannot both be true. In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Simmel had found a work based on the supposition that “in the historical developments of the most varied kinds, which only coincide in the fact that they are each borne by a group, it is possible to find a common law, a rhythm that can only be attributed to this fact” (Simmel 1917, 24).



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This corresponded fully with Tönnies’s understanding of the development of Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. Simmel’s own work as a “nomothetic” theoretician on regularities took account of the fact that any regularity can be called into challenge by other regularities that may or may not be equally pervasive: the conception of regularities (in Weber’s words, Gesetzmässigkeiten) was coming into its own.

The Problem of “Understanding” and Value Judgments in the Social Sciences We have mentioned that Tönnies confused cohabitation and understanding (Verständnis). Simmel’s logical work on the notion of understanding (Verstehen), again in the tradition of   Wilhelm Dilthey, following Johann Gustav Droysen, moves far beyond Tönnies. Tönnies defines understanding (Verstehen) as “a type of will, the will for recognition and acceptance, i.e. appropriation (Aneignung)” (Tönnies 1906, 6). In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, he had described understanding (Verständnis) as “mutual and common, binding attitudes, as the own will of a community […] the special social force and sympathy that keeps people together as members of a whole” (Tönnies 1979, 17). The force is “derived from something more general […], that we have called harmony (Eintracht)” (ibid., 185). Here, Tönnies offers no precise definition or presentation of the process of understanding, but merely emphasizes reasons for Verständnis; sich verstehen in German means to get along with one another. He reduces the problem of understanding by deducing it from a solidarity of feeling and identification through his category of will. Elsewhere he declares that one object of sociology is “common thought” (“gemeinsame Denken”) (Tönnies 1922, 228 (30)). Common thought is very rare indeed. A felt solidarity does not lead to common understanding of objective propositions. And what Tönnies terms understanding in community so often tends to be acquiescence in the face of superiority. Simmel, by contrast, developed a refined theory of understanding, distinguishing between understanding in the world of sentiment, in which experiencing the experience of another is only possible through identification with and projection from one’s own experience; the understanding of objectivizations through communication; and the understanding of motives, that is, the analytical explanation of the not necessarily explicit motives of an action underlying that action or as part of the backdrop of that action, but without necessarily being identical with the meaning or sense of the objectivization. Simmel’s critical discussion of these issues led him to a number of sobering perceptions (cf. Simmel 1905, 27ff.), for instance that love and understanding are heterogeneous fields, that the mutual understanding of two people is dependent on their sharing those elements that are to be understood, and that people of differing qualities would not be able to understand the same things the same way. Tönnies’s concept of understanding is reduced to an understanding of motives—which does not, however, touch on the meaning behind the action of a human, but reduces the motives of the action to natural needs or to calculation. The general “understanding” of a community is dependent on a homogeneity and lack of differentiation; the development of culture and the successive division and creation of social functions as a prerequisite to culture practically exclude such understanding throughout a community. Not understanding—Verständnis—but

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Einverständnis, acquiescence, is typical of communities in which the articulation of contrary particular interests is limited in the solid structures of sacrosanct circumstances. Tönnies’s commitment to Schopenhauer may partly account for his misunderstanding of the notion of “understanding.”

Tönnies’s and Simmel’s Philosophy of Money Simmel takes up issues first broached by Tönnies not just in method, but also in substance, for instance, in Simmel’s interest in money as a social phenomenon. Tönnies’s absorption with pecuniary issues was related to Marx’s concern with the alienating effects of the callous cash nexus. Tönnies was less interested in industrial exploitation than human alienation due to commercialism. Simmel seems to follow Tönnies in his assumption that pecuniary exchange had a greater psychosocial impact on the development of modernity than modern industrial production; in this, both seem to differ from Max Weber, and Weber presents this as a reproach to Simmel (Weber 1922, 5). Simmel also seems to be following Tönnies when in his Philosophy of Money, published in 1900, he announces his intention to “build a sub-structure underneath historical materialism so as to acknowledge the explanatory value of relating economic life to the causes of intellectual culture, but also to recognize those economic forms as the product of deeper values and currents of psychological or indeed metaphysical presuppositions” (Simmel 1977, 13). Simmel frequently cites Kant, and then Spinoza, Marx and Schopenhauer, but makes no mention of Tönnies, who was not a reference by the time but had surely drawn Simmel’s attention to major issues in the work: Simmel observed that money was having an increasing impact on society, politics and individuals, allowing them the benefits of modern democratic societies. At the same time, money had been transformed from a means to an end into an end in itself, impacting individuals’ self-esteem. Because banks already had more money than churches, they had become the center of cities; anything material was related to money. But humans had the capacity and freedom to strive to achieve things that transcended money, for instance, communities of solidarity in the service of intellectual or cultural exchange; artists work not just for money but for selffulfillment. The centrality of money for understanding society had been foregrounded by Tönnies prior to Simmel’s incursion into the field, which allowed him to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität in Freiburg in recognition of Simmel’s contributions to Nationalökonomik and sociology.

Tönnies, Simmel and the Emergence of “Urban” and “Rural” Sociology It is sometimes incorrectly assumed that Georg Simmel’s reflection on the city constituted the first occasion on which urbanity was characterized in social theory or social thought; although he is commonly cited as the father of urban sociology, we find discussions of the opposition of town and country in Marx and Tönnies. The dizzying urbanization following German unification, with a rise in Berlin’s population from 800,000 in 1871 to four million in 1914, reinforced the interest in urbanity. If Raymond Williams (1973)



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notes an ancient distinction between urban and rural life, Richard Sennet (1969, 3) has noted that until the Industrial Revolution, the town was viewed as the very image of society rather than a special or unique form of society, while the country was simply seen as nature. It is appropriate to consider the differing positions of various analysts in relation to their values and metaphysical preferences rather than to regard the human sciences as a constantly expanding body of accumulated and verified knowledge. Marx wrote little on the opposition between the town and country, notwithstanding the number of “Marxist” works written on cities. Marx did express disdain for the countryside, noting that by subjecting the countryside to the city, capitalism had “saved” a substantial part of the population from the “idiocy of rural life” (Marx 1965, 38). In The German Ideology (Marx 1970, 39–95), Marx equates rural life with a relationship of servitude toward nature (ibid., 68), equating the development of the country to town life with the transition from barbarism to civilization (ibid., 69), inasmuch as in the country, physical activity has not yet been separated from mental activity. The country population, dominated ideologically by a feudal order with its sentimental belief in a traditionalist community, is condemned to indolent poverty and closed to any possibility of progress or positive change. Marx conceives of rural life as a sort of privation—of material wealth but equally of any awareness that the pursuit of happiness is possible. The Communist Manifesto calls for eliminating the gap between the city and the countryside (Marx 1965). Marx still has an eschatological vision of social evolution not that remote from Adam Ferguson’s understanding of the move from the rude to the polished nations with a basis for civil society (Ferguson 1995)—but in Marx’s understanding, progress is moved through class struggle. Having been brought up in Trier, Marx holds the conviction Simmel later held of the superiority of the city in promoting the freedom of the mind. Tönnies, who paid tribute to Marx in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft in 1887 (Tönnies 1979)  as the most portentous economist (Bond 2013a, in Bond 2013b, 255–90), did not share all of his values, notably those related to the opposition between rural and urban life. Born on a farm in Schleswig, Tönnies remained nostalgic of his childhood on the farm and in the small town of Husum; his stays in metropolises such as Hamburg, London or Berlin convinced him that these were places of alienation, and he chose to settle in the small town of Eutin. In Tönnies’s sociology, the rural–urban contrast plays a key role: at the end of the work, he alludes to Marx’s famous quote—“The foundation of every division of labour that is well developed, and brought about by the exchange of commodities, is the separation between town and country. It may be said, that the whole economic history of society is summed up in the movement of this antithesis” (Marx Capital, Vol. 1, Chapter 14, 343). However, if Tönnies appears to accept Marx’s sweeping generalization, he introduces a distinction not found in Marx between the town (Stadt), which Tönnies sees as the culmination of community (Gemeinschaft), and the metropolis (Grössstädt), the culmination of modern society (Gesellschaft). In his theory of community, the town finds its accomplishment in a common spirit that maintains its cohesion through guilds and religious communities and is characterized by peaceful commerce inside or with the surrounding countryside on the basis of norms understood to be fair in a ­relationship of complementarity between town and country, the latter providing the necessities and the former the luxuries. According to the “Aristotelian description”

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and the idea derived from “natural manifestations,” the town is a self-sufficient domestic unit or organism of community life to be considered as a whole on which the associations and families that compose it depend. The community town is united in language, customs and beliefs, as well as ground, buildings and the treasures of religion and art. Tönnies sees this as characteristic of the towns of Greek antiquity as well as medieval European towns. But quoting Gustav Schmoller, he prepares the transition to his theory of society: each town, and in particular each large town, tries to complete itself as an economic whole and extend its economy and the sphere of its power as far out as possible. And, Tönnies adds, “and so on”; this leads to his theory of Gesellschaft, or society, in which the abstract principles of profit take the stead of the concrete cultural manifestations of the town of community. Whereas the domestic economy is independent and strong in the village and the town, it becomes sterile and narrow and is reduced to a mere interchangeable dwelling in metropolises. While children’s nature prospers in a village and town, big cities corrupt their nature. Tönnies observes civic loyalty in towns, but not in metropolises, dominated by merchants without fatherlands and respect for the customs of a particular country, who subject science to the interest of trade. In the appendix (chapter 4) of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies notes that while villages and towns retain characteristics of family life, in big cities, such characteristics disappear altogether, and families are isolated and only come together fortuitously. The big city, the archetype of society in its purist form, is a commercial and industrial city, in which the distinction between the native and foreigners becomes indifferent and the institution of the family declines, leaving everyone with the same appearance, language, pronunciation, currency, culture, rapacity and curiosity, leading to the creation of the most artificial and refined of all machines, abstract man. The big city is the home of corruption while the poorest citizens come to regard the state and its police as their enemy and revolt. Among the factors that lead communities to become societies, Tönnies lists the creeping power of cities over rural and village organization, leading man “to destroy himself through reason.” Tönnies introduced the rural–urban opposition into sociology along with a distinction between the town as community and the big city as society. Yet it is principally as a rural sociologist that he is recognized (e.g., Munters). Simmel takes on a number of points Tönnies made but from a clear vantage of sympathy with the life of the big city in a lecture he held at the Gehe Foundation in Dresden in 1902, which was published in the Jahrbuch der Gehe-Stiftung under the title “Die Groβstädte und das Geistesleben” in 1903. Rather than discuss the historic evolution of the city, as had Tönnies and as Max Weber and Werner Sombart were to undertake in the following years, Simmel discusses the psychological conditions of a big city, and offers insights that can be read as a response to Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Tönnies had written in a letter to his friend philosopher Friedrich Paulsen that he generally approved of Simmel’s writings, noting, however, that they seem to have been written from the ivory tower of the big city (“Studierstube des Grossstädters”), maintaining a Wirgefühl with Paulsen, who had moved from SchleswigHolstein to Berlin to join the academic establishment, while insinuating that Simmel had inadequate knowledge of the rural basis of the nation’s subsistence as well as of life in its diversity (Bond 1991). Simmel noted that he had been socialized in a family of Jewish



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merchants, observing that Berlin’s development had coincided with his own intellectual development (Simmel 2013, 9), and the big city to which he alludes is clearly Berlin. In an article on the sociology of space, Simmel notes that the city is not a spatial entity with social consequences but a sociological entity that has been formed spatially (preface to Simmel 2013, 12). This affirmation that cities have to be grasped as a sociological reality before being seen as a geographic fact is succinct, but spells out what Tönnies had already taken as his own point of departure. Among the points Simmel had taken from Tönnies’s discussion of the big city are the facts that money is central and pervasive, exchanges are impersonal, the citizenry is reserved, which Simmel interprets as latent hostility in the wake of Tönnies’s theory of Gesellschaft, and that it is blasé. New aspects are the inundation of the senses in the big city with its psychological consequences— “the intensification of the life of the nerves”—and the creation of what Simmel calls “objective culture.” The former contrasts with the small town, with its slower and more regular pace. The self-interest of relationships in the big city creates greater exactitude in relationships governed by money, the greatest equalizer, which eliminates the specific and incomparable value of items for sale. City dwellers appear cold and heartless to the inhabitants of small towns; however, individuals in big cities enjoy personal freedom in quality and quantity unprecedented in other social relationships—a point Tönnies characteristically ignores. Simmel explicitly relates the freedom of the individual in his urban sociology to the “quantitative determination of the social group,” for to the extent that the group grows in number, extent, importance and substance in life, its original unity yields and barriers are broken down, giving the individual a freedom of movement. Thus the small town of antiquity or the Middle Ages imposed limits to the movement and outside relations of individuals, making small towns seem oppressive to inhabitants of big cities. When contemplating the small town of antiquity (and implicitly of his time), Simmel is impressed by the mutual surveillance by the citizenry, the tension and the domination of the weak by the strong. The aura of the big city is independent of individual personalities who can mark a town such as Weimar; with the deaths of Goethe and Schiller, Weimar’s importance died. In big cities, an “objective culture lives on in language, law, production techniques, art, the home environment,” with a widening gap between the objective culture and the knowledge of the many, creating a desire among those who inhabit large cities for differentiation and for demonstrating their uniqueness, while repulsing self-sufficient thinkers put off by the worship of money or intellectualisms such as Nietzsche and Ruskin (Simmel could have added Tönnies). Prior to the debate on value judgments, Simmel points out that given that the role of the subject is determined in the city, it is not our task to accuse or to forgive, but to understand. This determination of the subject in the big city, which opens up perspectives for understanding individuals who are at odds with the norms of the community, is no doubt a salient point of epistemological difference between Simmel and Tönnies, given that Tönnies remained anchored in the explanation of predominantly non-mental motives. The urban sociologies of either sociologist, it may be pointed out, were based on generalities that were to be transcended in Max Weber’s typology of cities, with its contrasts of antique and medieval cities with cities he had studied in more remote cultural areas, such

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as China and India. While Louis Wirth saw the rural–urban continuum as the decisive distinction for sociology in 1938 (Wirth 1938), Raymond Pahl claimed that the distinction was no longer pertinent for sociology in 1968 (Pahl 1968). Although this overstatement is based on observations of cities in the United States, it does show that globalization and technology may make the rural–urban dichotomy if not obsolete, at least historic, which is one aspect of Marx’s utopia that may actually come about.

Personal Ethics and Diagnoses of Modernity Tönnies’s and Simmel’s presentations of modernity are expressions of their perceptions of a widespread process of rationalization. However, the development of the intellect in either diagnosis is portrayed quite differently. Tönnies sees the proliferation of instrumental reason. The differentiation and formation of particular interests lead to a decline in the ability to bond and to create what he refers to as Verständnis or understanding among essential wills, the vital core of the personalities in a community. A model may have been Tönnies’s father; August Ferdinand Tönnies (1822–83) had abandoned agriculture in Eiderstedt to become a banker in the small town of Husum. Simmel’s most decisive experiences were in the salons of Berlin; the process of civilization meant a rise in the capacity of differentiated personalities to make aesthetic judgments. While both describe modern personalities, who all in a way are encompassed in the “last people,” the letzte Menschen execrated by Nietzsche, they differ as much as the bourgeois of possessions (Besitzbürgertum) differs from the bourgeois of education (Bildungsbürgertum) presented as the salient social contrast in nineteenth-century middle-class German culture. Because Tönnies is so fixated on the naked materialism of the modern bourgeois, he is inclined to see values as lying solely in the past, cradling conservative values from the socioeconomic vantage of a socialist, while Simmel is a fascinated observer and aficionado of ephemeral or avant-garde cultural phenomena. Tönnies’s understanding of art in Schiller als Zeitbürger und Politiker is reminiscent of Tolstoi’s opinions of art (Tönnies 1905), and contrasts starkly with Simmel’s critiques of art, for instance, in his writings on Auguste Rodin (Simmel 1957). The differences between these two thinkers are equally visible in their respective reflections on the ethics of human relationships. Tönnies was deeply conservative; like Hobbes, he was concerned with security, and enhancing human security is one of the primary concerns of his theory and his political commitments, hence his visceral opposition to revolution. His criticism of modernity focuses on the lack of security for feelings within the steely structures of capitalist society. The power of modern capitalism is a power without interiority, in contrast to that Thomas Mann described as the ideal of Wilhelminian culture using the term machtgeschützte Innerlichkeit, an interiority protected by power. Modern economics could never fill the gap left by the fall of patriarchy. Tönnies sees ethics in permanent relationships of love and care in community in which the “philanthropic trend” (menschenfreundliche Tendenz) prevails. It is above all his conviction that humans are good that leads Tönnies to reject Kant’s repudiation of eudemonism. Simmel’s position on eudemonism is ironic. For not just “the skeptical moralists for whom homo homini lupus est” but also “the entirely opposed moral philosophy



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which derives moral self-sacrifice from the transcendental foundations of our essence” assume that the “ethical subject is an absolute egotist” (Simmel 1922, 196). Elsewhere, Simmel makes mockery of the distinction between considering people as a purpose in themselves and considering them as a means to an end, which he regards merely as absurd (Simmel 1892, 135). Simmel calls love “egotism for two,” and socialism “egotism for all” (ibid., 116). In his own moral philosophy, Simmel proceeds from a point between the absolute alternatives of altruism on one hand, egotism on the other to a field of infinite competing duties and temptations beyond good and evil. His rejection of Kant is based on altogether different premises as Tönnies’s rejection of Kant (like Tönnies, moreover); Kant naively supposes that humans have an equal gift of fulfilling unambiguous ethical proscriptions (Simmel 1904). A polemical exchange in which Simmel explicitly engaged with Tönnies is found in his critique of Tönnies’s own 1897 critical appraisal of the cult around Nietzsche, Der Nietzsche-Kultus (Tönnies 1987). Here, Simmel notes that Tönnies had missed out on Nietzsche’s perspectivism, ideal of personality, intellectual probity and ethical rigor because of the social democratic measuring rod Tönnies applied, which made him incapable of seeing Nietzsche’s real merit (Simmel 1897). Both thinkers commenced their incursions into the social sciences with an attempt to provide ethics and moral philosophy with a scientific foundation; however, while Tönnies continued to seek a scientific foundation for ethics through natural law, ethical culture and kindred spirits in Marburg Neo-Kantians such as Paul Natorp, Simmel concluded his own “Introduction to Moral Philosophy” with an unsolvable dilemma and the tragedy of the conflict of values and the call for empirical examinations of factually valid norms, inspired by Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morality, and opening up the broad current of modern, value-neutral sociologies of values (Simmel 1893, 419ff.). Where Tönnies offered the solidity of received moral scriptures, Simmel offered the flexibility of perspectives. The price was that he could defend himself against moral relativism only by relativizing relativism (for instance, in his study on religion, Simmel 1906). By developing his micro-sociological model, Simmel abandoned the sociological ambition of universal history, offering increasingly differentiated models of social configurations instead. Tönnies reacted with consternation, writing, “It sometimes appears to me that somewhat less refinement and cautious groping would be appropriate. Social issues have to be grabbed with a coarse fist and first kneaded into the simplest forms so as to move from the great distance in which the thinker remains from life into a sufficient depth of knowledge” (Tönnies 1929, 413). This was a judgment not just about Simmel’s methods, but equally about Simmel’s morals. For Tönnies, the soziale Frage or social issue referred not just to the methodological and substantive questions of nascent sociology, but equally to the problems of the distribution of wealth that did not concern Simmel. Tönnies’s comment is reminiscent of one he had made in a letter to his friend philosopher Friedrich Paulsen on New Year’s Eve 1890; after writing that he was writing a critique of Über soziale Differenzierung for the Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik, he notes that the book is “clever” (“gescheit”), but written from the “ivory tower of a city dweller” (“Studierstube des Grössstädtes”) (Paulsen and Tönnies 1961, 290). Among the differences Tönnies himself noted was the gulf between the country boy and the city slicker.

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As fascinated as Simmel was by the ambivalence of morality, he was equally fascinated by the ambivalence of relationships. Simmel found sublimity less in the most stable than in the most unstable relationships—and consequently developed sociologies of coquetry, sociability and adventures. Security was more a value of the rising than of the decadent bourgeoisie. The metropolis, with its infinite possibilities of aesthetic and erotic escapism, appears less as the cold venue of egotism and self-alienation as a playground in which it is possible to penetrate the most hidden recesses of the human soul (Simmel 1903). Simmel approaches multiplicity of human existences with an urbane attitude bereft of traditional moral prejudice; his psychologically refined perspectivism leads from Nietzsche to Weber, whom Karl Jaspers praised as a psychologist of world sets. While Weber has been said to have had no brief for Simmel’s psychology, in many respects he was his follower. Simmel does not subscribe to a single psychological theory of development, which reduced psychological development to a single model, but develops a variety of psychological types to be applied individually, while realizing the limits to their validity. The plurality of explanatory models of individual components, which, according to Simmel’s “individual law” (Simmel 1918) allows for infinite combinations, allows Simmel to consider individuals within societies as a system of coordinates and to explore the variability of humans and their forms of Vergesellschaftung, which increase exponentially.

Conclusion In his autobiography and elsewhere, Tönnies emphasizes his appreciation of Simmel’s essays in formal sociology, going so far as to identify with Simmel (Tönnies 1922, 228 (30)). In his critique of Simmel’s Ueber sociale Differenzierung, Tönnies refers explicitly to those passages in which Simmel initially presents Vergesellschaftungsformen as based on biological relationships, and as subject to a mechanistic development through the “quantitative extension of the social circle” (Tönnies 1929, 415; cf. 421). And in various articles, Tönnies repeatedly applauds Simmel’s achievements with regard to his “theory of the quantitative determination of the group,” which reinforces Tönnies’s own views on the influence of the quantity of actors on the depersonalization of relationships, as they are to be found in his discussion of the growth of cities and the contacts of merchants in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (cf. Tönnies 1926, 254 cf. 102 and 1979 passim). If Simmel’s positions occasionally seem diametrically opposed to those of Tönnies, one need not underestimate Tönnies’s importance to Simmel in provoking such contradiction. Simmel’s own Exkurs über die soziale Begrenzung allows us to grasp Tönnies’s importance: “Wherever two elements are interested in the same object […] the possibility of their coexistence depends upon the demarcation within the object that divides their spheres” (Simmel 1922, 468). Simmel observes that when different thinkers muse on a common object, one can establish a relationship between intellectual and cultural objectivizations and the psychological predispositions and material circumstances of those thinkers, who represent a personal unity and may live in accordance with their objectivizations and their ideas. Simmel reminds us not to conceive of culture as the result of a single original author (Urschöpfer), but as the result of the “reciprocal and the common effects of individuals, from



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the sum of and sublimation of countless individual contributions, from the embodiment of social energies in forms that stand and develop beyond the individual” (Simmel 1922, 3). The development of Tönnies’s sociology and the genesis of Simmel’s sociology are objectivizations that must be seen in this light. Tönnies created a monument to fading intellectual traditions of the nineteenth century—a philosophy of history with a critique of culture that opposed two social forms as historical stages (in his “applied sociology”) and as sociological types (which he defined as “normal types” (“Normalbegriffe”)). From the first edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, in which the concepts were defined as “empirical forms of culture” (“empirische Kulturformen”), through the following seven editions, in which he had chosen the subtitle “Fundamental Concepts of Pure Sociology” (“Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie”), we can see a shift in his own theoretical interpretation of the work, which is an expression of the work’s ambivalence. This prophetic and culturally critical work, with its poetic, grandiose style, was increasingly interpreted as the simple definition of two heuristic tools, which were to be integrated among the innumerable instruments of modern sociology. This reinterpretation, among others by its author, is also the result of Wechselwirkungen, reciprocal effects, inasmuch as it can be attributed to the development of sociology—in which Tönnies played a seminal role—in the sociologies of Georg Simmel and later of Max Weber and others. Tönnies was both eternalized and stripped of his significance of a prophet and cultural critic; modernity had swallowed its analyst in the chaos of its cultural phenomena. The specialization and ensuing chaos in culture Simmel described so impressively in his Begriff und Tragödie der Kultur is to be seen in Tönnies’s development from a social philosopher to an empirical systematic sociologist who in later works, such as his Introduction to Sociology (1931), contributed to his own secondary literature. Simmel followed Tönnies on his path to sociology. He took up Tönnies’s central questions on social forms, types of personality and the causal nexus between the natural and civilized milieus of humans and their personal and psychological dispositions, while carrying them beyond Tönnies’s limits. His philosophical work led him to dismiss universal, unilinear interpretations of history and theories of development, and he gradually dropped the most naturalist and mechanical aspects of his social analysis so as to turn his attention to an understanding of the values and the meanings behind the actions of individuals. The geniuses of Tönnies and Simmel did not make them congenial, and personally, Tönnies was wont to regard Simmel as a rival, as is seen in the bickering between Tönnies and Weber when Simmel was chosen as the keynote speaker for the opening of the first congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie, while Tönnies was merely the society’s president. The distance Simmel took from Tönnies’s sociology may have been due inter alia to Tönnies’s insistence that the science focus primarily on Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft–Gesellschaft dichotomy, the limits of which were obvious to Simmel. However, if Simmel left Tönnies behind him in his development of theory and sociology, we are reminded by one of Simmel’s posthumously published fragments that his position to Tönnies’s thought need not be seen as that of an adversary. “Only those who are indifferent, for whom the ultimate issues for which I live are moved neither to approve nor to disapprove, are against me. But who is against me in a positive sense, who places himself at the level at which I live and fights me there, is in the highest sense for me” (Simmel 1923, 46).

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Simmel, Georg 1908, Soziologie. Untersuchungen über die Formen der Vergesellschaftung (1908). Georg Simmel. Gesamtausgabe. Frankfurt (Suhrkamp Taschenbuch), 1992, Band 11, 456–511. Simmel, Georg 1917, Grundfragen der Soziologie. Berlin: Göschen. Simmel, Georg 1918, “Das individuelle Gesetz. Ein Versuch über das Prinzip der Ethik.” In Gesamtausgabe, vol. 12, Aufsätze und Abhandlungen 1909–1918, Bd. 1, Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 2001. Simmel, Georg 1922, Soziologie. Untersuchungen über die Formen der Vergesellschaftung. 2nd edition, Munich and Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot. Simmel, Georg 1923, Fragmente und Aufsätze aus dem Nachlaß und Veröffentlichungen der letzten Jahre. Herausgegeben und mit einem Vorwort von Dr. Gertrud Kantorowicz. Munich: Drei Masken Verlag. Simmel, Georg 1957, Brücke und Tor. Edited by M. Landmann and M. Susman. Stuttgart: Koehler. Simmel, Georg 2013, Les grandes villes et la vie de l’esprit, traduit de l’allemand par Jean-Louis VeillardBaron, préface de Philippe Simay, Paris: Payot & Rivages. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1880, “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (Theorem der Kultur-Philosophie), Entwurf von 1880/81.” In Ferdinand Tönnies. Gesamtausgabe, Band 15, 1923–1925, Berlin, New York (de Gruyter) 2000, S. 33. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1897, Der Nietzsche-Kultus. Leipzig: Reisland. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1905, Schiller als Zeitbürger und Politiker. Reprinted in Ferdinand Tönnies, Gesamtausgabe, Berlin: De Gruyter, 2009. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1920, Karl Marx Leben und Lehre. Berlin: Karl Curtius. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1922, “Ferdinand Tönnies Eutin.” Die Philosophie der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellung. Leipzig: Verlag von Felix Meiner. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1925, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, erste Sammlung, Jena: Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1926, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, zweite Sammlung, Jena: Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1929, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, dritte Sammlung, Jena: Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931, Einführung in die Soziologie. Stuttgart: Enke. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1979, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Troeltsch, Ernst 1961, Der Historismus und seine Probleme, vol. 3, Gesammelte Schriften. Aalen: Scientia Verlag. Weber, Max 1921, “Die Stadt.” Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik. Vol. 47. 621–772. Weber, Max 1972, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Wissenschaftslehre. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck). Weber, Max 1988, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Religionssoziologie. vol. 1, 7 ed. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr. Weber, Max 1988, Gesammelte Aufsätze zur Religionssoziologie, vol. 2, 7 ed. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr. Weber, Max 2000, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Die Stadt. Studienausgabe. Edited by W. Nippel. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr. Wiese, Leopold von 1955, “Erinnerungen an Ferdinand Tönnies.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpolitik. Vol. 7. 337–47. Williams, Raymond 1973, The Country and the City. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wirth, Louis 1938, “Urbanism as a Way of Life.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 44, Issue 1. 1–24.

Chapter Three Whither Gemeinschaft: Willing and Acting Together as Community Kenneth C. Bessant

Introduction Tönnies’s (1957 [1887]) seminal work Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft forms an important part of the historical discourse on the interpretation of collective social life. He offers a compelling view of community founded on authentic interhuman relationships set against a background of impending societal change. The mere mention of Gemeinschaft conjures up the quintessential image of a close-knit “rural idyll.” By comparison, Gesellschaft encapsulates mechanistic social relations, accelerated individualism and rational (e.g., economic) self-interest, all of which are associated with the increasing sociocultural dominance of “the city.” His work draws a sharp distinction between everyday social processes embedded in communal relations as contrasted with exchange dynamics. Contemporary academics continue to make reference to Tönnies’s signature concepts in reflecting on the meaning and transformation of community. Often, however, such discussions comprise oversimplified representations of his typological constructs and social change theory. Far too little attention is focused on Tönnies’s insights into the dimensional complexity of social entities and human volitional tendencies to “act” together. Some of his most substantive contributions concern the relational fabric of human (social) will and joint agency—the fundamental building blocks of collective community action. This chapter opens with an overview of Tönnies’s (1957[1887]) ideal type Gemeinschaft/ Wesenwille–Gesellschaft/Kürwille distinction. This is followed by a discussion of how his social change thesis and theoretical ideas have figured in the ongoing debate over community decline or “loss” (Nisbet 1967[1953]) and the so-called community question (Hennig 2007; Wellman 1979). Just as Tönnies intended, his “conceptual constructions” have proven valuable in describing and understanding the essential nature of varied forms of social relationships (1925a, 77). The second section of this chapter examines aspects of Tönnies’s work on organized social life, human volition, social (common) will and collective agency. A key theme is the social-psychological and social constructionist foundations of emergent collective entities (e.g., corporations and communities). Of particular interest here is Tönnies’s (1932) claim that concrete entities exist in and through the (social) will of their participants, that is, as active creations of human thinking and willing. He emphasizes the need to understand social relationships, unions, values and norms “from within” (Tönnies 1925b, 65), thereby pointing to the subjective bases of all

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forms of human association. The intention is to illustrate the relevance of his ideas for contemporary thinking about collective intentionality and communal agency.

Contrasting Conceptions of Social Relationships and Human Volition Tönnies is well known for his two parallel sets of juxtaposing concepts: (i) Gemeinschaft versus Gesellschaft—the sociological interpretation of human relationships and associations; and (ii) Wesenwille versus Kürwille—the psychological foundations of human volition or action tendencies (1957[1887], 37). His types reflect an early analytic tradition of categorizing social phenomena in terms of contrasting traits (Schmid 1941). Tönnies describes Gemeinschaft as “a lasting and genuine form of living together,” whereas Gesellschaft is deemed “a mechanical aggregate and artifact” (1957[1887], 35). In analogous terms, Wesenwille is associated with “the sense of [the] essential, habitual, inborn, even instinctive,” as compared to the voluntary, deliberate and reflective nature of Kürwille (Schmid 1941, 581). Gemeinschaft denotes people living, feeling, acting and being together in relation to community, rather than community (or society) serving the interests of the individual, the latter of which is characteristic of Gesellschaft (Bond 2011). Tönnies’s two qualitatively distinct bases of social relationships cannot be separated analytically or experientially from their associated forms of human (social) will or volition. It is also important to note that neither Gemeinschaft nor Gesellschaft exist as real-world structural entities; rather, they are theoretical (i.e., “pure”) concepts present to varying degrees within all types of social relationships. As E. G. Jacoby points out, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft refer to “two different types of conditions, not two basic classes of social groups” (1955, 152). Gemeinschaft constitutes an “original” or “natural” condition of social life in which people are organically connected to each other through a “perfect unity of human wills” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 37). Social order based on Gemeinschaft reflects compassion for others, cohesiveness and “affective solidarity,” whereas Gesellschaft constitutes “a social peace dependent upon a balance of interests among the self-serving” (Bond 2011, 32). With regard to this distinction, Tönnies states: “My types are as follows: the entirety is perceived and considered as goal, that is, as a natural whole; or the entirety is perceived and considered as a means for individual goals and consequently as an intentionally devised tool” (see Aldous, Durkheim and Tönnies 1972, 1199). Furthermore, the organic unity associated with Gemeinschaft precedes derivative individualities, whereas unity within the context of Gesellschaft is deemed a contrived outcome of willed behavior: “unity in plurality or plurality in unity” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 33). It is noteworthy that Tönnies describes unity of the first form as a “thing in and of itself,” whereas the latter is “of an ideal nature” (1925a, 75). The concord of willing and being that binds people together in Gemeinschaft stems from multiple bases of commonality: locality or habitat, kinship and cooperative collective action. Here, Tönnies is referring to a conjunction of human wills, intimate relationships, sentiments, understandings and shared experiences that constitute “real and organic life” (1957[1887], 33). Agency emanates from a meaningful center, a common will. Furthermore, he represents the progression from family to village to town and to city



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(i.e., urbanization) as a theoretical and empirical shift from predominantly Gemeinschaft- to Gesellschaft-like relationships. And, although Gemeinschaft and Wesenwille are more typical of the family and the village, these attributes are also present in the town and, to a lesser extent, in the city. Of particular interest here is Tönnies’s contention that actions performed in the relational context of Gesellschaft are so decidedly individualistic or isolated in nature that they can never be taken on behalf of some preexistent unity. This point is of particular relevance to matters of collective intentionality and communal agency discussed later in this chapter. Jacoby refers to Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as “symbols for notional types of social relationships” within pure sociology (1973, 77). Tönnies depicts Gemeinschaft as sharing genuine lasting relationships and knowing little of the artificiality of urban culture, while Gesellschaft rests on rational self-interest, calculation and instrumental relations devoid of mutuality. “Everyone wants something from everyone, but no one wants to do anything for anybody” (Adair-Toteff 1995, 60). The intersection of divergent individual wills, in Gesellschaft, takes the form of a contract and, at a more general societal level, “the will of exchange becomes universal” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 67, 71). Tönnies’s two opposing forms of will are central to his theory of change from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. The social will of Gemeinschaft consisting of “concord, folkways, mores” gradually gives way to Gesellschaft, which is marked by “convention, legislation, and public opinion” (Tönnies 1957 [1887], 231). It is also important to recognize that Gesellschaft constitutes both “substance” and “process” (Tilman 2004, 584). Wesenwille and Kürwille constitute two distinct aspects of human will that are embedded in and influence the essential nature of different forms of social structure (e.g., relationships and associations). Wesenwille, and by implication thought, exists immanently within action, whereas Kürwille is encompassed by thinking and precedes activity. In the former sense, action is bound up with the totality and unity of life, which speaks to the organic quality of essential or original will. The means (or actions) are embedded in the ­realization of the ends. Kürwille is distinguished by its focus on achieving desired ends through the deliberate and strategic selection of the most suitable means. Furthermore, the latter form of action orientation generates a clear separation between means and ends such that thinking comes “to function independently of the impulses of organic life” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 132). Tönnies differentiates Wesenwille and Kürwille based on people’s attitudes toward each other and society as a whole. In the latter sense, other individuals and social entities, in general, can be perceived as means or tools for achieving selfinterested goals. Tönnies emphasizes both the dialectical and the dynamic quality of social life as existing in a constant state of change. For this reason, he feels that sociology requires a system of pure concepts that, metaphorically speaking, can be employed as “nails on which to hang the facts of experience or like clamps with which to grasp reality” (as cited in Gollin and Gollin 1973, 183). Tönnies refers to Wesenwille and Kürwille as “common denominators” or heuristic “tools” developed to facilitate the analysis and understanding of highly dynamic social phenomena (1957[1887], 141). Furthermore, his contrasting forms of will should be understood in two different but interrelated senses: theoretical and empirical. “As free and arbitrary products of thinking, these normal concepts are mutually exclusive […] strictly

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separate entities” and, yet, they are also “empirical concepts” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 141). Tönnies indicates that his volitional types were conceived separately in order to identify the relative (empirical) presence of or movement toward the two action tendencies, while recognizing that neither can exist without the other in the social world. Indeed, Wesenwille and Kürwille can be found in all types of social entities, as evidenced by the norms and values that bind individuals together and influence self–other relations. Everyday experiences of agreement, cooperation and exchange necessitate some degree of Gemeinschaft; however, relationships of the latter form do not preclude some element of Gesellschaft-like purposive action (see Heberle 1973, 54). In other words, Tönnies’s types are conceptually distinct in thought but, in reality, they coexist to varying extents. In some instances, researchers have interpreted ideal types, such as Tönnies’s, as conceptual boundaries between which to interpolate intermediate (i.e., mixed or hybrid) social forms. “The polar-type formulations […] have firmly established the point that the continuum is a vital notion in the comparative analysis of social phenomena” (Loomis and McKinney 1957, 12). However, typologies have been criticized on a variety of bases, most notably “the problem of lack of fit” between the ideal types and empirical reality (Miner 1952, 535). Much the same objection has been leveled against the rural– urban continuum on the grounds that neither of its two polar ends exists as an undifferentiated socio-spatial locality. However, Robert Pahl suggests that, to the extent that “both gemeinschaftlich and gesellschaftlich relationships are found in different groups in the same place,” it may be useful to reconsider the rural–urban continuum in terms of the transformation of social relations (1966, 310). His remarks echo Tönnies’s observations concerning the co-presence of different forms of social relationships in real-world contexts. Regarding this matter, Cahnman observes that “Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are not categorically opposed entities but contrasting aspects of a continuum of which they are merely extreme limiting points” (1973, 7). As Kürwille becomes more common, there is a progressive weakening of an essential communal life, common spirit or shared feelings. The increasing incidence of Kürwille “forms of consciousness” is at the heart of the expansion of Gesellschaft-like relations and practices within and across national boundaries (Inglis 2009, 819). And, over time, the proliferation of self-interested exchange relations culminates in a highly complex globalized (market) system. Tönnies suggests that this wide-scale transformation occurs at all levels of society (and the world) from the most remote rural village to the largest cosmopolitan city, that is, “the progressive rationalization and externalization of these social relations” (see Aldous et al. 1972, 1200). This central idea informs Tönnies’s notion of how the substantive nature of social life moves from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. Jacoby makes mention of Tönnies’s analytical focus on modern individualism and rationalism as fundamental social change dynamics (1955, 151). Social existence, as it is willed and acted out in everyday relations, becomes less genuine and more individualistic. Individual and social volition are increasingly economic, instrumental and mechanical, while the state embodies a unified rational will and action. However, the individualistic tendencies that Tönnies contends have prompted and sustained the transition to Gesellschaft are implicit within Gemeinschaft. As Cahnman points out, “contradiction and transformation are immanent in the human condition, both on the level of the person and on the level



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of society and/or culture” (1968, 140). And, notwithstanding persistent claims that closeknit community relations have been forever changed, and even perhaps “lost,” sociologists continue to invoke the iconic image of Gemeinschaft to communicate the essential fabric of community. Tönnies likens his method to that of a chemist insofar as he is concerned with isolating or decomposing, rather than simply describing the conceptual elements of “the phenomenon of the social relation” (1907, 91). He suggests that Wesenwille and Kürwille coexist in a state of dialectical tension or opposition, each trying to dominate the other. As a result, neither type of human (social) will nor its related form of human association occurs empirically in complete isolation from the other. And, to the extent that Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are also conceptual types or constructions of thought, it is conceivable that, at any given time or place, their respective components can be more or less predominant within the social organization of human life. Furthermore, the theorized societal transition toward Gesellschaft-like relations need not be viewed as permanent or irreversible, but neither should it be assumed that there could be a return to the Gemeinschaft of the past. According to Adair-Toteff, Tönnies envisioned “a utopia based on equality, freedom, and ethical conduct, in which the proper use of traditional customs would reinforce the secure and comforting bonds of the Gemeinschaft” (1995, 59). The Community Concept: Change, Decline and Loss The “search for community” (Kaufman 1959, 8), in both conceptual and experiential terms, has been a compelling theme of social science discourse. Tönnies’s relational and volitional concepts are embedded in the mid-twentieth century debate over the changing nature of communal structures and social relations (e.g., Stein 1960; Vidich and Bensman 1958; Warren 1978). Indeed, community sociologists continue to make reference to his constructed types and social change theory, albeit in a rather tangential fashion (e.g., Brint 2001). Tönnies’s theoretical ideas regarding the disruption of all-encompassing social relationships in light of emergent patterns of rational self-interest are closely aligned with persistent claims of community decline and fragmentation. Lee and Newby suggest that he was concerned with the deterioration of genuine community life, that is, “the loss of a sense of identity, meaning and authenticity in the modern world” (2005[1983], 51). It is useful to interpret Tönnies’s contemporary relevance in terms of his understanding of how rationalization and urbanization have affected the social-psychological fabric of communal relationships. Robert A. Nisbet is of particular interest here in that, like Tönnies, he discusses people’s “estrangement from close personal ties” and “modern alienation” (1967[1953], xi). The growth of impersonal, atomistic, rational, self-sustaining relations stands in stark contrast to Nisbet’s notion of community as an essential bond—a “product of working together on problems” (1967[1953], xv). In essence, the “problem of community” is linked directly to the search for meaningful interpersonal or communal relationships, which, in Nisbet’s view, have deteriorated significantly in the modern age of rationalism and individualism (1967[1953], 45). Charles Taylor raises very similar issues with reference to “the malaises of modernity”; he points directly to the rise of “individualism”

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and “instrumental reason” as key factors militating against solidarity and authenticity (1991, 1–5). “The longing for ‘community’ therefore symbolizes a desire for security and certainty in our lives, but also a desire for identity and authenticity” (Lee and Newby 2005[1983], 52). The long-standing academic interest in the loss of community is entwined with the so-called community question, which Barry Wellman defines as “assessing the impact of industrialization and bureaucratization on a variety of primary ties: in the neighbourhood, in kinship groups, in interest groups, and on the job” (1979, 1201–2). The essential issue here is whether community, as represented by Tönnies’s notion of Gemeinschaft, still exists today and to what extent. Those who contend that community is lost typically suggest that primary relationships and localized solidarities have been significantly transformed (i.e., weakened) by impersonality, isolation and disintegration. Notwithstanding such claims, Wellman (1999) argues that communities continue to flourish. He holds the view that community, in the modern age, should not be conceived of as a localized or spatially focused context of primary ties and social solidarities. Wellman remarks that the “trick” is “to conceive of community as an egocentric network, a ‘personal community’” (1999, xiv). Wellman and Potter have conducted research on the relative presence of (i) “densely knit, tightly bounded personal communities of kin and neighbors” versus (ii) “sparsely knit, loosely bounded, heterogeneous” ties (1999, 50). Not surprisingly, the authors find that individuals participate in multifaceted social networks, both intimate and specialized, through which they access a diverse range of resources and supports. However, Fernback (2007, 54) suggests that this form of “networked individualism lacks the sense of collectivity” identified by authors such as Dewey (2012[1927]). Contemporary researchers continue to explore how localized social life and attachments are affected by the “speeding up, and spreading out” of the modern world (Massey 1994, 146). Some argue that accelerated transport systems, telematics and “time-space distanciation” (Giddens 1990, 14) have made community boundaries more fluid or porous, thereby diminishing the importance of place as a signifier of community and identity. For others, increasing levels of mass media exposure have raised concern over the deterioration of community ties (Hodgetts and Chamberlain 2007). The proliferation of extralocal social networks, economic relations and “hypermobile capital” (Urry 1985, 33) are routinely juxtaposed to the more traditional notion of all-encompassing community life. Zygmunt Bauman notes the “self-perpetuating” decline of communities and the relentless erosion of social bonds in the new age of individualism, hypermobility and globalization (2001, 48) (see Smith 1996). He is one of several scholars who, over the span of more than a century, have commented on the loss of community and, more recently, “fractured community” (Secomb 2000, 133). The confluence of global forces and local change dynamics, combined with presumptions of loss and fragmentation, have left contemporary scholars pondering the meaning and relevance of community. It is noteworthy that Tönnies long ago raised many of the same issues, albeit in somewhat different terms. As Niall Bond points out, the changing meaning of community over the past century reflects “the rise and fall of the attractiveness of Gemeinschaft when compared with Gesellschaft” (2011, 27).



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Social Entities, Collective Will and Communal Agency This section shifts attention to Tönnies’s (1905; 1931) work on social entities, collective will and communal agency. His ideas concerning the co-construction of varied forms of social life through the interpersonal processes of human volition and thought are particularly relevant to the study of community and agency. In the preface to the first edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies succinctly pointed out that “to be is to act” (1887, 18). By extension, those who theorize collective agency are concerned with how the “purposive actions of individuals combine to produce a social outcome” (Coleman 1986, 1321). Not only are there diverse forms of collective entities and agency, there are also varied interpretations of the intentional states that influence individuals to live, think and act together in some unified or coordinated manner. Tönnies’s work comprises ideas that bear directly on “the idea of a collective agent, and collective as opposed to individual human agency” (Gilbert 2006, 4). The following sections examine some of Tönnies’s key insights into (i) the interrelatedness of individual and common volition; (ii) the attribution of purposive agentive capacity to collective entities or “persons” (e.g., organizations and communities); and (iii) the distinction between rational-strategic and mutual-interpretive conceptions of collective (community) action. Individual and Collective Will In an article written more than 40 years after the publication of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies observes: “It is our purpose to study the sentiments and motives which draw people to each other, keep them together, and induce them to joint action” (1931, 3). He expresses a clear desire to investigate the social products of human thinking and willing (i.e., entities) as a function of people coming into relation with one another in everyday life. Tönnies consistently emphasizes that a true understanding of what brings and holds human beings together “ought to be seen and analyzed from the inside out,” that is, the psychological or subjective substance (e.g., emotions, thoughts and intentions) of all forms of association (1932, 8). Tönnies dedicates particular theoretical attention to “relationships of mutual affirmation,” which involve “the will to create or bring about, to form, or to make” some object or activity (1957[1887], 33) (see Tönnies 1925a, 84). More to the point, human will pertains to the determination to act in a particular fashion. Tönnies argues that the sociological view is concerned with whether “reciprocal affirmation” derives more from “motives in feeling” (Wesenwille) or “motives in reasoning” (Kürwille) (1907, 89). In conceptual terms, social relationships can be willed into existence (i) for their own sake (intrinsic) or (ii) as means of achieving particular purposes (extrinsic). This distinction is intimately reflected in the quality or nature of self–other relations, that is, how other individuals are treated in the context of human association. Tönnies is interested in understanding how social entities arise out of human association (see Wirth 1926). He clearly states that “concrete entities […] come into existence only through social will”—they are the creations of thought and action (Tönnies 1932, 7). Social will concerns the agentive dynamic that operates reciprocally between

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individual and collective intentionality. Tönnies defines social will as “the will which is valid for a number of [persons], i.e., which determines their individual wills […] which is common to them and binds them together” (1899, 301). And, to the extent that all types of relations and associations are the products of human will, they can be differentiated on the basis of the affirming quality of their characteristic social will. The unity–totality that derives from social will either exists in advance of individualities (Gemeinschaft) or is created ideally through the aggregation of human thought (Gesellschaft). In either case, unity, in a social-psychological sense, is the co-product of individual actors (see Tönnies 1925a, 75). Tönnies clarifies that social will operates through human will insofar as it “is perceived, thought of as substantial, and thereby created by individuals” (as cited in Cahnman 1973, 256). Tönnies placed considerable importance on developing a comprehensive understanding of social structure comprising varied types of collective entities (1905, 570). He offers valuable insights into relational existence through the discussion of three forms of social entities: social relationships, social collectives and social organizations. One of Tönnies’s core concepts is that of the social relationship, which involves the interdependent conditioning of one individual’s volition by that of another (or others). Mutuality, for Tönnies, implies that actors affirm the relationship as an existent entity along with its constituent rights and obligations. Ties or bonds of this form operate between co-participants and their conscious connections, “either predominantly emotional or predominantly intellectual,” to the emergent social entity (Tönnies 1931, 8). Therefore, social relationships can be differentiated in terms of their respective volitional tendencies, for example, a genuine concern for others (e.g., love or duty) or an interest in acquiring something from another (e.g., barter or exchange). Max Weber (1978) offers a related understanding of the concept of social relationship as involving the meaningful and mutual orientation of each participant’s actions to that of all other actors. The “existence” of the relationship, in relation to its “imputed” or “given subjective meaning,” rests on the probability of recurrence (Weber 1978, 27–8). Furthermore, Weber distinguishes two pure types of social relationships: “communal” (Vergemeinschaftung) and “associative” (Vergesellschaftung) (1978, 40). Communal relationships derive from actors’ subjective feelings of belonging together based on “affectual, emotional, or traditional” issues (e.g., the family), whereas associative relationships stem from “rationally motivated” action orientations such as exchange-based or self-interested behavior (Weber 1978, 41). Weber acknowledges the similarity of his terminology to that of Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft–Gesellschaft distinction, but he goes on to suggest that the latter concepts are more narrowly drawn and specific in nature. Much like Tönnies, however, Weber observes that “the great majority of social relationships has this [communal] characteristic to some degree, while being at the same time to some degree determined by associative factors” (1978, 41). Second, Tönnies defines social collectives or collectivities as involving a number of individuals held together by “common feelings and ways of thinking” (1931, 18). The fundamental social-psychological processes of feeling or thinking together can give rise to a collective or social will that influences all those involved. Collectives can also be sustained more (or less) by Wesenwille or Kürwille. Tönnies describes the social collective as an



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unorganized entity “of firmer texture and long duration” that mediates between his conceptions of relations and associations (1932, 7). And, although a collective can acquire an intersubjectively felt sense of reality through mutual willing and affirmation, it lacks the capacity for true volition (or agency). However, this does not preclude the possibility that a social collective could lead to the emergence of an organizational structure. Third, Tönnies remarks that the social organization or “social body” holds particular importance within sociology, perhaps because of its capacity to express a collective will (1931, 25). His idea of a “corporate” entity surpasses the notion of several individuals somehow feeling that they belong together; it constitutes “an enduring self or ego in the totality” (Tönnies 1931, 26). These collective social units exist within the consciousness of co-participants and conceivably also from the perspective of other individuals or social entities with whom they (may) come into contact. The social corporation is conceived “as a person” or “a rational being” that “thinks, consults, and decides” (Tönnies 1926, 136). And, in addition to being consciously affirmed by those within and outside the social entity, the corporation can act through one or more “natural” individuals in representing the greater collective will of its members. On a related theme, Weber has remarked that it may be useful or practical “to treat social collectivities, such as states, associations, business corporations, foundations, as if they were individual persons,” particularly with regard to “rights and duties or as the performers of legally significant actions” (1978, 13). And, although he rejects the notion of “a collective personality which ‘acts,’” Weber acknowledges that people think about and behave in relation to social entities as “something actually existing” (1978, 14). For the purposes of subjective interpretation, however, he emphasizes that the actions of collectivities must be understood as the outcomes of individual acts. Weber further claims that by focusing on the “interpretive understanding” of individual members’ action orientations, the sociologist moves beyond “external observation,” which resonates with Tönnies’s preoccupation with examining social processes and phenomena from the “inside.” Cahnman (1976) suggests that Tönnies shares Weber’s view that only individuals can engage in meaningfully oriented social action. Tönnies points out that nominalism contests the existence of “collective realities” except insofar as they are constructed mentally by real people (1905, 580). Interestingly, he also states that, although a corporation may well be deemed “fictitious,” it can at times be “more than nominal” (Tönnies 1905, 588). Tönnies’s notion of a “collective person” is a social-psychological construction that emerges among individuals bound together by common volition (1931, 10). By entering into living relation with others, people develop a felt sense of commonality and unity. And, in some instances, individuals or groups can embody “the will and being” of the larger entity or community (Tönnies 1957[1887], 173). Common will is manifest in the cooperative relations that bind persons (or selves) into a unity or “a whole of higher order” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 171). It is perhaps with this idea in mind that he comments on the outward (i.e., external) appearance of community among people who share common attributes, as compared to the more intimate relational fabric of Gemeinschaft. In the preface to the second edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies makes the point that, while “natural” or “real” social relationships “exist in and for our consciousness,”

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there are also associations that come into being “by our consciousness” (1912, 33). The latter are “essentially of an ideally conceived character,” that is, “creations (Gebilde) of human thought and will” (Tönnies 1912, 33). He further suggests that these socially constituted units can take on an obdurate reality insofar as members consciously affirm their existence. And, as discussed later in this chapter, certain types of social entities can assume the form of collective actors (or “persons”) imbued with human-like volitional tendencies and “the power of united wills over single wills” (Tönnies 1912, 33). There is a clear phenomenological bent in his thinking about the subjective and intersubjective (relational) foundations of associations that can sediment over time into highly durable, organized social structures. Indications of this mode of thinking can be found in Tönnies’s comments about the similarity of meaning between his “forms of social volition” and Émile Durkheim’s “social facts” (1938[1895], 1) (see Cahnman 1973, 255). Not unlike Durkheim, Tönnies accepts the notion that collective entities exist apart from individual consciousness, but again they should be understood as products of common thinking and willing. Higher-Order Collective Entities, Persons and Actors One of the most provocative themes of academic discourse on joint or group agency concerns the notion of a collective we to which some social philosophers and theorists attribute agentive capacities, that is, as distinct from a composite of individually intended acts. Of particular interest here is Tönnies’s contention that corporations are social constructions that embody “human intellect and human will” (1905, 588). He also suggests that, in some instances, a collective entity can take on a higher-order organic quality or “life of its own” and thereby transcend the existence of its members. There is also the related issue of how social entities that bind participants together with a common will can be understood as collective actors (i.e., “plural subjects”). Tönnies’s discussion of the social-biological, social-psychological and phenomenological properties of social life are meaningful for contemporary work on collective community action. Some of Tönnies’s (1905) most essential ideas concerning the dynamic interplay between individual and collective volition are embedded in his threefold conception of social entities: biological, psychological and sociological. With regard to the biological component, Tönnies notes that a village community can be understood as an organic whole or “collective being” actively involved in its continued existence—a dwelling place of social life (1905, 571). This is consistent with his suggestion that Gemeinschaft-like relationships and associations can be viewed as “living organisms” or, perhaps more accurately, “social organisms” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 37; 1912, 32). However, he makes a distinction between more narrowly framed organic theories of the state or society and his own “quasi-organic” interpretation of human associations (see Tönnies 1925a, 83). And, although Tönnies acknowledges the analytic value of biological analogies, he emphasizes that a truly comprehensive understanding of social life requires close attention to its multifold dimensions. This may explain Tönnies’s reluctance to accept the contention that a community “‘is’ an organism” (1912, 32). In somewhat parallel fashion, Weber suggests



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that an organismic–functional framework is useful for the analysis of social collectivities as long as it is not overextended or the concept is “illegitimately ‘reified’” (1978, 15). Tönnies argues that human beings are bound together in their social lives by intricate arrangements of potentially conflicting thoughts, feelings, emotions and motives. In psychological terms, community residents develop attachments to place that contribute to the formation of an enduring and distinct social identity. In moving from the psychological to the sociological plane of analysis, Tönnies draws attention to the role that consciousness and identity play in common action. When a unity exists in the minds of those living, feeling and being together, there is the potential for “a psychical or moral body, capable of willing and of acting like a single human being; the idea of a self or person,” albeit “an artificial or fictitious one” (Tönnies 1905, 574). The corporation not only comes into existence through the collective will of its members; it also possesses and can take action based on its own will (i.e., self-awareness). On this point, Tönnies makes a distinction between several people sharing a general social will and “the unified will of an entity based on a common will, or a social entity” (1926, 131). These types of social phenomena are of sociological interest insofar as they bind people together in a manner that is recognized by both participants and outsiders. In other words, they exist in human consciousness and acquire obdurate reality by virtue of intersubjective relations. For Tönnies, the foremost ratio essendi of social entities is the common volition and thought that imbues them with “a certain empirical reality” or “social reality which is grounded in the ideas about them, hence in the minds of [persons]” (1907, 103). From a phenomenological perspective, a corporation can be viewed as the embodiment (or creation) of human consciousness and will, by virtue of which it may also be endowed with its own existence, properties and volition. As Cahnman states, “Tönnies bases things social in the minds of [persons] as they manifest themselves in their willed actions” (1973, 7). Tönnies also distinguishes between a corporation that merely serves its members’ interests, as compared to one that people view as truly real, living and existing in some higher-order sense. So, in addition to coming into being for a specific purpose, a social entity can also be conceived of as “existing for its own sake, as an end in itself ” (Tönnies 1905, 578). Here, again, Tönnies contrasts the intrinsically real (organic) fabric of human social relations to those of a more artificial or instrumental (mechanical) nature. In either sense, however, all collective entities are the social products of human thinking, willing and acting. In order for a corporation to approximate human-like volition, a single “natural” individual or a constituted body must take up the role of willing and acting on behalf of this so-called fictitious being or “moral person” (Tönnies 1905, 575–6). Unlike an individual who acts on the basis of his or her own concerns, however, the representative(s) of a corporation act(s) in or on behalf of others’ interests (i.e., the larger group). In a general sense, then, a social entity or corporation can be viewed as intersubjectively created, socially existent and changeable over time, as well as endowed with human-like agentive capacities. This idea is noteworthy given the recent interest in symbolic interactionist and social constructionist (micro-to-macro level) approaches to the study of organizational behavior and social institutions. And, although Tönnies makes a distinction between this

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type of collective social being and a political entity or state, he does suggest that common volition and action can exist by virtue of constituted organizational structures. Tönnies emphasizes the subjective bonds that grow out of “being together” in shared consciousness, “living together” in common life, and “working, or acting, together” in cooperation (1925b, 67–9). This is consistent with Martin Buber’s assertion that a true community, unlike a collectivity, is more than a mere bundle of individuals—it involves people living and experiencing life together in the form of a social bond (2002[1947]). Tönnies (1905) is particularly interested in the kind of entity (i.e., corporation) whose members, and perhaps also outsiders, are aware of its existence, which also implies normative properties (e.g., obligation and legitimation). In this sense, the collective social being becomes the object of conscious reflection and sentiment and, by extension, it can be both actor and acted upon (internally and externally). The latter form of joint agency occurs when individual activities are transformed into the unitary act of a social entity generated by collective will. Diverse types of will or volition interpenetrate all forms of human association ranging from the most basic social relationships to highly complex organizational structures. Tönnies contends that social entities can be differentiated on the basis of the human (social) will that defines their essential nature. A relationship characterized by Gemeinschaft can mature into a “general self ” that possesses its own life force, will and agentive capacity: “a metaphysical union of bodies” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 177). However, the predominance of rational self-interest does not preclude the emergence of collective will and a requisite social entity. An “artificial [collective] person” can come into existence by virtue of “contracting rational wills” organized around the pursuit of a particular purpose or act (Tönnies 1957[1887], 177). In both instances, the co-participants’ thoughts and actions are influenced by their own respective individual wills and the characteristic common will. Hence, the agentive capacity of the “collective being” follows from members thinking, feeling and willing it into existence. It is important to contextualize Tönnies’s ideas concerning the emergence of common will and social persons within the larger academic discourse on collective action and, by implication, collective intentionality. The question of how people come together in joint agency has prompted extensive philosophical and theoretical debate over a range of issues such as “I-to-we,” “we-as-acting” and “we-as-intending” (Pettit and Schweikard 2006,  20). Buber (2002[1947], 208), for example, refers to an essential We—“a community of several independent persons, who have reached a self and self-responsibility […] The special character of the We is shown in the essential relation existing, or arising temporarily, between its members.” The We is not some nameless, faceless public, but rather a community built on genuine mutual relations. Edmund Husserl too comments on the notion of a “unity of will” whereby individuals think and act with and through each other (see Hart 1992, 215). He goes further in suggesting that, in such situations, “personalities of a higher order” can emerge intersubjectively and give rise to synthetic acts (Husserl 1999[1950], 131–2). And, by virtue of the “communalization [of constitutive intentionality],” this social entity can acquire an “intersubjective sphere of ownness” that is ontologically distinct from individual existence (Husserl 1999[1950], 107). The latent collective we both emerges and becomes self-perpetuating as people routinely feel, think and act together.



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John Dewey’s (2012[1927]) remarks concerning the nature of community resonate with Tönnies’s (1957[1887]) theory of Gemeinschaft. According to Dewey, associated life is foundational to the development of a community and, yet, “no amount of aggregated collective action of itself constitutes a community” (2012[1927], 123). Interpersonal relations and interdependence constitute natural facets of human social existence. However, true community or a sense of We-ness exists “only when the consequences of combined action are perceived and become an object of desire and effort” (Dewey 2012[1927], 123–4). It is also important for collective action to be imbued with mutual interests and shared meanings (e.g., a common good). And, much like Tönnies, Dewey’s notion of community combines physical, organic and moral properties. Somewhat more recently, John R. Searle (1990) has posed the idea of a We-intention that is irreducible to an amalgamation of individual I-intentions, which he attributes to a distinction in the actors’ cognitive orientations to their behavior. He disputes the notion of “a group mind or group consciousness,” instead suggesting that “collective intentionality seems to presuppose some level of sense of community” (Searle 1990, 413). Herein lies the enigmatic notion of the collective We or “macrobelonging” (Wiesenfeld 1996, 341) that has the potential to bind individual intentions and actions together on behalf of the larger group. At issue here is understanding how agency operates at the level of the collective, group or plurality, that is, the shift from I to We thinking, willing or acting. Christopher Kutz examines the issue of collective action through the concept of “overlapping, individual participatory intentions,” which is concerned with how agents view their individual (albeit jointly intended) actions as contributing to a collective outcome (2000, 4). Put differently, actors cooperatively perform discrete tasks with the intention of accomplishing a collective end. Nicholas Bardsley refers to this process as “the first person plural perspective,” where individuals act in a coordinated manner based on the belief that others share a similar form of team-oriented thinking, that is, “collectively instrumental agency” (2007, 141, 143). As Karen Cronick observes: “In order for action to be collective, there must be a sense of subjectivity that includes a sense of the intersubjective” (2002, 535). There is also the matter of whether collective agents can emerge as distinct “centers of intentional attitude and action over and beyond singular agents” (Pettit and Schweikard 2006, 35–6). Margaret Gilbert raises this point with reference to the “joint commitment” of the will “to do something as a body,” to approximate the actions of a single person (2006, 8). This idea resonates with Tönnies’s reference to the emergence of “a higher collective will,” which can give rise to a “thinking agent” that the members of the group think of “as a person like themselves” (1931, 10). Collective Community Action: Rationality versus Mutuality Scholars have long considered the question of how freely acting individuals can form collective intentions and coordinate their actions in the pursuit of common goals (see Coleman 1986). This literature has relied quite heavily on rational actor or rational choice theory, which draws on a homo economicus model of human nature (Gleicher 2011). The latter depicts individual and collective action as rooted in instrumental self-interest to maximize utility or potential benefit (Connor 2011). The rather narrow analytic focus

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on strategic goal-directed behavior has been criticized on the grounds that it does not consider the role of interactional processes in the emergence of shared understandings and cooperative action. Therefore, it is important to draw a distinction between strategic economistic interpretations of communal agency and intersubjective processes of collective will formation. Bryon Miller suggests that the theorization of community action should not be limited to strategic rationality; rather, it is useful to consider processes of “communicative action” through or by means of which “[i]ndividuals reach common understandings, form communal bonds, and construct collective identities” (1922, 22). He draws on Jürgen Habermas’s (1984, 285)  notions of “communicative action” and “strategic action,” which resonate with some aspects of Tönnies’s (1957[1887]) Gemeinschaft/ Wesenwille–Gesellschaft/Kürwille distinction. Habermas associates strategic action with “egocentric calculations of success,” whereas individuals engaged in communicative action “harmonize their plans of action on the basis of common situation definitions” (1984, 101, 286). In the former sense, action is oriented to utility maximization, whereas the latter is concerned with processes of intersubjective interpretation and coordination. The shared meaning achieved through communicative practice facilitates actors’ cooperative efforts to realize identifiable goals. Communicative action and any resultant consensus of meaning depend on an emergent definition of the situation. Habermas states that: “Collective will-formation refers to the stabilization of mutual behavioural expectations in the case of conflict or to the choice and effective realization of collective goals in the case of cooperation” (1989, 145). Habermas contextualizes negotiated understandings within the horizon of the socalled lifeworld (or Lebenswelt), that is, a diffuse background of knowledge, norms, practices, traditions and convictions shared by members of a “communication community” (1984, 70). The lifeworld offers a totality of prospective interpretations that can be drawn on as participants act communicatively to achieve agreement in action situations. Somewhat in keeping with Tönnies’s change thesis, Habermas refers to the “colonization” or “the erosion of the lifeworld,” by which he means the dissolving of traditional communicative life forms in light of the “systemic effects” or “imperatives” of capitalism (money) and bureaucratization (power) (1987, 333). He attributes the “one-sided rationalization or reification of everyday communicative practice” to the “penetration of forms of economic and administrative rationality” (Habermas 1987, 330). Given the widespread political-economic transformations of modernity, Habermas doubts that there could ever be a return to the “unity” once experienced in traditional forms of living and being. And, yet, Bauman suggests that there is need for “a community of concern and responsibility” within the global age of the individual, that is, “a community woven together from sharing and mutual care” (2000, 149–50). Of late, there is growing interest in interactional approaches to community action such as Kenneth P. Wilkinson’s (1991) social field theory. His work, which derives in part from Tönnies’s notion of Gemeinschaft, emphasizes that community interaction is a natural outcome of people being, living and coming into relation with others. From this perspective, purposeful collective agency emerges through the interpersonal convergence of diverse interests and lines of action. Some advocates of the field-interactional approach



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make a distinction between Wesenwille-like action tendencies based on consensus building and generalized interests, as contrasted with norms of reciprocity or exchange dynamics implicit in social capital theory (Bridger and Alter 2006). This work draws attention to the importance of theorizing communal agency in terms of common interests, intersubjective understandings and collective intentionality.

Conclusion Tönnies theorized some of the most essential processes of collective social life, while recognizing the inherent dynamism of lived experience. One of his most notable analytical contributions involves the formulation and application of “normal concepts.” As Tönnies points out, “[c]onceptual matter is the iron which we, as thinkers, have to forge” (1899, 292). And, although widely cited, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are often misconstrued as categorical social entities rather than analytical tools developed expressly for the study of social phenomena. Interpreters of Tönnies’s work sometimes fail to appreciate the dialectical relationship between his notions of pure sociology and applied sociology. “‘Pure’ concepts must be illustrated by concrete examples, but the examples, in turn, are only approximations to the clarity of the conceptual formulation” (Cahnman 1976, 841). These constructions of thought constitute distillations of essential elements that exist to varying degrees in the empirical (social) world. Tönnies is well known for his constructed types, perhaps so much so that other aspects of his work have been neglected. An area of particular relevance to the study of community concerns his essential idea of people coming into relation with each other and actively creating social structures (i.e., collective entities). Indeed, Tönnies’s notion of the social relationship is a foundational component or building block of human social life. He stresses the importance of decomposing the conceptual elements of “social relations” through the careful examination of social relationships, social will and social unions, the latter of which he suggests constitute the most definitive domain of sociology (Tönnies 1907). Few would contest his view that sociology involves the study of how people come together in their being, living, thinking, feeling and acting. Tönnies’s discussion of the biological, psychological and sociological dimensions of social entities is decidedly interstitial in nature. And, although he recognized the value of biological or organic analogies, he sought to develop a more comprehensive understanding of social structures. In doing so, Tönnies directed attention to the social phenomenological or constructionist fabric of collective life. He represents social entities, most notably corporations, as the creations of human volition that acquire human-like properties— they represent higher-order, concrete social embodiments of human willing, thinking and acting. Tönnies clearly states that social unions exist to the extent that they are “perceived, felt, imagined, thought, known, and willed, primarily by individuals” (1907, 103). This micro-to-macro perspective on the emergent nature of human association and the sedimentation of social structures is a core theme of sociological theorizing. Tönnies takes the position that humans are naturally inclined toward association or union. More to the point, social entities are products of human willing and thinking that enter into the (collective) consciousness of their producers. His assertion that a

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community can be treated as a “collective being” can be interpreted in at least two basic senses: first, as a quasi-organic entity that persists over several generations of life and second, as a union (or unity) of individuals whose lives, to varying degrees, are embedded in the collective existence of being and belonging together. Contemporary theorizing around the dialogical fabric of self–other relations, intersubjective meaning-making and joint social action are all derivatives, in one way or another, of this classical interest in how people come into relation with one another in everyday life. Jacoby observes that “Tönnies’ problem was to explain how the human factor is the very thing that makes an association an object of scientific study while at the same time it can for most purposes act like a subject” (1955, 156). Tönnies’s multidimensional analysis of collective entities, in general, and social organizations (i.e., corporations), in particular, is especially relevant today when read through contemporary discourse on symbolic constructionist, social representational and dialogical approaches to community. Increasing theoretical attention is being focused on how people think, talk and act community into existence in everyday life. The relational genesis of community is bound up in self–other dialogue, that is, community is intersubjectively constructed as a meaningful psychosocial referent through symbolically mediated interaction. For Tönnies, all forms of human association, including corporations and communities, are “ideally constructed objective entities” (1907, 103). This resonates with Pahl’s notion of the “community-in-the-mind,” which is comparable in importance to material conceptions of community (2005, 621). Tönnies’s classic Gemeinschaft/Wesenwille–Gesellschaft/Kürwille distinction might seem somewhat passé to some, and, yet, the debate over community loss, fragmentation and decline persists to this day. His concepts are more than iconic; they are analytical elements with which to consider the relational fabric of social phenomena. Some community theorists are wont to say that Gemeinschaft has disappeared or perhaps never truly existed previously. However, in commenting on the prospective loss of community or the disintegration of close personal relationships, sociologists and others are actually imputing something about the relative presence (or absence) of Gemeinschaft. This point takes on added significance when those who work in the field of community development theory or practice recommend building authentic relations, true dialogue and social bonds—all of which are indicative of Gemeinschaft. Tönnies’s notion of being together as belonging together is of particular relevance in that it brings self–other relations and social consciousness into the interpretation of community. On this point, Buber refers to the ontological real sphere of the “between” that people co-create through meaningful dialogical relations (2002[1947], 241). And, in much the same vein, Michael Bakhtin points to the border between individual consciousnesses, the “inter-individual,” where meaning is continually (re)constructed in real-time (1984[1963], 88). It is within these relational-volitional interhuman spaces that collective social (i.e., community) life and action come into being, and it is here that Tönnies has made some of his most important contributions to sociological theory.

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Tönnies, Ferdinand 1887, “Preface to the First Edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. 12–23. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1899, “Philosophical Terminology.” Mind. Vol. 8, Issue 31. 289–332. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/2247644. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1905, “The Present Problems of Social Structure.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 10, Issue 5. 569–88. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/2761955. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1907, “The Nature of Sociology.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. 87–107. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1912, “Preface to the Second Edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. 24–36. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1925a, “A Prelude to Sociology.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. 75–86. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1925b, “The Concept of Gemeinschaft.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. 62–72. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1926, “The Divisions of Sociology.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. ­128–40. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931, “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” In Tönnies 1940[1887]. 3–29. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1932, “My Relation to Sociology.” In Cahnman and Heberle 1971. 3–11. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1940[1887], Fundamental Concepts of Sociology (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft). Edited and translated by Charles P. Loomis. New York: American Book Company. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1957[1887], Community & Society: Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Edited and translated by Charles. P. Loomis. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. Urry, John 1985, “Social Relations, Space and Time.” In Social Relations and Spatial Structures. Edited by Derek Gregory and John Urry, 20–48. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Vidich, Arthur J. and Bensman, Joseph 1958, Small Town in Mass Society: Class, Power and Religion in a Rural Community. Garden City, NY: Anchor Books. Warren, Roland. L. 1978, The Community in America. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: Rand McNally. Weber, Max 1978, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, Volume 1. Edited by Guenther Roth and Claus Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press. Wellman, Barry 1979, “The Community Question: The Intimate Networks of East Yorkers.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 84, Issue 5. 1201–31. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/ stable/2778222. Wellman, Barry. Editor. 1999, Networks in the Global Village: Life in Contemporary Communities. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Wellman, Barry. 1999, “Preface.” In Wellman 1999. xi–xxii. Wellman, Barry and Potter, Stephanie. 1999, “The Elements of Personal Communities.” In Wellman 1999. 49–81. Wiesenfeld, Esther 1996, “The Concept of ‘We’: A Community Social Psychology Myth?” Journal of Community Psychology. Vol. 24, Issue 4. 337–46. Wilkinson, Kenneth P. 1991, The Community in Rural America. New York: Greenwood Press. Wirth, Louis 1926, “The Sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 32, Issue 3. 412–22. Retrieved from www.jstor.org/stable/2765542.

Chapter Four Tönnies and Globalization: Anticipations of Some Central Concerns of Twenty-first Century Sociology David Inglis

Introduction It is probably the case that none of the classical sociologists has been as posthumously misrepresented as has Ferdinand Tönnies. Decades of accumulated stereotypes, caricatures, clichés and misunderstandings have served to obscure what he actually did, said and thought, what his actual social and political opinions were, and what his real legacies may be within sociology and the broader social sciences. The central caricature that continues to bedevil his reputation today is centered on the notions that he was, variously, a dyed-in-the-wool conservative blind to the benefits of modern social order, a proto-Nazi decrying the current state of society and politics in favor of an ethnically homogeneous Gemeinschaft, and an uninteresting, crude and simplistic precursor to analytically richer and more appealing analysts of social order, such as Georg Simmel and Max Weber (Adair-Toteff 1995). All of these conceptions are clearly and demonstrably wrong, but they continue to have a great deal of purchase at the present time, at least—or especially—in the Anglo-Saxon academy. When he is not condemned for an apparently distasteful or unacceptable social politics, Tönnies is relegated to being construed as a dry, rigid thinker whose key Gemeinschaft / Gesellschaft distinction has been proven time and again to be far too simple to grasp how modernity creates forms of community as much as destroying or transforming others (Crow and Allan 1994). This latter charge is particularly ironic because Tönnies was very well aware of such matters, and his thoughts on them still should command attention today. The various contributions to the present volume indicate the radically oversimplified, if not downright erroneous, representations of Tönnies that have been the mainstay of undergraduate sociology textbooks, and the less sophisticated forms of academic community studies, since at least World War II. Yet the question remains—why should anyone read Tönnies at the present time? What could be gained from that? What, if anything, does he have to say to contemporary sociology that is meaningful or productive?

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The view I will present in this chapter is that Tönnies’s writings are quite remarkably fecund terrain for sociologists looking to the past of the discipline in order to try to find inspiration for how to carry out sociology in the future. The fecundity does not derive only from the fact that his writings are so generally nowadays unattended to by the sociological mainstream, in the English-speaking academy at any rate. The richness and suggestiveness of his writings can also be located in this fact—that he anticipates some of the most central preoccupations of types of sociology that have been, and are being, invented, many decades after his death. He pioneered sociological analyses of a range of important topics that are within the purview of sociologists at the present time—understanding what we today call processes of globalization, including focusing on such issues as the creation and working of transnational public opinion through globalizing media outlets and spheres, and the generation of “culturally weightless” products and symbols. These more specific phenomena are pursued through and based on two analytic foci that should continue to command our interest: an understanding of the globalization of capitalism that draws on, complements but yet also criticizes and seeks to transcend the classical Marxian understanding of this process; and a view of human social relations that puts a social-psychological stress on how persons comprehend and orient themselves to each other, and goes beyond a simple structuralist conception of how impersonal forces and structures allegedly drive actors in direct ways. It is ironic that the Gemeinschaft  / Gesellschaft distinction is usually invoked as a structuralist division between two different types of “social structure,” when actually it is about two different types of “will” and consciousness, the ongoing activities of which have the effect of generating, or changing, what are conventionally called “social structures.” Put together, what could be called Tönnies’s socio-psychological conceptual base and his account of globalization generate a series of, at the very least, interesting, usually highly insightful and often marvelously suggestive anticipations of contemporary “global” or “cosmopolitan” sociology, which puts the lie to Ulrich Beck’s (2000) claim that the sociological classics have little or nothing useful to contribute to the analysis of processes of globalization, and conditions of globality and global complexity. Far from being wedded to any restrictive “methodological nationalism”—where sociology takes as its main analytic unit the “national society,” rather than transnational processes or the “world as a whole”—there is more than enough to glean from across Tönnies’s writings to suggest that his sociological vision is sufficiently broad and world-encompassing for him to be thought of as a pioneer of globalization theory and global studies quite as much as is Marx. To show this, I will here reconstruct what I take to be Tönnies’s central contributions to such matters, as these are to be found across a range of his works from different periods of his life. This of course involves a certain amount of cherry-picking, post hoc reconstruction and the risk of anachronistic interpretation. Nevertheless, I believe that what I will present here is sufficiently rooted in the original texts to merit consideration as an accurate representation of the more “global” strains in Tönnies’s thinking, strains that have until very recently barely been remarked on—another element of the misrepresentations of his thought that are otherwise so widespread even today.



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Conceptual Bases Tönnies uses his famous Gemeinschaft / Gesellschaft distinction across his writings in two main ways (Cahnman 1968, 137–9; Mitzman 1971, 507; Nisbet 1976, 76). First, he deploys it as a means of describing certain historical shifts in Europe in two distinct periods: the transition from early Roman history to the period of the Roman Empire, and the movement from feudalism to “modernity” in northern Europe from around the sixteenth century CE onward. According to Tönnies, these periods of transition were very similar, as they involved shifts from Gemeinschaft-style to Gesellschaft-style social conditions, from a situation whereby tightly bound, affectively based groups were the main sorts of social phenomena, to one where rationally calculating, selfish individuals occupied dominant roles within the social order (Tönnies 1957[1887], 234). Subsequent stereotyped representations of Tönnies generally involve presenting this historical version of the Gemeinschaft / Gesellschaft distinction as if it were the only possible use of such a distinction, with the effect of making Tönnies’s sociological system seem much more simplistic than it actually is. Seeing only the straightforward historical use of the distinction leads to a vision of Tönnies as simply offering nothing other than a highly romanticized conservative narrative about a transformation from an idealized organic “community” to a highly negatively construed “social atomism.” Taking account of the second use Tönnies makes of the Gemeinschaft / Gesellschaft distinction forces one away from such a narrow interpretation. This second usage involves regarding each term of the dyad as an ideal-typical model that could be applied to any social circumstances, not just the Roman Empire or Western European modernity (Inglis 2009). These concepts can be applied to any particular society, with the result that one might find within both Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft characteristics. In this usage, the distinction does not describe two opposing general types of social order, one “premodern” and one “modern,” but instead concerns two different sorts of ideal-typical social characteristics that can be found in various admixtures within empirically existing contexts. Such ideal-type model building was of course one of the main groundings for Max Weber’s later exercises in the creation of social typifications (Mitzman 1973). At various points in his oeuvre Tönnies makes use of either the “ideal-typical” or the “historical” meanings of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. The main thrust of his first major work, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (Tönnies 1957[1887], first edition 1887; hereafter referred to as GuG), involved the historical understanding, while in his later work he tends more to deploy the ideal-typical usage (Cahnman 1968, 137–9; Mitzman 1973, 131). However, both versions of the distinction are present in GuG, as for example, when he depicts (e.g., Tönnies 1957[1887], 227)  the remaining vestiges of Gemeinschaft-style attitudes and practices (e.g., continuing strong familial bonds among the working classes) existing within a present-day historical context primarily characterized by Gesellschaft means of thought and action. Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are themselves derived from two more fundamental concepts. Tönnies’s general epistemology is best described as “socio-psychological” rather than as primarily “social-structural” because he sees the fundamental building blocks of human reality as two different forms of “will”—the ways an individual conceptualizes

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the world around him or her, especially other people, and acts within and on it. Tönnies’s most basic distinction is between Wesenwille (“natural will”) and Kürwille (“rational will”). While the former involves a judgment as to the intrinsic value of an act rather than its practicality, the latter involves a conscious choice of specific means for the pursuit of a specific end. These are socio-psychological terms that, again, Max Weber would later make much use of in his typology of different forms and levels of rationality. They are the bases on which the (more but not completely) “social-structural” notions of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are erected. Wesenwille is characterized by strong affectivity and group-oriented feelings and describes the typical psychological and social-relational dispositions that constitute a Gemeinschaft-style social order. Kürwille, by contrast, describes the equivalent dispositions, involving high levels of individualistic calculation, that underpin and constitute the social order of Gesellschaft. It is misleading to characterize Tönnies as primarily a “structuralist” author, in the same manner as we might judge, for example, the earlier Durkheim (Inglis 2009). Durkheim himself noted the emphasis on “will” and subjective orientations in Tönnies’s sociological system, a feature he believed differentiated it from his own approach (Aldous 1972). Tönnies is instead much closer to Weber in that the starting point for analysis is the subjective viewpoint of the actor, examining how s/he thinks about, and thus relates to, other people. Thus Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are not quite “objectively existing” social-structural conditions in the sort of sense the earlier Durkheim pursued, but are constellations of individuals who view each other in particular characteristic ways, either as ends-in-themselves (Gemeinschaft) or as means-to-ends (Gesellschaft). Therefore in the historical sense, the transition from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft essentially means a shift from the predominance from one kind of “will” to another, from Wesenwille to Kürwille. In the ideal-typical sense, the aim is to examine any given empirical social condition for evidence as to the preponderance of either the one kind of will or the other in how persons typically think about and relate to each other, or as to admixtures of the two dispositions. Thus the development of European modernity is best described as the increasing dominance of Kürwille over Wesenwille, and that it is changes in forms of consciousness that lead to changes in what is conventionally called social structure, rather than vice versa. When Tönnies argues—as we will see shortly—that Gesellschaft is in his own day increasingly planet-spanning in scope, he is in effect arguing that there has been, and in future will be, a global spread of Kürwille, a changing of forms of consciousness that in turn creates ever more globe-spanning conditions of Gesellschaft. It is not that the worldwide spread of Gesellschaft changes fundamentally how people think. Instead, it is the global expansion of Kürwille-based ways of thinking that leads to the spread of Gesellschaft-style social relations, and therefore social structure, over ever greater expanses of the planet.

The Globalization of Gesellschaft The essence of Tönnies’s understanding of planet-wide social change in his own day is what we can plausibly refer to as the globalization of Gesellschaft, a process understood



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to be corrosive of all hitherto existing boundaries, political, cultural and social. Such a situation is produced because the essential tendency of Kürwille forms of consciousness is to pull ever greater numbers of people into their orbit, such ways of thinking having a decontextualized character that allows them to spread anywhere and everywhere, regardless of whatever borders, geographical or cultural, may happen to lie in their path. The social group that above all others promotes the spread and extension of Kürwille and Gesellschaft is the class of merchants, a group Tönnies considered the real revolutionaries of human history. Tönnies’s understanding of the literally world-­transforming capacities of the merchant class has strong affinities with Joseph Schumpeter’s later account of Unternehmergeist, the “restless spirits” whom Schumpeter regarded as the entrepreneurial driving force of economic innovation (Swedberg 1991). Indeed, Gesellschaft is itself defined by Tönnies as “a condition in which, according to the expression of Adam Smith, ‘Every man […] becomes in some measure a merchant’” (1957[1887], 76). Not only does the merchant class embody the essential spirit of Kürwille, it also possesses the capacity to transmit over large distances its characteristic modalities of thought and social interaction. Such capacities endow the merchant class with a powerful capacity to transform social relations. The ideal-typical merchant is the purest expression and carrier of the Kürwille type of consciousness: “The will to enrich himself makes the merchant unscrupulous and the type of egotistic, self-willed individual to whom all human beings except his nearest friends are only means and tools to his ends or purposes; he is the embodiment of Gesellschaft” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 165). The merchant so powerfully embodies the spirit of Kürwille that he should be seen as the first thinking and free human being to appear in the normal development of social life. He is, as much as possible, isolated from all necessary relationships, duties, and prejudices. (“A merchant, it has been said very properly, is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country”—Adam Smith.) He is free from the ties of the life of the Gemeinschaft; the freer he is from them, the better for him (Tönnies 1957[1887], 81) […] [He] is without home, a traveller, a connoisseur of foreign customs and arts without love or piety for those of any one country, a linguist speaking several languages. Flippant and double-tongued, adroit, adaptable […] He moves about quickly and smoothly, changes his character and intellectual attitude (beliefs or opinions) as if they were fashions of dress, one to be worn here, another there (Tönnies 1957[1887], 168).

The merchant’s exceptional freedom from the constraining thought patterns of Wesenwille, and thus the social relations of Gemeinschaft, means that he is unhindered by any of the moral considerations of Gemeinschaft, like patriotism or familial ties. The merchant is the quintessential “cosmopolitan,” radically free of any social ties that would hinder the pursuit of profit. Indeed, Tönnies claims that the “merchant class is by nature, and mostly also by origin, international as well as national and urban, i.e., it belongs to Gesellschaft, not Gemeinschaft” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 225). Merchants can either be foreigners who intrude into particular Gemeinschaft contexts, in the process changing them utterly, or they are deviant members of a Gemeinschaft who treat their supposedly “own” people in Kürwille- rather than Wesenwille-style terms, transforming Gemeinschaft social relations more and more into Gesellschaft relations.

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The dyadic opposite of the geographically, culturally and mentally mobile merchant is the sedentary, custom-observing peasant (1957[1887], 168). Tönnies observes that “the head of a household, a peasant or burgher, turns his attention inwardly towards the center of the locality, the Gemeinschaft, to which he belongs; whereas the trading class lends its attention to the outside world; it is concerned only with the roads which connect towns and with the means of transit” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 79). It is the merchant class’s mobility, both physical and intellectual, that is the basis of merchants’ ability to disseminate around them wherever they happen to go the dispositions of Kürwille and thus Gesellschaftstyle social relations. Once the Kürwille-based attitudes of merchants take hold in a given locality, that locality is inexorably turned into part of the overall network of Gesellschaft. The essence of Kürwille forms of consciousness and Gesellschaft modes of action and interaction is capitalist forms of trade and production. In his explanation of this point, Tönnies explicitly depicts the “globalizing” tendencies of capitalistic Kürwille. The more merchants spread Kürwille-centered thinking and practice in different locales, the more “the ‘capitalistic society’ increases in power and gradually attains the ascendancy [over Wesenwille and Gemeinschaft]. Tending as it does to be cosmopolitan and unlimited in size, it is the most distinct form of the many phenomena represented by the sociological concept of the Gesellschaft” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 258–9; emphases added).

Considering Capitalism So far I have presented the analysis of globalizing Gesellschaft found within Tönnies’s first book, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, dating from 1887. However in order to understand further how Tönnies theorized the relations between capitalism, Gesellschaft and Kürwille, we have to turn to his short book on Marx, first published in 1921 (Tönnies 1974 [1921]). Tönnies here remarks on the great extent to which Marx inspired the argument outlined in GuG. At a general level, Tönnies’s account of globalization is similar to that of Marx in that it is concerned with the global spread of capitalist social relations. And the understanding of the lack of respect Kürwille exhibits for established political, social and cultural borders is very reminiscent of Marx’s famous remarks about how capitalism destroys all the older social patterns with which it comes into contact: The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image. (Marx and Engels in Renton 2001, 53)

For Marx’s “capitalists,” one can relatively easily substitute Tönnies’s “merchants.” However, the Marx of The Communist Manifesto emphasizes the brutal economic (and



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sometimes military) force of capitalism’s ever more expansive conquests. Tönnies, by contrast, tends to focus on the more implicit, subtle and insidious ways the Kürwille consciousness of the merchants transforms particular societies and regions, involving more the copying and emulation of merchants’ ways of thinking by local groups, rather than the enforced imposition from outside the society of the imperatives of the capitalist world market (Bergner 1975). While Marx’s capitalists bludgeon peoples around the world into economic submission and then subordination, Tönnies’s merchants spread Gesellschaft through the subtler means of peddling desirable goods for which there was previously no demand, thus transforming the nature of desire, and through continuous contact with local populations, transforming people’s assumptions through processes of cultural osmosis. While capitalists batter down older ways of producing things, merchants seduce people into new mentalities and forms of interaction involving calculation and dispassionate evaluation. This difference points to a broader divergence between Tönnies and Marx. Even as early as GuG, the younger Tönnies had already broken significantly with some of Marx’s key claims about capitalism. In the Marx book, Tönnies outlines the essence of his disagreement with Marx as to the nature and historical genesis of capitalism, a disagreement that is fairly implicit in GuG, but that nonetheless underpins its argument as to the global spread of Gesellschaft. The explanation in the Marx book of the disagreement with Marx is based on the Gemeinschaft / Gesellschaft distinction, this time used to show that the production of goods (i.e., labor) is an activity ideal-type characteristic of Wesenwille and Gemeinschaft, whereas trade is fundamentally associated with Kürwille and Gesellschaft. This is because “labour wants to produce concrete value: it wants things which sustain, advance and adorn the life of the working person; [while] trade wants to gain abstract value […] and pursues the objective of its own perpetual accumulation” (Tönnies 1974[1921], 151). Tönnies takes issue with Marx’s claim that trade and merchants’ capital are subsidiary aspects of the capitalist mode of production, both ideal-typically and historically. According to Tönnies, Marx argued that at the point in time when capital-in-general “became master of the production process,” it was then that merchants’ capital was “demoted from its former independent existence to a special momentum of the capitalistic establishment as such […] [becoming] a form of capital with [only] some specific functions” (Tönnies 1974[1921], 149). Marx is wrong in this regard because the capital that comes to control production is in fact merchants’ capital itself, not some mythical “capital-in-general.” Thus “Marx must admit that capital profit does not alone and foremost originate in the sphere of production, but also, and earlier, in the sphere of circulation” (Tönnies 1974[1921], 150–1)—that is, in trade and the (always potentially transnational) practices of merchants. So, far from capitalism superseding and subordinating merchants’ capital, it is in fact the latter (i.e., trade) that is “the essence of capitalism […] [C]apitalism is a more developed, more powerful, and more expanded form of trade” (Tönnies 1974[1921], 151). Tönnies believes Marx is correct to note that the development of capitalism involves a situation where “the production process becomes permanently linked with the circulation process” (Tönnies 1974[1921], 152)—that is, labor/production and trade become

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entangled into one system. But—contra Marx—it is not that labor/production comes to subordinate trade, but rather that the latter comes to control the former. Thus the development of capitalism involves the increasing control of labor and production (characterized by Wesenwille and Gemeinschaft) by trade and merchants’ capital (characterized by Kürwille and Gesellschaft). Thus the Kürwille of the merchant comes to control the forms of Wesenwille historically associated with the peasant and the urban artisan, eventually turning both of these types of person into factory workers. So in the sphere of production, Gemeinschaft is irrevocably replaced by Gesellschaft. Kürwille-based consciousness transforms labor relations, due to the merchant class subordinating production to its own ends of exchange and profit-seeking. This challenge to, and reorientation of, Marx’s account of capitalism, which is presented in the Marx book, is consistent with the general idea already pursued in GuG: over time in northwestern Europe, the activities of the merchant class are the primary means whereby Kürwille and Gesellschaft overturn Wesenwille and Gemeinschaft. This transformation initially begins in the sphere of production, when merchants’ capital comes to control labor, and when the workforce starts to produce goods primarily for nonlocal markets rather than for its own geographically limited Gemeinschaft. Increasingly, the merchants’ power reaches out from the larger urban areas where it was originally concentrated, pulling ever more locales into its sphere of influence, including those far from metropolitan centers of trade: This class seems to reside in the centre of every […] locality, which it tends to penetrate and revolutionize. The whole country is nothing but a market in which to purchase and sell […] the more extensive the area, the more completely it becomes an area of the Gesellschaft, for the more widespread and freer trade becomes. Also, the more extensive the trade area, the more probable it is that the pure laws of exchange trade prevail, and that those other non-commercial qualities which relate men and things may be ignored. Trade tends, finally, to concentrate on one main market, the world market, upon which all other markets become dependent. (Tönnies 1957[1887], 79; emphasis added)

The outcome of merchants’ geographically mobile activities, and also of this group coming over time to control production processes, is the spread of Kürwille forms of thinking, and the Gesellschaft-style social relations that go with them, first throughout all national territories, and then eventually throughout the whole world. For Tönnies, such a process is inexorable, with Gemeinschaft inevitably falling under the dominion of Gesellschaft, the latter eventually involving a planet-spanning set of attitudes based on calculating self  interest. Thus, “to the extent that the common people, with its labour, is subjected to trade or capitalism, it discontinues being a people (Volk). It adapts itself to foreign forces and conditions and becomes educated or civilized” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 169), where the latter two terms refer to forms of thought and conduct thoroughly impregnated with the transportable and generalizable—and thus always potentially planet-spanning—dispositions of Kürwille. It is this situation Tönnies has in mind when in GuG he defines Gesellschaft as “modern, cultured, cosmopolitan” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 134), because “cosmopolitanism” is



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the essential feature of the merchant class. Again quoting Adam Smith, Tönnies argues that over time, exposure to “exchange and barter tend to make every human being into a merchant” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 81), that is, someone who thinks in the manner of Kürwille. In areas where merchants have imported Kürwille-style attitudes, eventually all social groups, especially the upper classes, and “at least in tendency, the whole people, acquire the characteristics of the Gesellschaft” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 225). Tönnies in GuG is explicit that Kürwille and Gesellschaft are potentially transportable to all regions of the earth. Just as Gemeinschaft is by definition about locality, Gesellschaft is by definition nonlocal, indeed anti-local, and thus always potentially global in scope. Whereas Wesenwille involves modes of substantive rationality rooted within strongly localized forms of group solidarity, Kürwille involves modes of formal rationality that could be adopted anywhere and everywhere, precisely because they are not freighted with the weight of cultural particularities and specific forms of group affiliation. The generalizability, transportability and radical mobility of Kürwille is what makes the ways of thinking characteristic of it always potentially global in reach, a key point that we will return to later in this chapter. Culturally nonspecific Kürwille and Gesellschaft are at first transported around the world by merchants and their activities, this process becoming much more systematic once capitalism has been institutionalized as, and through, the subordination of production to merchants’ capital. Tönnies considers the effects across the world of the constellation of Kürwille, Gesellschaft, trade and capitalism in this way: Trade, the production of goods—the workshop and the factory—are the elements by which [Gesellschaft] extends its network over the whole populated earth. It desires movement and quick movement; it must dissolve custom in order to develop a taste for the new and for imported goods. It figures on individual motives, especially on young people’s curiosity and love of finery […] Affection and fidelity to tradition, to one’s own, to one’s heritage, must necessarily give way. Commerce has ever a disintegrating effect […] Even the country folk soon find their old customs peculiar and absurd […] The pattern of the metropolis is imitated [even in the most remote areas]. (Tönnies 1957[1887], 134; emphases added)

The conclusion Tönnies draws in GuG is that the global spread of Gesellschaft is unstoppable. It is not just northern Europe but the whole planet that will eventually witness these processes. A “great transformation takes place […] the capitalistic society through a long process spreads itself […] over the whole of mankind” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 258–9; emphasis added). The future seems to be characterized by a global condition where Kürwille and Gesellschaft spread to ever further reaches of the world by means of the institutions of capitalism—the modern routinized expression of the dispositions of the merchant class—and where members of particular Gemeinschaft-style communities, who are particularly open to the appeal of self-interested actions, willingly adopt the new sets of attitudes and their corresponding practices: Gesellschaft […] emerge[s] [when] persons […] join hands eagerly to exchange across all distances, limits, and scruples, and establish this speculative [capitalist] Utopia as the only country, the only city, in which all fortune seekers and all merchant adventurers have a really

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common interest. [Just] as the fiction of money is represented by metal or paper, it [Gesellschaft] is represented by the entire globe. (Tönnies 1957[1887], 76–7)

The last part of the sentence above is particularly evocative. At the same point in time as Gesellschaft is globalized, the dominant symbol of Gesellschaft becomes the globe itself. So much has the world become subjugated to and shaped by Gesellschaft, it becomes impossible to conceive of the latter without drawing on imagery of the globe and the world taken as a whole. Conversely, it also becomes unthinkable to represent the globe in any other ways than having been wholly reconfigured by the practices of Gesellschaft and its attendant forms of consciousness. Gesellschaft is globe, and vice versa. The two notions— and the two realities to which they refer—have become synonymous. The globalization of Gesellschaft means that the symbol of the globe can now only meaningfully connote Gesellschaft itself.

Metropolis and Globe The expansion of Gesellschaft across the globe has a special relationship to the metropolis. It is from the metropolis that Gesellschaft spreads out to smaller conurbations and rural areas, while it is in the metropolis that the globalizing tendencies of Gesellschaft are most concentrated and extensively exhibited. For Tönnies, Kürwille particularly thrives in very large cities because of their impersonality and anonymousness—characteristics that are themselves products of Kürwille. The large urban area is thus the locale where Kürwille-style attitudes are born, where most take root, and where they are most comprehensively and vividly expressed. In a certain sense, the metropolis is Gesellschaft, embodying the latter in its most essential form (Tönnies 1957[1887], 227). If Gesellschaft is metropolis, and vice versa, and if Gesellschaft is inherently globalizing, then the very large city is not just affected by, or a product of, globalization. Instead, the metropolis is more than just a living embodiment of globalization; it is globalization. Tönnies also notes that “the more general the condition of Gesellschaft becomes in the nation or a group of nations, the more this entire ‘country’ or the entire ‘world’ begins to resemble one large city” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 227). The geographical spread of Gesellschaft leads to a condition whereby the whole globe seems to resemble one giant metropolis. Conversely, not only does the whole world seem to be present in a vast city like Berlin, it actually is present in quite concrete ways. The metropolis contains representatives from a whole group of nations, i.e. of the world. In the metropolis, money and capital are unlimited and almighty. It is able to produce and supply goods and science for the entire earth as well as laws and public opinion for all nations. It represents the world market and world traffic; in it world industries are concentrated. Its newspapers are world papers, its people come from all corners of the earth, being curious and hungry for money and pleasure. (Tönnies 1957[1887], 266–7; emphases added)

The metropolis is the site of the production of phenomena that subsequently pour out of it to many other parts of the world. As expressions of metropolitan Gesellschaft,



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these phenomena embody Kürwille, and so have the potential of either spreading this form of consciousness to areas hitherto unaffected by it, or of reinforcing the Kürwille-centered forms of life that exist in places already structured by, and around, Gesellschaft. The Kürwille-Gesellschaft-Globalization-Metropolis constellation gives rise to distinctive socio-psychological and social-structural forms. Tönnies’s account of the typical social formations associated with metropolitan Gesellschaft can be reconstructed from both GuG and the short study titled Custom, first published in 1909 (1961[1909]), which is generally overlooked in exegeses of his writings, although that may well now change with the recent publication of a new version of this book in English (2014). In both texts, a further dyad is utilized beyond the two we have already been examining. This is the opposition between “custom” and “tradition” on one hand—characteristics of Gemeinschaft—and “fashion” on the other—one of the most distinctive featured of Gesellschaft. In Custom, Tönnies notes that while “it is the nature of custom to be archaic, fixed, heavy and serious” (1961[1909], 123), Gesellschaft is instead “pervaded with haste, unrest, continual novelty, fluidity and a persistence only in incessant change” (Tönnies 1961[1909], 135). This is because the metropolis is “the centre of science and culture, which always go hand in hand with commerce and industry. Here the arts must make a living; they are exploited in a capitalistic way. Thoughts spread and change with astonishing rapidity. Speeches and books through mass distribution become stimuli of far-reaching importance” (Tönnies 1957[1887], 227–8). The capitalistic commodification of thoughts and opinions is at the root of metropolitan life’s faddishness and orientation toward a search for the ever novel and ever changing. New ideas, opinions and styles are created, and in the first instance are adopted, by metropolitan elites. In the big cities, “the views of the upper and ruling classes […] are formed outside of custom […] These views partially originate in deviant new usages and habits, and the latter are frequently based on an imitation of strangers” (Tönnies 1961[1909], 114). Thus it is urban elites who introduce new styles and opinions, through their exposure to “strangers”—that is, through their contacts with other urban elites in other metropolises across the world. Tönnies describes in Custom the particular division of labor at the basis of this situation: The ruling classes of a society always play a dual role which is often divided among different strata of the class. On the one hand, they start innovations, insofar as they often import “new fashions” from foreign countries. On the other hand, they are staunchly conservative and strongly “nationalistic.” Thus they adhere to the old customs precisely because their own position is based on age […] it is not seldom that a younger nobility (“paper barons”) represents the one role and the older nobility the other role, or at least accentuates it more. (Tönnies 1961[1909], 130–1)

Different elite groups play different roles: the “younger” elite groups (that is, the nouveau riche groups, “new money”) import new ideas from “abroad,” and so exhibit globally oriented, cosmopolitan Gesellschaft-style tendencies (see also Tönnies 1957[1887], 168). Meanwhile “older,” established elites like the traditionalistic aristocracy and old haute

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bourgeoisie do not just retain, but also in fact create, more apparently Gemeinschaft-style forms of culture. The latter group does not just (attempt to) reproduce “traditional” cultural forms, but also in fact invents and performs the allegedly traditional. This group is in fact compelled to invent tradition by the socio-psychological circumstances of globalized Gesellschaft itself. The otherwise de-traditionalized, globalized, metropolitan Gesellschaft “is inclined to idealize its opposite; the antique becomes the [contemporary] style. One longs to return to nature; old castoffs are resurrected; old forms of life and old customs are valued and preserved” (1961[1909], 135). Therefore through the means of a series of what today would be called “inventions of tradition” (Hobsbawm and Ranger 1992), specific elite groups try to produce forms of culture that are allegedly expressive of older forms of Gemeinschaft as means whereby ontological security can be maintained against the various threats globalized Gesellschaft offers to identity: the perceived loss of national and group-based traditions, the invasion and triumph of the foreign over the supposedly native, and the degeneration of the phantasmagoria associated with the pursuit of fashion in all cultural spheres into meaninglessness and anomic cultural disorientation. The lower middle and working classes eventually take up the cultural forms, both (allegedly) native and more cosmopolitan, imported or invented by their social superiors (1961[1909], 117). Once the elites of metropolises create, and are compelled to have, culturally complex dispositions—expressing both faux Gemeinschaft and cosmopolitan Gesellschaft—over time even the lowest classes enter into such conditions too. However, GuG points out that another feature of the metropolis is the highly problematic condition into which a substantial section of the working population tends to sink. Through such means as advertising and department store displays, the capitalist system places in front of the eyes of the more impoverished sections of the working classes all the tantalizing riches of the now world-spanning mechanism of consumer production. But the unintended corollary of this situation is that only through fear of discovery and punishments, that is, through fear of the State, is a special and large group, which encompasses far more people than the professional criminals, restrained in its desire to obtain the key to all necessary and unnecessary pleasures. The State is their enemy. The State, to them, is an alien and unfriendly power; although seemingly authorized by them and embodying their own will, it is nevertheless opposed to all their needs and desires, protecting property which they do not possess, forcing them into military service for a country which offers them hearth and altar only in the form of a heated room on the upper floor or gives them, for native soil, city streets where they may stare at the glitter and luxury in lighted windows forever beyond their reach! (1957[1887], 230)

As a globalized Gesellschaft corrodes the remaining elements of Gemeinschaft for the poorer sections of the working population, all the latter have for compensation is an increasingly impoverished sense of “homeland” and a radically diminished sense of what their “native soil” is or means. If first the merchant class, then later the urban elites of world cities, possess culturally cosmopolitan dispositions, then they are in a position to benefit from these and to use them as forms of useful capital to their own advantage. But this



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downtrodden quasi-lumpenproletariat have a kind of cosmopolitanism—in the form of a sense of alienated rootlessness—imposed upon them by the very condition of globespanning Gesellschaft itself.

The Benefits of Globalized Gesellschaft At least two objections could be raised against the analysis of global processes Tönnies offered. First, is there a trace of anti-Semitism in the picture Tönnies paints of the merchant class, the group held responsible for the construction and spread of a globalizing Gesellschaft? Are we not dealing here with just another instance of insinuations against the Jews that they are “rootless cosmopolitans,” destructive of the social fabric of national Gemeinschaft? Second, and related, is not the representation of the latter condition unduly negative, reflecting broader biases of the German intelligentsia of the time against the various features of social modernity (Ringer 1969)? In response to the first point, we can say that Tönnies’s cosmopolitan (Carstens 2005; Harris 2001, xi–xiii) and Social Democrat (Inglis 2009; Mitzman 1971) political leanings—not to mention his indebtedness to Marx—very much prevented him from degenerating into the crude anti-Semitism of his contemporary, Werner Sombart, whose account of the merchant class strongly conceived of the latter as primarily Jewish, and viewed its alleged cosmopolitan lack of patriotism in very negative terms (Adair-Toteff 1995; Grundmann and Stehr 2001). But whereas Sombart saw Jewish mercantile cosmopolitanism solely as a destructive social force, the account of merchants’ transformative powers in GuG is not anti-Semitic but does instead contain a sense—partly influenced by Marx—of the impressive creative capacities of that group in fashioning a wholly new sort of world order. In response to the second charge, that world order is seen to contain many positive as well as negative features. As Robert Nisbet notes, there is really no stronger a sense of nostalgia in Tönnies’s writings for a lost past than there is in the works of contemporaries like Weber or Durkheim (1976, 74). As such, Tönnies was more than capable of discerning positive as well as negative trends in the global development of Gesellschaft. The positive features Tönnies identified changed somewhat over the course of his lifetime because of the changing nature of his life conditions and the surrounding political climate (Cahnman 1968; Mitzman 1971, 1973). What follows is a digest of those features, culled from different points in his career. In GuG he predicts the future growth of trades unions, which he believes will be “extended to become of metropolitan, national, and finally of international constituency, as was true in the case of the organizations of the educated classes of the capitalists […] which preceded them […] Their goal is to share in the ownership of (national and international) capital as the substance and means of their labour” (1957[1887], 169). Thus the globalization of Gesellschaft involves not simply the triumph of capital over labor, but also what we might dub a process of trade union cosmopolitanization. As capital globalizes, so too does labor, with potentially beneficial consequences for reforming the specific, capitalist-dominated form of Gesellschaft that hitherto has dominated. A different type of globalized Gesellschaft starts to seem possible.

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Tönnies’s more optimistic assessment of the nature and consequences of globalizing Gesellschaft can be seen in his analysis of “public opinion.” This analysis can first be discerned in outline in GuG, and then was further pursued in a research project that began about 1907 and was eventually published in 1922 (Tönnies 1922; English translation 2000[1922]). We have already seen that for Tönnies in GuG one of the most important features of the metropolis was its hosting of a press that published “world papers”— newspapers that reported on events from all parts of the globe, and that also published opinions that could reverberate all around the world. Within the social conditions of advanced metropolitan Gesellschaft, therefore, the press is not confined within natural [sic] borders, but, in its tendencies and potentialities, it is definitely international, comparable to the power of a permanent or temporary alliance of states. It can, therefore, be conceived as its ultimate aim to abolish the multiplicity of states and substitute for it a single world republic, coextensive with the world market, which would be ruled by thinkers, scholars and writers and could dispense with means of coercion other than those of a psychological nature. Such tendencies and intentions will perhaps never find a clear expression, let alone realization, but their recognition serves to assist in the understanding of many phenomena of the real world and to the realization of the fact that the existence of natural [sic] states is but a temporary limitation of the boundaryless Gesellschaft. In this context it must be pointed out that the most modern and Gesellschaft-like state, the United States of America, can or will least of all claim a truly national character. (1957[1887], 221; emphases added)

This sense of the power of the news media to create a globe-spanning sense of morality and rational critical appraisal of political events was already pointed to by Kant in his writings on cosmopolitanism, and there is a case to be made for regarding Tönnies as an inheritor of that Kantian strain of thinking about the capacities of the media to generate shared moral and rational sensibilities that transcend national borders. Durkheim also took up this Kantian tradition in the years before the onset of World War I (Inglis 2014). In the notably forward-looking passage cited above, Tönnies made at least three claims. First, that the contemporary mass media tend toward the production of “boundaryless” flows of information and opinion, such traversing of political and other barriers being akin to, and indeed made possible by, the existence of global Gesellschaft. Second, the evolution of this state of affairs is not toward the stranglehold of an oligarchy of media barons, but is in fact heading in the direction of the creation of a “single world republic” of reasoned debate “ruled by thinkers, scholars and writers” that could “dispense with means of coercion other than those of a psychological nature.” Third, the evolution of contemporary polities, the foremost of which in embodying Gesellschaft tendencies is the United States, is toward the reduction, perhaps elimination, of “national character” in culture, and its replacement by the globalized cultural forms characteristic of advanced Gesellschaft. In hindsight, the third claim is the least satisfactory, being very sketchy in nature, although it points toward notions of cultural mixing and hybridity pursued in the present day (Hannerz 1992). However, the first two claims definitely indicate that even



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in GuG, Tönnies was not a simplistic gainsayer of modernity. In that book, against the undoubtedly prevailing current of sentiment within it that mourns the passing of Gemeinschaft, Gesellschaft is defined not just as the destroyer of all traditional forms of life, but also as the social order that reaches its apex in “cosmopolitan life,” which is in part characterized by the rise of rationally informed “public opinion and the ‘republic of scholars’” (Tönnies 1957[1997], 231). The latter theme was pursued again in the 1922 study (Splichal and Hardt 2000). Thus an abiding, and culturally optimistic, theme Tönnies pursued over the course of different parts of his working life was the possibility that the development of Gesellschaft would lead to highly useful and productive forms of media and cultural globalization. One could go so far as to say that what we see here is the “positive” or socially productive side of Kürwille—rational will involves not only selfish calculation, but also the capacity to sift evidence and provide reasoned opinions, the elements of rationality that Habermas (1985) has sought over the previous 50 years to recuperate. This leads away from any simple conflation of Kürwille and Gesellschaft with cultural decline, but rather in the direction of recognizing the productive dimensions of Kürwille within Gesellschaft, and the possible creation of new forms of Gemeinschaft within a Gesellschaft social order. These various permutations are logical consequences of the use of the terms Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as ideal-types, applicable to any particular social order, and not restricting their use to a simple historical movement from a society based wholly on Gemeinschaft principles to one completely centered on Gesellschaft dispositions.

Conclusion: Tönnies and the Sociology of Globalization Today In this chapter I have set out the major dimensions of what can be reconstructed as Tönnies’s understanding of what we today call globalization. The elements I have identified are the major bases for a Tönnies-inspired understanding of global forces and processes that could now be developed further in the present day. Much of the contemporary globalization literature is centered on debates between Marxists and non-Marxists as to the nature, operation, consequences and future of the global capitalist economy. Tönnies occupies an interesting position in between Marxist and non-Marxist viewpoints. On one hand, his analysis of the global spread of Gesellschaft owes much to Marx, as it concerns the globalization of capitalistic social relations. On the other hand, we saw earlier in this chapter that Tönnies broke with Marx in various ways, especially in terms of his account of the reasons for the development of capitalism and its subsequent global spread. This is not just about the greater prominence Tönnies gives to the role the merchant class plays in such processes. It is also about a fundamental difference in concepts. As noted earlier in this chapter, Tönnies’s overall approach is best understood as socio-psychological rather than social-structural. What this means is that the global spread of capitalism is first and foremost about the geographical extension of capitalist attitudes around the world, which then promote new sorts of relations between people and novel social institutions. This is somewhat akin to the approach of Max Weber, in that the development of capitalism is seen primarily to involve the generation

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and increasing influence of capitalist ideas and culture, rather than “material” factors driving the process of development, as Marx can be taken to be arguing for. However, Tönnies can be said to have gone beyond Weber in at least two ways—he arguably has a stronger sense of how the ideas in people’s heads create lasting patterns of interaction; and he has focused in ways Weber did not on the geographical spread of both capitalist dispositions and also the means and mechanisms whereby this occurred. In sum, Tönnies can be seen as an underappreciated third point of a triangle, the other two points of which are occupied by Marx and Weber. Tönnies identified phenomena that the other two underplayed, ignored or were unable adequately to conceptualize. In relation to both of the other thinkers, Tönnies offers an alternative and still interesting account of the rise of capitalism in northwestern Europe. With regards to Marx, who is explicitly and implicitly a reference point in debates about globalization today, Tönnies gives us an understanding of how global capitalism appeared and how it expanded across the world. As a result, Tönnies should certainly be referred to when scholars consider what the ongoing usefulness may be of classical sociology for understanding globalization processes. Consideration in this regard of Marx alone closes down the possibility of thinking about global capitalism in ways that resonate with his analysis but are not completely subordinated to or imprisoned by it. Throughout this chapter I have pointed out elements of Tönnies’s thinking that seem to have anticipated many themes later taken up in debates about globalization in our own time. While he has generally neither directly inspired the terms of those debates nor has been invoked within them, nonetheless he should be seen as an innovator, who already was dealing with such themes, albeit sometimes only in passing, up to 100 years before present-day globalization debates began. I will now indicate four major themes he broached in this regard. First, the idea of globalization as primarily involving processes of worldwide social and cultural homogenization has been an influential one in the globalization debates, even if most contributors regard the possibility of complete homogenization as highly unlikely. Tönnies was one of the first to raise the possibility of such homogenization when he formulated the notion of the globalization of Gesellschaft. By the 1920s Alfred Weber was offering accounts of world society that seem strongly indebted to the terms Tönnies created, in that Weber discerned unstoppable trends toward worldwide similarities in terms of both the technological systems on which social life depends, and the types of social relations made possible by them. In our own time, George Ritzer (2000, 2007) has offered two influential understandings of what globalization entails in terms of increasing planet-wide homogenization. The first is the global spread of “McDonaldized” practices centered on calculation and hyper-efficiency. This concept of course derives directly from Max Weber, but one can see how the global spread of Gesellschaft in Tönnies’s conception has strong affinities with Ritzer’s point. Ritzer has also put forward the idea of the globalization of “nothing,” which proposes that many globalization processes are centered around and made possible by culturally neutral items such as credit cards. As we have seen, Tönnies already indicated the notion of ideas and things that are culturally weightless. The same can be said of French anthropologist Marc Augé’s (1995) notion of “non-spaces,” such as the sorts of shopping malls and airport lounges that exist in



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identical form all across the world. These are clearly understandable as expressions of globalized Gesellschaft, combining aesthetic uniformity with impersonal social relations and capitalist consumerism. We might conclude from this that anyone wishing to understand the globalization of consumerism should look to Tönnies as well as to Marx for inspiration. Consideration of these sorts of spaces leads to a second area where Tönnies anticipated elements of today’s globalization debates. His focus on the movements of the merchant class as the means whereby Gesellschaft spread across countries and regions very much resonates with contemporary research on “mobilities” (Urry 1999), which examines how people, commodities, money, media and symbols are all constantly on the move, both going across and transforming borders in the process. The focus on the capacities for mobility the merchant class enjoys is an early version of more recent research to do with the capacities for transnational movement that are central features of capitalist elites (Sklair 2002). If such groups have “cosmopolitan” dispositions, then those are the characteristics of what Craig Calhoun (2002) has called “business class cosmopolitans,” those whose world view sees the globe and all the people within it as just so many resources to be harnessed and exploited for the purposes of profit. This is precisely the type of cosmopolitanism Tönnies identifies in his typification of the merchant class. A typology of different types of cosmopolitanism is implicit in Tönnies’s writings because he also identifies the cosmopolitanism of labor and trades unions, whose world views and transnational activities he was most interested in. Contemporary scholars who wish to create a typology of different sorts of “lived” cosmopolitanism can usefully turn to Tönnies as a pioneer in the identification of different sorts of cosmopolitan groups and life conditions. Tönnies may also be seen as an early analyst of media globalization. The more pessimistic strain in his use of the idea of Gesellschaft clearly is in the background of the Frankfurt School’s ideas as to how media systems can be colonized by forms of power that can distort the free play of communicative intercourse within the public realm. However, we have also seen Tönnies’s account of the possible creation of a world “republic of letters,” where communication flows across national borders and where political matters can be rationally debated by citizens from different national contexts. Regardless of whether this strikes one as too idealistic, Tönnies’s thinking points toward present-day analyses of the roles of the media in the construction and operation of a (putatively) global civil society (Keane 2003). It also gestures toward contemporary appreciations of the flow of meanings and messages across borders, processes that can undermine national governments’ power to control information flows and the formation of opinions within their territories (Lash and Lury 2007). Finally, Tönnies’s appreciations of the multiple linkages between Gesellschaft, globalization and cosmopolitanism are ancestors of the current concern to analyze the nature and roles of “world cities,” both in terms of their roles within the global economy, and in terms of the types of social relationships that occur within, and are made possible by, them (Sassen 2006). His concern to demonstrate how, within such urban milieux, new traditions are constantly being invented, very much anticipates present-day analyses of how, in the face of perceived threats to identity and heritage by the forces of globalization,

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individuals and groups seek to gain some sense of security through adopting apparently authentic cultural traditions and defending these against what they see as the threats of global culture (Castells 2009). One of the most striking quotations cited earlier in this chapter illustrates Tönnies’s concerns about urban alienation and the disaffection felt by a significant fraction of the working class toward elites and the police apparatus that works for them and their interests. In the lines cited earlier, one sees a striking diagnosis of the reasons for events like the London riots of 2011. Life within a highly globalized city brings with it many advantages for cosmopolitan elites, but at the cost of often vast divisions between rich and poor, ultimately resulting in forms of frustration that are expressed in outbursts of violence. If by some miracle Tönnies could visit a city like London in the present day, I strongly suspect that the social forms, forces, divisions and problems associated with capitalism and globalization would not in the least surprise him. His apprehensions of the future would be in various ways vindicated, even if he would also perhaps be surprised at the relative neglect into which his farsighted writings have fallen today. If ever there was a time to recollect the richness and breadth of his sociological vision, it is now, at a time of global capitalist crisis being met with ever more authoritarian responses by national states against ever larger swathes of their own citizenries.

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Harris, Jose 2001, “Introduction.” In Tönnies, Ferdinand 2001, Community and Civil Society. Edited by Jose Harris, 9–30. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Heberle, Rudolf 1937, “The Sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies.” American Sociological Review. Vol. 2, Issue 1. 9–25. Hobsbawm, Eric and Ranger, Terence 1992, The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Holton, Robert J. 2002, “Cosmopolitanism or Cosmopolitanisms? The Universal Races Congress of 1911.” Global Networks. Vol. 2, Issue 2. 153–70. Inglis, David 2009, “Cosmopolitan Sociology and the Classical Canon: Ferdinand Tönnies and the Emergence of Global Gesellschaft.” British Journal of Sociology. Vol. 60, Issue 4. 813–32. Inglis, David 2014, “Cosmopolitanism’s Sociology and Sociology’s Cosmopolitanism: Retelling the History of Cosmopolitan Theory from Stoicism to Durkheim and Beyond.” Distinktion. Vol. 15, Issue 1. 69–87. Keane, John 2003, Global Civil Society? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lash, Scott and Celia Lury 2007, The Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. Cambridge: Polity. Mitzman, Arthur 1971, “Tönnies and German Society 1887–1914: From Cultural Pessimism to Celebration of the Volksgemeinschaft.” Journal of the History of Ideas. Vol. 32, Issue 4. 507–24. Mitzman, Arthur 1973, Sociology and Estrangement: Three Sociologists of Imperial Germany. New York: Knopf. Nisbet, Robert 1976, The Sociological Tradition. London: Heinemann. Renton, Dave 2001, Marx on Globalization. London: Verso. Ringer, Fritz K. 1969, The Decline of the German Mandarins. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Ritzer, George 2000, The McDonaldization of Society. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge. Ritzer, George 2007, The Globalization of Nothing, 2nd edition. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge. Sassen, Saskia 2006, Cities in a World Economy. Newbury Park, CA: Pine Forge. Splichal, Slavko and Hardt, Hanno 2000, “Tönnies, Public Opinion and the Public Sphere.” In Tönnies, Ferdinand 2000[1922], Ferdinand Tönnies on Public Opinion. Edited by Hanno Hardt and Slavko Splichal, 49–113. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. Sklair, Leslie 2002, Globalization: Capitalism and Its Alternatives. Oxford: Blackwell. Swedberg, Richard 1991, Schumpeter: A Biography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1922, Kritik der Öffentlichen Meinung. Berlin: Julius Springer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1957[1887], Community and Society. Translated and edited by Charles D. Loomis. London: Routledge. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1961[1909], Custom: An Essay on Social Codes. New York: Free Press. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1974 [1921]. Marx. Leben und Lehre. Jena: Lichtenstein. Tönnies, Ferdinand 2000[1922], Ferdinand Tönnies on Public Opinion. Edited by Hanno Hardt and Slavko Splichal. New York: Rowman and Littlefield. Tönnies, Ferdinand 2001[1887], Community and Civil Society. Edited by Jose Harris. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tönnies, Ferdinand 2014[1909], Custom: An Essay on Social Codes. Edited by Matthieu Deflem. Piscataway, NJ: Transaction. Urry, John 1999, Sociology beyond Societies: Mobility for the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge.

Chapter Five From Metropolis with Love: Tönnies, Simmel and Urban Social Architecture Stefan Bertschi

Introduction Little has been written on Ferdinand Tönnies’s stance on the emergence of metropolis at the turn of the twentieth century; it is rather little when compared with discussions of Georg Simmel’s stance on the same concept of urbanity. While refining the search string to be entered into Google’s algorithm, this apparent imbalance of scholarly attention is reaffirmed. To my knowledge, there has not been a recorded debate or direct exchange between the two scholars on the topic, even though both were founding figures of the German Sociological Association (cf. Lepsius 2012). Scarce references in their writings convey little about their mutual appreciation (cf. Bond 1991, 337). Given this fragmentary situation to writings about Tönnies and, to a lesser extent, about Simmel, I will be using a subjective although balanced selection of literature to guide the present chapter, and will focus on two primary texts: Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft and Simmel’s Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben. The other element works with unfamiliar connections made between texts of different periods. The aim is to make Simmel and Tönnies as contemporary as they deserve to be, particularly in the context of urbanism. Translations, unless otherwise stated, are my own; so are extensions in quotes. Our exploration starts with the unusual connection between Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft and the suburban forces of metropolitan growth. This chapter takes this as its starting point, and will then connect Tönnies’s theory of Willen and Georg Simmel’s metropolis, going back in time more than 100 years. It will take a turn and shoot past the present—in relation to Marc Augé’s non-places—and into the future. This chapter concludes with the suggestion that the fragmented, postmodern metropolis may be giving way to a neomodern extended region where new forms of networks and socio-spatial principles renew urban space. We will see what happens to Tönnies and Simmel when walking such a timeline. While this all sounds confusing, it seemed the most appropriate way to inscribe an almost blank canvas.

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From 2000s Gemeinschaft to 1900s Gesellschaft The twenty-first century continues to see metropolitan growth in suburbia, in large, fastgrowing, suburban cities. In the United States, some of these “Boomburbs” now contain more inhabitants than traditional, larger cities like Miami and St. Louis. Because municipal governments of these “cities” are usually smaller, “gaps in [public] service are often filled by private governments such as homeowners’ associations” (Lang and Nelson 2007, 628). Private, association-led communities are the starting point of our exploration. Because this is the only form of organization allowed in some Boomburbs, an increasing number of new metropolitan areas are developed as so-called gated communities (cf. Lang and Nelson 2007, 630). These postmodern communities are driven both by their need for security, perceived or real, and by collectively “seek[ing] services and protection they can no longer expect from municipal government” (Lang and Nelson 2007, 632). Although the privatization of suburbia is not necessarily driven by altruistic or traditional notions of community, Ferdinand Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is later employed to argue the case. Guarded and homogeneous housing communities represent an escalating way of communal urban life in the Western hemisphere. Since the early 1980s, a dramatic form of residential boundaries has evolved. Millions of Americans turned to walls and fences “around communal residential space that was previously integrated with the larger shared civic space” (Blakely and Snyder 1997, 1). The phenomenon of gated communities is spreading, more recently recording their emergence in sub-Saharan Africa (cf. Anokye, Tanyeh and Agyemang 2013). Nevertheless, gated areas are not a new phenomenon, and former “housing estates were originally built with private gated roads, for example the eighteenth century squares of north London” (Blandy and Lister 2005, 289), with a history reaching back to occupying Romans a few hundred years BC. The modern form of gated community is largely defined as a walled or bounded residential area with restricted access, mostly by an entry gate and frequently by security guards, in which public spaces are generally privatized (cf. Blakely and Snyder 1997, 2). It is in its widespread nature unthinkable without suburbia as an enabler, separating its inhabitants from the city while growing the metropolitan area. Having said that, the English garden city can be seen as a predecessor of some kind, without the urgent notion of suburb as we know it today, the gate or governance through homeowners’ associations, but conceived as a private city nonetheless (cf. Howard 2007, 92–3). Gated communities in some instances privatize public responsibilities, including police protection and street maintenance. It is the size and distribution that make modern gated communities different: “their walls and fences preclude public access to streets, sidewalks, parks, beaches, rivers, trails, [and] playgrounds [etc.]—all resources that without gates or walls would be open and shared by all the citizens of a locality” (Blakely and Snyder 1997, 2). More and more of social public life is taking place within these private enclaves and some have acquired autonomous city status. Through this “sheltered common space not penetrable by outsiders” (Blakely and Snyder 1997, 18), a culture of inclusion and exclusion emerges: “The gating and the exclusiveness create a border. The border separates two spatial systems: the territorial



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system of the gated community, and the urban space where it is located” (Le Goix 2005, 330). Excluded in the process is both “the other” and insecurity driven by social anxiety and growing perceived fear of the city (cf. Davis 1990, 4–6). The need for enclosed urban residential environments seems to be “reflected in an increasing fear of crime that is unrelated to actual crime trends or locations, and in the growing number of methods used to control the physical environment for physical and economic [and social] security” (Blakely and Snyder 1997, 1). As long as residents (individuals) enclose themselves in the walled city, at least their minds may be at ease; however, there is a paradox in this logic: although crime may be reduced in the gated community through access control, the city or suburban streets outside remain unchanged. In gated communities a shift from social to physical security becomes visible. An increasing coexistence of islands of prosperity and islands of poverty occurs through the escape of those willing to sign up to a common code of conduct and collective responsibility for management. In general, these communities are part of a “process of production of urban space made by private strategies (the developers) and public strategies (attracting taxpayers)” (Le Goix 2005, 341). The ambiguous, sometimes imbalanced private-public partnership sheds new light on the sprawl of gated communities. It leads to an increasingly isolated city region that is fragmented into different islands (cf. Marcuse 1989). Therefore, it seems meaningful to talk of an “insular sociation” with a change in habitat through fragmentation (Löw 2001, 265). The American hegemony of automobile traffic, shopping malls and residential single-use zoning changed the organization of human coexistence since the 1970s sustainably and in many ways (cf. Löw 2001, 82). This in turn changed the “spatial socialization” (of the urban mind), through which “space is conceived as singular functional islands connected by fast movements (motoring or public transport) and synthesized to spaces” (Löw 2001, 265); the emphasis is on the result, space in plural. The term community is primarily used as a marketing tool by private developers and marketers of gated communities, who aim to invoke an idealized notion of community with characteristics of the traditional community (cf. Blakely and Snyder 1997, 31). This is contradicted by gated residents’ rights and responsibilities being confined to legalities rather than commitment to enhance social networks (cf. Blandy and Lister 2005, 287). Equally, it appears that property value and security are more important to residents (cf. Blandy and Lister 2005, 294). Because of the lack of participation, the communal part is quite often substituted by control mechanisms and professional property companies. While one would naturally assume that social cohesion and community spirit would be greater in a gated community, it has transpired that they are not in any way better developed if compared to any other residential environment (cf. Blakely and Snyder 1997, 163). There is a thin line between community and society in gated communities. Despite widespread misunderstanding, Ferdinand Tönnies’s community is not just a concrete type of organization or a social formation, but a structural concept for the analysis of society. The interpretation of Tönnies’s approach to Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society) as “distinction,” creating a “rhetoric of community enabl[ing] the past to be painted in the golden glow of nostalgia” (Schofield 2002, 664), is flawed (cf. Bond 1991, 339). Tönnies apparently expressed “that community existed when institutions

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and individuals were drawn together—not as a result of support needs, but because social togetherness is a positive condition that helps form a unified whole” (Brennan et al. 2014, 2). Not even this interpretation is entirely true; it would define community in a traditional sense, to be prerational when it is not. The most contemporary form of community has the same elusive rhetorical appeal as its predecessors, mainly because “[i]mages of community depict fond notions of togetherness, social connections, and support from other residents” (Brennan et al. 2014, 1). These interpretations, even if they are “not meant to present a romantic or idealized notion of local harmony and solidarity” (Brennan et al. 2014, 3), ignore the contemporary world we live in. For Tönnies, such ignorance toward change is unfounded as he tried to get rid of any associated flavor of “good” community versus “bad” society; in his words, what is of value is “to understand [social] phenomena in their contexts, thus in their necessity” (1931, 77). Compared to Georg Simmel, Tönnies saw the “inner connection” as the essential of social reality and dismissed the idea that both connection and separation (the distance of the stranger) are involved (1931, 75). Community exists because it is rationally performed by its members from the inside, based on the principle of the division of labor, concerning the possibilities of presumed continuance. Therefore, communalization always shows traces of sociation, in Georg Simmel’s sense. The particular attribute of Tönnies’s theorem of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is the way both concepts are intertwined. Gated communities can be understood as communities of the mind and communities of consumption, in Tönnies’s terms, which were rationalized under neoliberal compulsions, like the aggravation of the social basic condition, protection of property values or security. The community, as it is contained in gated communities, is objective, institutionalized and, in the end, rationally oriented. Its accelerated emergence and spread is attributable to free market (laissez-faire) politics in town and city planning, a new class conflict on the level of built environments and the Reaganomics of the 1980s (cf. Davis 1990, 223–5). Instead of a resurrection of a traditional notion of community, we encounter further rationalization of community than the one Tönnies sensed more than 100  years ago. Even though the driver behind their existence as well as their internal organization has significant neoliberal, and hence societal, characteristics, by name gated communities are communities. There is little surprise that this phenomenon is only imaginable in connection with modern city regions (cf. Friedrichs 1995, 18). The metropolis, through social stratification and heterogeneity, designates the differentiation—not distinction—in community and society (cf. Tönnies 1979, 211). In gated communities the residents face each other in a common “place,” which by no means is exclusively founded in Wesenwille (the essential “will of being” and the intrinsic value of acts of collective human beings). In certain instances, contacts “in mutual exchange” do not happen anymore, owing to the artificial character of contractually regulated gated communities. Moving from 2000s Gemeinschaft to 1900s Gesellschaft, the identification with a homogeneous residential environment comes as a surprise (cf. Friedrichs 1995, 93). It stands in clear opposition to the heterogeneity that came with metropolis at the penultimate turn of the century, although the homogeneity of residents in gated communities does not naturally guarantee more or better social contact and cohesion. In such neoliberal



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urbanism, meeting Georg Simmel’s “stranger” becomes an increasingly rare event. This is just another indication of how gated communities are merely “part of a deeper social transformation” (Blakely and Snyder 1997, vii) and for this they convey a certain, highly contemporary meaning.

Gemeinschaft and Mental Space Community (Gemeinschaft) is one of the fundamental terms in sociology, seen as a connection between the individual and society. At first, it does not appear as if Ferdinand Tönnies had delivered a universal theoretical approach, but instead delivered an analysis of his time that seemed valid only at the time. The term of community discovered here is inherently contemporary and is positioned right in the middle between the single (particular) and the whole (general); it is at the heart of metropolis then and now. The older concept of emerging modernity had been ideological, and so is its newer counterpart. This (gated) community is placed right between neoliberalism, representing the individual, and communitarianism, representing community concealed in society (cf. Bertschi 2006). Tönnies was amazed by the fast emergence of a rational “living together” as part of the industrial society. The differentiation of this modern view on progress from an archaic belief in community guided him to the “theorem of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft” (Merz-Benz 1991, 34; cf. Merz-Benz 1995, 304). While the transitions between romantic and rational views have not lost their fascination, social bonds have largely changed. While there is little sense in embracing models of founding communities for “collective survival in an adverse natural environment” (Merz-Benz 2005, 172), aspects of security appear in the context of contemporary gated communities, with an adverse environment that is by no means natural. This leads back to 1887 and to the sociologist who has shaped the notion of Gemeinschaft sustainably. To understand Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is to revisit and understand his concept of Wille. It is translated as “will” or “volition” with the meaning of “intention” of sorts, and it is driven by “das bewusste Wollen,” that is, “conscious desire” or “willful want” (Tönnies 1929b, 263). Here “the ordinary [das Allgemeine, i.e. the ‘general’ as opposed to the ‘particular’] is the interdependency [or: interrelation] between individuals on the one hand and a viewed—thought by them as being substantial and thereby created— social Wille on the other hand” (Tönnies 1929b, 276). Essentially, whatever connects and separates human beings can be called “idea” and “idea is Wille” (Tönnies 1929a, 193), defining a key building block of this “theory of Willen” (Merz-Benz 1995, 259). At its center is the observation of mutual relations—the differentiation—of human Willen, and not a wrongly assumed distinction or dichotomy of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (cf. AdairToteff 1995, 59). Not falling into the trap of interpreting traditional social forms romantically, idyllically or ideologically, Tönnies opposed the two concepts antithetically and differentiated the “collective” (if it were not too restrictive: “communal”) Wesenwille as an ideal type from the “societal” Kürwille. Wesenwille is here translated as “will of being” (not “essential will” or “natural will”), and Kürwille is translated as “will of choice” (not “arbitrary will” or “rational will”). These two are structural concepts of the analysis of society, as expressed in the statement: If

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“the rational contract becomes normal and elementary expression of connected Willen,” then it becomes evident “how social ‘entities,’ the ‘organic’ forms of collective Wille […] are in part transformed into ‘mechanical’ [forms], [and] in part might be pushed aside by the latter” (Tönnies 1929a, 194). Tönnies’s inherent understanding of “community as expression of a particular mental disposition” (Merz-Benz 2005, 176) becomes important when later comparing his approach to that of Georg Simmel; the latter introduced a concept of “mental” when drawing his social architecture of metropolis. Tönnies’s collective disposition likewise opens a social space; however, this space differs from society and its new mental characteristics. While the “human character” (Wesen des Menschen) is shown in “mental life,” in both spatial and mental proximity (Tönnies 1979, 87, cf. 18), and while this disposition precedes the targeted reasons for action, community must already be based on an agreement that exists intuitively (cf. Merz-Benz 2005, 176). Both collective agreement and societal contract are founded in the mental state and would indicate that Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are merely two sides of the same coin, separated by a lengthy multiyear program of societal change. For Tönnies, the historically grown community is founded in the organic, sensed, unconscious and largely collective Wesenwille (used to consider the intrinsic value of an act); the designedly created (artificial) society is founded in rational and conscious Kürwille, deliberately chosen acts of actors and, hence, informing rational social action (cf. Tönnies 1979, 73–4). This second type of Wille is somewhat less directly informed by the individual and increasingly linked to extrinsic values; it imposes societal structure. Community is about emotional connections and solidarity, while society is held together by economic and legal relations. Wille is the basis for all human action and seen as rational, changeable form. Tönnies places reality and social relations “in the form of Wille, in the area of human being and practice from which the individual continuously constitutes its own world” (Merz-Benz 1991, 39). In collective Wesenwille “means” and “end” are unified; in societal Kürwille they are separated, and the means are chosen with isolatable ends in sight (cf. Tönnies 1979, 104–5). However, both types of Wille coexist in traditional as well as modern societies, and both types of connections (Bindungen) are wanted by social beings (cf. Tönnies 1979, 113). In Tönnies’s words: “The theory of society constructs a circle of humans who, as in community, live and reside peacefully next to each other, but instead of being essentially connected are essentially separated, and whilst [in community] they remain connected despite all separations, [in society] they remain separated despite all connections” (Tönnies 1979, 34; italics S.B.). While in society individuals are connected to and with others in multiple ways, they remain independent from each other and without reciprocal inner effects or interactions. At the very beginning of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies mentions that Wille stands in multiple relations and that “each such relation is a reciprocal effect” or, plainly, interaction (1979, 3). Because Tönnies’s pure sociology aims to describe the unity of social reality, it is debatable whether it can suitably depict the “change” from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. Because its ability is in question to adequately conceive these social forms in their coexistence of connection and separation, the theory of Willen comes to the rescue, detailing that the “mediation between collective and societal social forms is preconceived, though presented in an approach which is unfamiliar to sociology”; the mediation is



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extracted or even removed from the “change from prerational to rational mode [or: disposition]” (Merz-Benz 2006, 43). As a result, the change of mental disposition is the mediation between connection and separation, whether or not Tönnies acknowledged this (1931, 75). While people interact in community based on an agreement that exists intuitively, the defining Wille in society is the contract and “results from two divergent individual wills which intersect in one point” (Tönnies 1979, 39), defining spatial proximity. There are similarities with Georg Simmel’s intersecting lines and the intersection of lines in non-places today. In Tönnies’s rational sociological approach to Gemeinschaft, the less people are connected to each other with respect to the same material community, the more they (can) face each other as free subjects of their own will and skill (cf. Tönnies 1979, 16). It is this particular ruling, emphasized by the word “can” in the paraphrase, through which Tönnies’s approach is tied “forward” to the rationalized gated community, which floats between romanticism and the neoliberal economic present (cf. Bertschi 2006). Such modern urban forms follow the change in disposition, with fading influence from rational community and growing influence from rational society with continually increasing rationality (cf. Tönnies 1955, 464). Tönnies himself was stipulating clearly that the “mentality” of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft “is to be applied to every historical condition” (Tönnies 1955, 465). His pure, dynamic approach applies to the development of all social life and is generic and timeless in nature. Most interesting in the context of the present chapter is Tönnies’s contribution to relate society to metropolis, both in its real occurrence and allegorically (cf. Tönnies 1955, 465–6). “Not until the city emerges as metropolis, it loses these [collective characteristics] almost entirely, insular individuals (or rather families) face each other and have their shared place only as coincidental [contingent] and chosen residence. […] Metropolis consists […] of nothing but free individuals which perpetually touch each other in mutual exchange [im Verkehre], trade with each other and co-operate, without community and collective Wille coming into being between them” (Tönnies 1979, 211). Metropolis provides an ideal point of reference for change, and, for Tönnies, it represents an urban social architecture driven by society. Metropolis derives from the city, which starts off as a “collective living organism” or, even more telling, as a “walled village,” reminiscent of the walled cities of today. Urban life as it was two turns of the century ago “conceded ground to adhering to the conventional” and became “more diverse and colorful” (Tönnies 1979, 19, 31–2). As a consequence, proximity and intimate acquaintance lose their strength or are reduced to ever smaller circles. While urban life is still seen as part of community for Tönnies, it is metropolitan life that is “society par excellence” (1979, 216). It is the change to external relations and contractual conditions that triggered a certain pessimistic tone in Tönnies’s view of the commercial metropolis, driven by the factory and money economy. It is not all negative, though, when he mentions the culmination state of the “cosmopolitan city,” which draws in curious and inquisitive people willing to learn new things (cf. Tönnies 1979, 212). At the peak of his elaboration, Tönnies calls for the state “to demolish society, or at least to transfigure and renew it” (Tönnies 1979, 214; italics S.B.). He was actually pessimistic about the probability of such renewal taking place and saw metropolitan

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change as almost irreversible (cf. Tönnies 1979, 215). Unfortunately, Tönnies has publicly been remembered for this rant against society and less for his theory of Willen. Metropolitan life defines the societal era, but the (declining) power of community remains effective as a reality of social life. While society is seen as “brain” and not “organism,” the categories of social logic—language and (the idea of) moral attitudes— equate to space and time (cf. Tönnies 1929b, 263). “Villages and cities have in common the spatial principle of living together instead of the temporal of the family […]. [In the collective era the spatial is bound by the temporal.] In the societal era [the spatial] breaks away [from the temporal], and this is the existence of metropolis” (Tönnies 1979, 217; italics S.B.). The tendency of economic, metropolitan life, “augmented expression of the urban spatial principle” replacing the rural forms, marks the beginning of society. In this differentiation, the disposition of metropolis, the form in which the big city represents itself, is “expressed in the mental,” both in Tönnies (1979, 218) and in Simmel. In his 1889 review of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Émile Durkheim put similar emphasis on metropolis when disagreeing with Tönnies’s pessimistic view of the cosmopolitan city. Following Tönnies’s differentiation, Durkheim (in Aldous, Durkheim and Tönnies 1972, 1195) refers to the other mode of grouping that can be “observe[d] in the large cities of contemporary societies. It is in such metropolitan centers that one can observe in almost its purest form what Tönnies calls Gesellschaft.” While social forms or aggregates increase in size, resulting from the growth of the city, their collective nature is more difficult to sustain and, at once, society puts less strain on the single individual; “therefore, [this change] quite naturally freed [the individual] from social ties” (Durkheim in Aldous et al. 1972, 1196). The critique is centered on the following sentence: “As a consequence, [in Gesellschaft] no activities take place which can be inferred from a unity existing a priori and necessarily, which express the will and the mind of that unity, since they are caused by the individual [instead]” (Tönnies 1979, 34; amended translation). Because these activities seem to happen on their own and are driven by individuals rather than by unity, because their participants appear to refuse all contact and all mingling, Durkheim (in Aldous et al. 1972, 1197) attests to “the somber colors with which he presents this type of society,” with individual interests apparently no longer connected to one another. Significant focus had been put on the final sections where the theory of Willen is less emphasized and instead the two terms are put in relation to family and metropolis. This concluded in the statement that Tönnies “speaks of Gesellschaft [and therefore metropolis] without enthusiasm but with impartiality, as a natural and necessary phenomenon,” and it sets the tone for a common interpretation of Tönnies’s view of metropolis as pessimistic (cf. Bond 1991, 351; Bruhn 2011, 30). It is no surprise that other sociologists of that time have engaged with the changing city. Because of Tönnies’s universal theoretical approach and the pure application of intertwined concepts, his theorem of community and society is applicable to modern urban forms, such as gated communities. The relation of individual and community is implying the eventuality of the mediation between individual and society, although only if it is considered properly (cf. Merz-Benz 2006, 34). Tönnies’s theorem achieves this. To send it into overdrive would mean that the mediation between individual and collective forms of living can be provided only by neoliberal society, or rather contemporary



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metropolis. The particular contribution of Tönnies’s theorem is to avoid reifying (characteristics of) social forms into common mental conceptions (cf. Merz-Benz 2006, 45). While Wesenwille is thought of as “solely psychological reality and causality,” seen from a “subjective reality,” Kürwille requires a “mechanical” thought process; here all thinking is seen as a “physical” movement, actually pervading space (cf. Tönnies 1979, 74). Because “social forms are only conceived intuitively, felt or sensed” (Merz-Benz 2006, 48–9), both collective and societal forms are created in the minds of participating human beings (cf. Merz-Benz 1995, 25). Therefore, such space must not be read as objectified organism, but as an imaginary space, as a mental disposition (cf. Merz-Benz 2006, 46). The combination of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, centered on the individual, ultimately creates phenomena as living forms (cf. Tönnies 1979, 6). Together they can span the interstice, the space between individuals (cf. Merz-Benz 1995, 337). Tönnies refrained from ascribing material existence to social forms and opened a mental space that resembles Simmel’s metropolis.

Gesellschaft and Mental Metropolis Georg Simmel, born in 1858 in the heart of Berlin, had similar ideas when creating an approach suitable for the metropolitan era. Simmel’s “curious birthplace” would “correspond to Times Square in New York” and seems suitable for someone who “lived in” and was heavily interested in intersections of social movements and interactions between individuals (Coser 1977, 194; cf. Köhnke 1996). Simmel can be considered a modern urbanist, Tönnies less so (cf. Bond 1991, 353–5; Merz-Benz 1995, 27). After he had reviewed Simmel’s On Social Differentiation, Tönnies wrote to his friend Friedrich Paulsen, “The book is clever but it has the scholarly flavor of the metropolis” (Tönnies cited in Coser 1977, 194; amended translation). Simmel could add such flavor as the (ridiculed) metropolitan scholar because he was out and about like “The Stranger” he described; he is “the potential wanderer: although he has not moved on, he has not quite overcome the freedom of [being at ease or in balance with] coming and going” (Simmel 1950, 402). As such he is “fixed within” and belongs to a particular spatial form, is confined by spatial boundaries, interacting within the city as his vast new playground. Tönnies and Simmel share a view of that particular new spatial form. It was Tönnies and not Simmel who described Berlin as a “society of strangers” (cited in Burrow 2000, 120). It was Simmel, however, who described being a stranger as a “specific form of interaction,” as being an agent of “nearness” and “remoteness” (or closeness and distance), constituting his formal position (1950, 402). While the stranger comes in contact with others, he is “not organically connected” (Simmel 1950, 404); he has no collective bond with others and has no established ties of locality, and therefore is a representation of society and a constituting element of metropolis. Whoever is “a stranger to […] the city,” to that particular form or group “he is near and far at the same time” (Simmel 1950, 407). The form of not being seen as an individual but as a stranger, the “inorganic” coupling of this type to others, has strong similarities to Kürwille with its element of choice. The type of stranger Simmel described (1992, 771) is a sociological form or expression, mainly affected by a “particular configuration of space,”

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and as such he is constantly floating between dissociation of (Gelöstheit) and fixation to (Fixiertheit) a particular place (cf. Simmel 1950, 402). In the context of this description, Simmel is about as close as one can get to Tönnies and “their” common description of “change from the natural [organic] organization of a group, based on blood and clan relations, to a more mechanical, rational, more political [organization]” (1992, 771). Similar to Tönnies’s description of metropolis and its spatial principles, Simmel continued that this change is signified by the “disposition of the group according to spatial principles.” Tönnies and Simmel (and others, among them Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, even though with varied characteristics; cf. Bruhn 2011, 30–2) share a common signature when describing the change in society in general and the change from rural to metropolitan life in particular, when describing the era of “great cities […] and of cosmopolitanism” (Durkheim in Aldous et al. 1972, 1197). In this instance, Simmel associated the group with community and the stranger with society. Other than those mentioned in this chapter, there are certainly other similarities and dissimilarities between the two. The fact that Simmel was less “rooted” than his peer is also reflected in his theory. Compared to others, Simmel “advanced, instead, the conception that society consists of a web of patterned interactions, and that it is the task of sociology to study the forms of these interactions as they occur and reoccur in diverse historical periods and cultural settings” (Coser 1977, 177). Not having an organic concept of society, something both scholars have in common, Simmel saw society as the crossing of lines, a web of relations between individuals while they are in continuous exchange with each other: “Society is merely the name for a circle of individuals, tied to one another by affecting interaction and thus can be named a unit [a system of physical masses shaped by reciprocal connection and behavior]” (Simmel 1950, 10; amended translation; italics S.B.). Instead of assuming that individual and society are separated, Simmel observed human “interaction” (Wechselwirkung) and established the process-like “sociation” (Vergesellschaftung) instead of society, replacing society as the subject of sociology (cf. Bertschi 2010, 207–23). Sociology finds its “real” subject as both abstraction and emergence of social forms, “in the fact that it merely draws a new line through facts, which, as such, are quite well known.” Its purpose then is “to display the facts lying along this line as constituting a common […] unity,” while, rather modestly, “the concept [to do so] may not have come into effect until now” (Simmel 1992, 17). For Simmel, individual motives or interests are not considered social reality; only interaction creates social forms and consequently social reality. Through interaction, “sociation between human beings is continually tied and loosened and tied anew, a constant flowing and pulsating which links individuals together” (Simmel 1992, 33). The underlying mechanism is seen as follows: “Interaction arises invariably from specific impulses or for the sake of specific purposes […] [and] mean[s] that the individual bearers of those originating impulses and purposes become a unity, which is a ‘society’” (Simmel 1992, 17–18). Even though sociation is Simmel’s concept of society, he acknowledges the result; however, “it rather requires a line [to be drawn] which, intersecting all those already drawn, detaches the pure fact of sociation […] from its connection with the most radiating contents and constitutes this fact as a specialty” (Simmel 1992, 22).



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For Simmel, society is twofold; it is the aggregate of sociated individuals, then again, it is the sum of those social forms that enable the aggregate. Both Tönnies’s theory of Willen and Simmel’s sociation address this second meaning, enabling urban social architecture. In Simmel’s formal sociology the individual, subjected to these forms, is seen not just as the point of intersection of social circles, but also as the crossing of intrinsic self and a circle of extrinsic demand (cf. Bond 1991, 346; Köhnke 1996, 321–30; Simmel 1992, 56). Simmel’s main interest is the inquiry “into the processes […] that condition the existence of individuals as society” and, therefore, make society possible (Simmel 1971, 8). As such, “the unity of society […] is directly realized by its own elements,” which are themselves synthesizing individuals (Simmel 1971, 7). The phenomenon of society is a “system of elements, each of which occupies an individual place,” the total of “objective existences and actions of its elements and the interrelations among these existences and actions” (Simmel 1971, 19–20). The move from intrinsic to extrinsic social behavior, or rather their balance through change, is captured equally by Tönnies (1979, 45) and Simmel. While Wesenwille merely involved thinking, Kürwille is a construct of thinking itself (Tönnies 1979, 73); particularly in society, the social “connection is thought as an existing and independent entity,” is externalized from the individual, although it remains “without reciprocal inner effects,” fails to work intrinsically (Tönnies 1979, 43–4). In the supermodern structure of nonplaces, the individual “has the simultaneous experiences of a perpetual present [of external impressions] and an encounter with the self ” (Augé 1995, 105). As such both Tönnies and Simmel are fit for the purpose of explaining phenomena of the twentyfirst century. The lines between individual and individual create the “fabric of society” (Gewebe der Gesellschaft) with the yet to be understood, equally creating and forming forces within; this is Simmel’s network of “sociations” (cf. Bertschi 2010, 210). The relation of two or more elements takes place “between them, in the sense of a spatial intervention” (Simmel 1992, 689). Simmel displayed a clearly modern appreciation of form, one that allows us to understand the social and cultural conditions of modernity, and one that holds true to this date. Hence, all the “larger superindividual structures,” including the city, are mere “crystallizations of this interaction” (Coser 1977, 179). An element both scholars have in common is the timelessness of their approaches. While Simmel was of “big city” origin, Tönnies, three years his senior, “came from a rural small town” and turned “small-town boy in the big city” (Burrow 2000, 119–20), ridiculing the “scholarly flavor of the metropolis” in Simmel’s writings. It would be too simplistic to take this as the full explanation of the different approaches (i.e., a slightly more pessimistic view on Tönnies’s part), but both scholars eventually “met” in Berlin (cf. Carpenter 1968, 48–9). Despite differing views of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, interpreted as distinction or dichotomy, and interpretations that Tönnies saw modernity causing the decline of the (rural) community and cohesion of their traditional social relations (cf. Mitzman 1973, 3), it is accepted today that the notion of Tönnies being a romanticist or conservative is misguided (cf. Adair-Toteff 1995, 59; Deflem 2001). One cannot deny, however, that Tönnies had a critical view of the changes taking place and of the mechanization of social structures that became evident in metropolis.

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Tönnies and Simmel knew each other, but had personal animosities as is illustrated in an anecdote from the first conference of the German Sociological Association in 1910. Max Weber as the treasurer was in charge of organizing; a job not made easier by the fact that the three presidents, Tönnies, Simmel and Werner Sombart, were to speak at the conference. Because Tönnies was the oldest among the presidents, he required to open the conference, and, in order to cater for their vanity in equal parts, another important speaking opportunity had to be found for Simmel. Because the academic venue held a welcoming reception the night before, Tönnies could open the conference and Simmel could give the first speech at the earlier reception (cf. Lepsius 2012). The reported animosity between the two scholars may explain why there is no recorded direct exchange on metropolis (to my knowledge). Tönnies and Simmel make similar empirical observations that let them distinguish in similar fashion a break from old to new, with metropolis as the urbanistic showcase. Their interest lies in the question of how social structures transitioned from natural communities to industrial societies. With his essay on The Metropolis and Mental Life (first published in 1903), Georg Simmel initiated social and cultural urban studies and was named a founding father of urban sociology, involuntarily lending his name to the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies at Humboldt University in Berlin. Simmel has had significant visual influence on urban research (cf. Lindner 2011, 29). The increased metropolitan productivity, still resonating today, is largely driven by the division of labor in modern society and the greater variety of social interaction in the city (cf. Simmel 1998, 129–30). The products of social life are questioned as to their nature and “modern aspects of contemporary life [understood] with reference to their inner meaning,” more specifically to their mental life (Geistesleben): “The deepest problems of modern life flow from the individual’s demand to maintain the independence and individuality of its existence against the superiority of society” (Simmel 1998, 119). It was both the individual—that is, its “inner and external development”—and social change that cities bring about in which Simmel was interested; the notions of individualism and the strange, unfamiliar “other” remain relevant to this day (1998, 126). He was likely the first to understand urban space as social reality, constructing an architecture, with “distance and avoidance […] one of its elementary forms of socialization” (Simmel 1998, 125–6); unlike Tönnies, who was mainly interested in the positive inner connection (cf. Bond 1991, 349–50). Metropolis “creates in the sensory foundations of mental life […] a deep contrast with the slower […] rhythm of the […] small town and rural existence” (Simmel 1998, 120). The big city is seen as driver behind cultural change, which affects mental life and redefines the individual’s position within the new urban form. Metropolitan life offers stimuli never before encountered and increasing sensory impact on urban residents (cf. Simmel 1998, 119). Interactions become instrumental; through mental overload the individual develops a blasé or indifferent attitude unique to the metropolitan lifestyle (cf. Simmel 1998, 123). The new stimuli are taken for granted quickly, in order to protect against this overload by metropolitan environment (cf. Augé 1995, 38). At the same time metropolis is a liberating place that grants the individual more space for personal freedom and development (cf. Simmel 1998, 126). However, the uniformity of metropolis seems to stand in contrast to the individual with individualistic characteristics. The friction between



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individualism and metropolis is an issue of modernity, and so is Simmel’s conclusion that this social form is accountable for the conflict and subsequently the loss of any meaningful unity. Specialization, as it is evidenced in any modern social architecture, results in the change of society from a subjective to an objective being (cf. Simmel 1998, 131). What is shown as shift from internal to external forces in Simmel corresponds with Tönnies’s shift from Wesenwille to Kürwille, both detailing how social structures inscribe social relationships. It is the uniformity of the city that affects individuals and their relationships most, the “cosmopolitanism” that features in Simmel (1998, 128) and Tönnies. What is of particular interest to Simmel is understanding how the individual reacts to and tries to cope with this change. Simmel saw one of the biggest impacts of evolving modern society in the expansion it brought to the social circles individuals inhabit, the circles in which they move (1998, 121). Culture and lifestyles are impacted if they are compared to premodern constellations organizing the social sphere. Tönnies’s colorful urban life features in Simmel (1998, 127) too. Because of the never before seen “choice” that is now available and the circles starting to overlap (contract and disperse) when combined, individuality emerges from this process. This in itself becomes a “new” culture, and while others remain pessimistic, it is Simmel who embraces this new form of social life, leaving the confinement of the past (cf. Simmel 1998, 132). However, he is aware of the risks of this process with an inevitable loss of security that a holistically structured premodernity had on offer (cf. Coser 1977, 189–93). The new choice of metropolitan individuality corresponds with Tönnies’s Kürwille as “will of choice”; both if not all concepts presented in this chapter are ideal types in their own right. Why has Tönnies never gained similar importance for urbanism or urban sociology? Resonating in the “nowhere” between old community with a grounded individual and new society with a free individual at its center, there should be a place for Tönnies and the adaptability of his theory to the very same problems of modernity. Simmel’s dominance of emerging as a leading philosopher and social scientist cannot only be explained by the fact that “he remains [to this day] atypical, a perturbing and fascinating figure” (Bergey 2004, 147; Coser 1977, 195; cf. Simmel 1992, 887–93). Nonetheless and despite the differences in thinking, Georg Simmel is the sociologist closest to Tönnies, both thematically and methodically (cf. Bond 1991, 337, 346–7). Tönnies’s understanding that modernity is historical itself and moving toward its expiration is about as postmodern as Simmel’s approach to the same new era (cf. Bond 1991, 339). Both have developed a “pure sociology” without historicism. Both have laid a foundation for an empirical science of the laws about the feeling, thinking and (inter-)acting individual within a social architecture, and both have attempted to answer the question: “How is society possible?” (cf. Bond 1991, 343–5). Simmel authored one of the two most frequently cited sociological texts on metropolitan life, the other being Louis Wirth’s Urbanism as a Way of Life (1938). However, it has been disputed that Simmel’s text is on urban sociology. To label it as such is a “misjudgment of his work which is about reflections in cultural philosophy on the destiny of human personality in modernity, exemplified by modern metropolis” (Lindner 2011, 29). Simmel’s text is about the mental disposition of the metropolitan dweller and not so much the city as the sociological shell. This mental exploration is

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intrinsically linked to his Philosophy of Money and metropolis with the money economy at its center (cf. Lindner 2011, 32–3; for the antipode cf. Wirth 1938, 7–8). Because of this focus, it presents a distinctly postindustrial approach. The reason Simmel is more popular today is likely because he was more contemporary in his thinking and had “created a much sleeker toolkit [or: approach] to apply to realistic social situations [or: forms] than Tönnies” (Bond 1991, 349). Simmel has the flavor of metropolis, Tönnies less so.

From Metropolis to No Sense of Place Georg Simmel’s and Ferdinand Tönnies’s observations are of particular relevance today and their mental life of metropolis deserves our revisit. They associated the new urban environment of their turn of the century with “becoming society”; but what does this mean for the new urban environment of today? Spanning from Tönnies’s relevance for a contemporary social form, to Simmel’s metropolis, to today’s non-places as a glimpse of the urban future, the aim is to explore whether Tönnies and Simmel already had a mind fit for the twenty-first century, and whether their somewhat postmodern stance on metropolitan life can be made accountable for urbanism or urban sociology. Simmel’s idea of being “between boundaries” to become society can be brought into connection with the non-places of today, boundaries that are in between or, phrased differently, in the “nowhere” between old community and new society (cf. Lang and Nelson 2007, 633). Why has Simmel’s concept of sociation—at the core of metropolis—resonated so much more than Tönnies’s concepts of Wesenwille and Kürwille, core of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft? My preferred explanation is that Simmel has provided a poststructuralist approach that is fully compatible with a modern, even postmodern sociology, while Tönnies’s approach is still attached to an older world (his “modern era,” originating in 1492, seems dated), a world that does not seem to have the required interface, at least perceived, to be considered contemporary. However, while Simmel is not the urban sociologist, Tönnies is not the pessimist, but rather a visionary wanting to reform, or even renew by learning from the past, the social world around him, not to resurrect what has been, but to create anew (cf. Adair-Toteff 1995, 62–3). He cared about the social future and with this expressed a mind fit for the twenty-first century. Simmel’s approach is equally more hidden and offensive as he is anticipating the postmodern condition outright, with metropolis as the starting point of his philosophy (cf. Bergey 2004, 139). Within, it is the money economy and new-won personal freedom, and their effects on the individual in society, that span modernity and beyond. This creates a certain “movement” in Simmel that is not obvious in Tönnies; however, they shared continued renewal in their approaches. Railway stations were the representative buildings of their age: “Railway termini and hotels are to the nineteenth century what monasteries and cathedrals were to the thirteenth century” (Building News in 1875, cited in Smith 2012, 19–20). The station was not just a distinctive form of architecture, but seen as the focal point of urban modernity: “These cathedrals of the new humanity are the meeting points of nations, the center where all converges, the nucleus of huge stars whose iron rays stretch out to the ends of the earth” (Nineteenth-century writer Théophile Gautier cited in Smith 2012, 20). The



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railway station has been surpassed today by the airport and, in the context of urbanism, by the so-called aerotropolis. Airports have become a hybrid space of city gate, railway station, bus interchange, conference center, hotel, business park, industrial estate and shopping center, and turned into “cities in the air” in their own right; “monuments to modernity,” the “largest airports have acquired the characteristics of living organisms” (Sudjic 1992, 34). Developing an airport today resembles an inner-city renewal where all interfaces have to be considered. It is the previous nucleus of rail that leads on to the present: “An aerotropolis is basically an airport-integrated region, extending as far as sixty miles from the inner clusters of hotels, offices, distribution and logistics facilities […], the airport itself is really the nucleus of a range of ‘New Economy’ functions, with the ultimate aim of bolstering the city’s competitiveness, job creation, and quality of life” (Kasarda and Lindsay 2011, 174). This is about survival of the fastest on a global scale, as speed is the currency of the aerotropolis, the supply chain exploiting humans, “demand[ing] highways, railways, and runways” (Kasarda and Lindsay 2011, 193). It is a clear sign of postmodern economies of scale gained from inefficiencies spotted first by the neoliberal winners. If the “willed coexistence of two different worlds, […] chimneys alongside spires, […] makes the modern town” (Augé 1995, 92), then it is not just the altogether different spire of the skyscraper that makes the postmodern metropolis (currently Dubai’s Burj Khalifa at 829.8m), but the willed coexistence of two “cities in the air.” For one this is the modern airport as a city in its own right (cf. Sudjic 1992), another is the slum of metropolis: “In Cairo and Phnom Penh, recent urban arrivals squat or rent space on rooftops: creating slum cities in the air” (Davis 2004, 13). In Fear and Money in Dubai, preprinted under the symptomatic title Sinister Paradise, Mike Davis (2006) describes the heterotopia and dystopia that is Dubai. Linking metropolis and gated communities, it forms part of the planet of slums, next to billionaires’ mansions, next to amusement parks, next to the business hub that is the airport. “The eutopic (literally no-place) logic of their [i.e., developers’] subdivisions [of the urban desert], in sterilized sites stripped bare of nature and history, […] [is] pandering to a new, burgeoning fear of the city” (Davis 1990, 6). We have now at least three terms for the most “mature” form of metropolis where Kürwille (will of choice) finally outperforms Vergesellschaftung (sociation), and where the place with likely the greatest feel of community is the one with the least of choice, the planet of slums. Common dictionary translations for the German word Erneuerung include modernization, but also renewal or regeneration. Here, renewal is the preferred translation, as it most clearly highlights that something already created is created anew or (partially) renewed. This is also the term urban and regional planning prefers, for example, “city-center renewal,” referring to the core of the abandoned city. More generally, the “renewal of residential districts” includes new forms of residency such as gated communities. The call Towards an Urban Renaissance has been made (in the 1999 report of the UK Urban Task Force) to describe the “return” to earlier forms of city dwelling— when the suburban influence has drained the city center and a new strong urban environment is required. Talking of renaissance and looking back to Tönnies’s perceived weakening of old concepts, it is worth referring briefly to Max Weber’s “disenchantment” (Entzauberung). Borrowed from Friedrich Schiller, it is not only used to describe the

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characteristics of a rationalized, bureaucratic and secularized modern Western society, but more so to capture the cultural devaluation of mysticism apparent in said society (cf. Jenkins 2000, 12). This is not necessarily a bad thing, and Weber introduced disenchantment as an ambivalent concept. It merely means that modern society can dispense with magical practices because it is “in principle” known that its living conditions can be explained rationally (cf. Jenkins 2000, 15). Because we still live in Weber’s world, the contradictory times of his and our modernity, think the re-enchantment of Disneyland or the new “rationalized” romanticism of global media (cf. Jenkins 2000, 13, 18–19), the disenchantment thesis anticipated postmodernity. Talking of the postmodern relevance of Tönnies, Simmel and Weber, it is the new ghosts and demons that nest in the void that arose through disenchantment and the fading away of old mysticism. Hence, it is more a renewal of conditions in the light of changes regardless which turn of the century is called into question. New magic has to come into play to replace the magic of old. As such, “disenchantment […] has been a stimulus to (re)enchantment” (Jenkins 2000, 28), and re-enchantment means renewal. Talking of non-places, almost paradoxically, means talking about “crowded places where thousands of individual itineraries converge for a moment, unaware of one another” (Augé 1995, 3). As an expression of supermodernity, this phenomenon is intrinsically linked to the built environment. While “topos” or “common place” refers to an idea of place (or “point”) in between individuals, contemporary architecture seeks the “atopos,” the “uncommon” non-place. The uncommon, however, is not a fixed place and reveals itself as a transitory space (cf. Bertschi 2010, 346). It is not just Georg Simmel’s stranger, floating between dissociation and fixation, which has contemporary flavor, for distance and proximity are not so much of spatial provenance as they are “created purely by mental contents” (Simmel 1992, 688). The “change in the modes of grouping” is caused in that the individual and the social link are more consubstantial than ever before (Augé 1995, 17–19). While collective places “have been invested with meaning” and use “elementary forms of social space […] the line, the intersection of lines, and the point of intersection” (Augé 1995, 52, 57), non-places are void of such formation because they are places where individual itineraries no longer intersect or only intersect as strangers in economic consumption (cf. Augé 1995, 105–6). Little is new about this, as “society is understood as a mere coexistence of independent individuals […] [as] a living together that is purely transient and apparent” (Tönnies 1979, 4). Equally, “the user of a non-place is in contractual relations with it” (Augé 1995, 101). This remains valid from metropolis to gated communities to non-places. Being a place without history, memory and identity, the non-place materializes in the form of standardized architecture and facilities such as “airports and railway stations, hotel chains, leisure parks, large retail outlets” (Augé 1995, 79); they complement existing places, but they do not integrate them. This phenomenon is driven by accelerated means of transport (trains, cars and planes), but also is represented by them. Because non-places are spaces formed for the specific ends of transport, commerce and leisure, they also have to inscribe the “relations that individuals have with these spaces” (Augé 1995, 94). They may still instill connection between individuals, although not as their purpose. While modernity was about the “interweaving of old and new,” supermodernity turns



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the old into a spectacle that is a mere quotation, read by the barely identified traveler of non-places (Augé 1995, 110), possibly more so than the somewhat static pastiche of postmodernity. Supermodernity refers to “entirely new experiences and ordeals of solitude” to which the individual consciousness is subjected, caused by the “proliferation of non-places” (Augé 1995, 93). These places inhibit binding associations and prevent any sense of belonging. For the supermodern individual immersed in non-places, outside and inside fall into one, utopia becomes heterotopia, where interaction occurs in an abnormal place: “it exists, and it does not contain any organic society” (Augé 1995, 111–12). Albeit the overstimulation of metropolis is Simmel’s discovery, there is no space to explore further Jean Baudrillard’s concept of “hyperreality,” a reality modelled after an artificial reality or a simulation perceived as “more than real,” and Paul Virilio’s concept of the “overexposed city,” in which perceptions are altered and overstimulated by communication and technology. Both 1900s metropolis and today’s non-places present a simulation of social change, ranging from the traditional core city, to suburbia, to airports, Disneyland and the “edge city” (large mixed-use developments, with Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz an example Tönnies and Simmel would have encountered today, itself not at the edge but located in the former no man’s land of the Berlin Wall; cf. Carpenter 1968, 54–5). The difference to gated communities is that they are residential, and non-places are anything but residential.

Concluding Remarks Let us conclude that concepts have been renewed again, now with something that looks vaguely familiar, but is not: the openness of metropolis of Tönnies and Simmel has been closed down and opened anew. While there were downsides to the emergence of metropolis around the year 1900, the question remains to be answered whether the “new” metropolis is wonderland or dystopia. For a depiction of dystopia projected into the future, think Fritz Lang’s silent film Metropolis, which premiered in 1927 in Berlin. The “space” in plural becomes “places” in multitude and solitude. With New York becoming a (mega)city proper with more than ten million inhabitants mid-century, the total number grown beyond 20 megacities and expected to rise to 26 within the next ten years, the city may well define the future of our (co)existence. After metropolis came “megalopolis,” a term used in 1961 to describe the metropolitan region around New York and Washington with around 50 million inhabitants (cf. Lang and Knox 2009, 790). With increasing number, size and global impact, cities will face problems. It is the social problem of cities, of once lifting people out of poverty, now leading to a divide of gated communities of the rich located next to slums with little will of choice. A third of the global urban population lives in slums (cf. Davis 2004, 13), but the problem is much closer to home, with Inner London divided as a polarized society, with roughly 20 percent each in the richest tenth and the poorest tenth (cf. Smith 2012, 337–8). It is the artificial nature of societal and community development in a globalizing world that leads to new forms of metropolitan life. Urban space has been renewed with new networks and socio-spatial principles, with the intersecting lines, circles and colorful

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“points” of Tönnies and Simmel, all seen as mental disposition. Gated and homogeneous housing communities represent one escalating way of life in these urban areas. Others include overurbanization with hypercities, including Mexico City, São Paulo and Mumbai, exceeding 20 million inhabitants. The relation between Wesenwille and Kürwille, as well as between individual and sociation (still) allows us to explain phenomena beyond modernity, the derivatives of Marc Augé’s non-places. Simmel’s interest was in the characteristics of spatial form, like proximity, distance and movement, which are investigated with regard to particular configurations of space. His sociology (or rather philosophy) of space attaches as much importance to the minute interstice, that is, the space between individuals, as it does to the broad pastiche realized in later postmodernity. Tönnies showed some interest in the former, but little in the latter. How is it that Simmel is still closer to a contemporary sociologist’s heart than Tönnies, especially when it comes to the city? Over and above what has been said in this chapter, the Simmel reception is probably broader because his stance on metropolis is much closer to the core of his theory. Tönnies made the mistake, accidently more than deliberately, of putting his emphasis on the forms rather than their formation. Durkheim’s damning review of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft picked up on this and focused on the concepts as they are summed up in the final sections of Tönnies’s book. Had Durkheim invested more time in the theory of Willen, he would have come to a different conclusion (and so would Tönnies initially). It is a circular reference, which to my understanding shows that Simmel was much more aware of what he was doing or just had a luckier hand in choosing formation over form. Both scholars devise a pure and formal sociology, which makes it more difficult to understand why the obscure was faring better than the senior. It is the hope that this chapter provided some incentive to turn the tide and has shown that Tönnies, if read differently, is not only as powerful as Simmel but also as contemporary. Whether it is a true renewal of urban configurations or a postmodern “same old, same old,” whether it is otherness then and now, Simmel’s and Tönnies’s mental conception of life in metropolis resonates still, bearing the question of whether our city is still their city. While it may not be anymore, both scholars send their greetings and legacy “from metropolis with love.” Like metropolis, love is a mental concept. The move from individuals bound in community—through Wesenwille—to them loosely connected in society—through Kürwille in the process of sociation—is sociology’s love story of the twentieth century. We started our journey in suburbia’s community, looked at Tönnies and Simmel and their ways of addressing the rising metropolis, and ended in its future. Back in time and forward again, it should have become evident not just how fruitful these approaches are, but also how similar both urban social architectures are. What happened between their turn of the century and ours happened not just in cities, but was a major condition behind the move from city to metropolis. Regardless of the perceived danger and whether one may develop a pessimistic view in light of current changes, it gives hope to embrace contemporary metropolitan forms and the changes they may bring about. Giving them our attention, through the eyes of Tönnies and Simmel, will allow us to determine whether any fears may be justified and to respond to them.



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References Adair-Toteff, Christopher 1995, “Ferdinand Tönnies: Utopian Visionary?” Sociological Theory. Vol. 13, Issue 1. 58–65. Aldous, Joan, Durkheim, Émile and Tönnies, Ferdinand 1972, “An Exchange between Durkheim and Tönnies on the Nature of Social Relations, with an Introduction by Joan Aldous.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 77, Issue 6. 1191–1200. Anokye, Prince Aboagye, Tanyeh, John Paul and Agyemang, Felix S. K. 2013, “The Emergence of Gated Communities in Ghana and their Implications on Urban Planning and Management.” Developing Country Studies. Vol. 3, Issue 14. 40–6. Augé, Marc 1995, Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso. Bergey, James 2004, “Georg Simmel’s Metropolis: Anticipating the Postmodern.” TELOS. Issue 129. 139–50. Bertschi, Stefan 2006, “Tönnies und Gated Communities: ‘Romantik’ oder neoliberale Gegenwart?” Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie. Vol. 32, Issue 1. 75–90. Bertschi, Stefan 2010, Im Dazwischen von Individuum und Gesellschaft: Topologie eines blinden Flecks der Soziologie. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag. Blakely, Edward J. and Snyder, Mary Gail 1997, Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Blandy, Sarah and Lister, Diane 2005, “Gated Communities: (Ne)gating Community Development?” Housing Studies. 20, Issue 2. 287–301. Bond, Niall 1991, “Noten zu Tönnies und Simmel.” In Hundert Jahre “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft”: Ferdinand Tönnies in der internationalen Diskussion. Edited by Lars Clausen and Carsten Schlüter, 337–56. Opladen: Leske + Budrich. Brennan, Mark A., Spranger, Michael, Cantrell, Randall and Kumaran, Muthusami 2014, “IFAS Community Development: In Search of a Common Understanding of Community.” IFAS Series on Community Development. Issue 1. http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/fy715 (accessed 8 June 2014). Bruhn, John G. 2011, The Sociology of Community Connections. Second edition. Dordrecht: Springer. Burrow, John W. 2000, The Crisis of Reason: European Thought, 1848–1914. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. Carpenter, James O. 1968, “Berlin.” Sociological Focus. Vol. 1, Issue 4. 48–58. Coser, Lewis A. 1977, Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context. Second edition. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Davis, Mike 1990, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles. London: Verso. Davis, Mike 2004, “Planet of Slums: Urban Involution and the Informal Proletariat.” New Left Review. Vol. 26. 5–30. Davis, Mike 2006, “Fear and Money in Dubai.” New Left Review. Vol. 41. 47–68. Deflem, Mathieu 2001, “Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–1936).” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward Craig. London: Routledge. Friedrichs, Jürgen 1995, Stadtsoziologie. Opladen: Leske + Budrich. Howard, Ebenezer 2007, Garden Cities of To-morrow. Oxon: Routledge. Jenkins, Richard 2000, “Disenchantment, Enchantment and Re-Enchantment: Max Weber at the Millennium.” Max Weber Studies. Vol. 1, Issue 1. 11–32. Kasarda, John D. and Lindsay, Greg 2011, Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Köhnke, Klaus Christian 1996, Der junge Simmel—in Theoriebeziehungen und sozialen Bewegungen. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Lang, Robert and Knox, Paul K. 2009, “The New Metropolis: Rethinking Megalopolis.” Regional Studies. Vol. 43, Issue 6. 789–802. Lang, Robert E. and Nelson, Arthur C. 2007, “Boomburb Politics and the Rise of Private Government.” Housing Policy Debate. Vol. 18, Issue 3. 627–34.

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Le Goix, Renaud 2005, “Gated Communities: Sprawl and Social Segregation in Southern California.” Housing Studies. Vol. 20, Issue 2. 323–44. Lepsius, M. Rainer 2012, “Max Weber und die Gründung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie.” In Transnationale Vergesellschaftungen: Verhandlungen des 35. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Frankfurt am Main 2010. Edited by Hans-Georg Soeffner, 775–85. Wiesbaden: Springer. www.soziologie.de/de/die-dgs/geschichte/mrlepsius.html (accessed 8 June 2014). Lindner, Rolf 2011, “Georg Simmel, die Großstadt und das Geistesleben.” In Georg Simmel und die aktuelle Stadtforschung. Edited by Harald A. Mieg, Astrid O. Sundsboe and Majken Bieniok, 29–37. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag. Löw, Martina 2001, Raumsoziologie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Marcuse, Peter 1989, “‘Dual City’: A Muddy Metaphor for a Quartered City.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Vol. 13, Issue 4. 697–708. Merz-Benz, Peter-Ulrich 1991, “Die begriffliche Architektonik von ‘Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.’” In Hundert Jahre “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft”: Ferdinand Tönnies in der internationalen Diskussion. Edited by Lars Clausen and Carsten Schlüter, 31–64. Opladen: Leske + Budrich. Merz-Benz, Peter-Ulrich 1995, Tiefsinn und Scharfsinn: Ferdinand Tönnies’ begriffliche Konstitution der Sozialwelt. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Merz-Benz, Peter-Ulrich 2005, “Das Wiederauffinden von Gemeinschaft—Der Ausgang des Neoliberalismus und die Frage nach dem sozialen Zusammenhalt.” In Triumph und Elend des Neoliberalismus. Edited by Kurt Imhof and Thomas S. Eberle, 169–83. Zürich: Seismo. Merz-Benz, Peter-Ulrich 2006, “Die Überwindung des Individualismus und das Theorem von Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft—Ferdinand Tönnies und der Kommunitarismus.” Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Soziologie. Vol. 32, Issue 1. 27–52. Mitzman, Arthur 1973, Sociology and Estrangement: Three Sociologists of Imperial Germany. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Schofield, Barry 2002, “Partners in Power: Governing the Self-Sustaining Community.” Sociology. Vol. 36, Issue 3. 663–83. Simmel, Georg 1950, “The Stranger.” In The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Edited by Kurt H. Wolff, 402–8. Glencoe: The Free Press. Simmel, Georg 1971, “How Is Society Possible?” In Georg Simmel: On Individuality and Social Forms. Edited by Donald N. Levine, 6–22. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Simmel, Georg 1992, Soziologie: Untersuchungen über die Formen der Vergesellschaftung. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Simmel, Georg 1998, “Die Großstädte und das Geistesleben.” In Georg Simmel: Soziologische Ästhetik. Edited by Klaus Lichtblau, 119–33. Bodenheim: Philo. Smith, P[eter]. D. 2012, City: A Guidebook for the Urban Age. London: Bloomsbury. Sudjic, Deyan 1992, “Cities in the Air.” Blueprint. Vol. 41, Issue 91. 34–8. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1929a, “Werke zur Philosophie des sozialen Lebens und der Geschichte (Berichte 1891/92).” In Ferdinand Tönnies, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, Dritte Sammlung, 133– 96. Jena: Gustav Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1929b, “Jahresbericht über Erscheinungen der Soziologie aus den Jahren 1895 und 1896.” In Ferdinand Tönnies, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, Dritte Sammlung, 233–83. Jena: Gustav Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931, Einführung in die Soziologie. Stuttgart: Enke. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1955, “Die Entstehung meiner Begriffe Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Vol. 7, Issue 3. 463–7. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1979, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Wirth, Louis 1938, “Urbanism as a Way of Life.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 44, Issue 1. 1–24.

Chapter Six Ferdinand Tönnies: Hobbes Scholar Efraim Podoksik

Introduction The scholarly literature on Ferdinand Tönnies as one of the founders of classical sociology normally mentions the fact that he was also an intellectual historian who contributed significantly to the development of Hobbes scholarship, and whose interest in Hobbes might have influenced some of his own ideas. Likewise, the scholarly literature on Hobbes normally contains references to Tönnies’s name, usually as an editor of Hobbes’s manuscripts. In neither case, however, is Tönnies’s work on Hobbes investigated in detail; in fact, it scarcely earns a nod. The few publications on this subject (see Bond 2011; Ilting 1971; Merle 2005), valuable though they are, limit themselves to specific matters such as Tönnies’s liberal interpretation of Hobbes’s politics, his early writings on Hobbes or his approach to Hobbes’s notions of morality and natural law. The purpose of this chapter is to help fill this scholarly lacuna by offering a more comprehensive exposition of the subject. I believe that without doing so we cannot properly appreciate Tönnies’s role in the development of twentieth-century Hobbes scholarship, or the evolution of his own thought.

Tönnies’s Research on Hobbes Tönnies spent the winter semester of 1875/76 at the University of Berlin, taking classes in philosophy with Friedrich Paulsen, who very quickly became not only his spiritual mentor but also a close friend. It was Paulsen who first drew the 20-year-old Tönnies’s attention to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, a recommendation that would have great impact on Tönnies’s future intellectual development. He became so interested in Hobbes’s ideas that a year after his graduation, in the summer of 1878, he traveled to England to study the philosopher’s unpublished writings. Among the manuscripts kept in the library of the British Museum he found one he identified as the original version of The Elements of Law, dated 1640. The two parts of this work had hitherto been known as two separate books, published without Hobbes’s permission in 1650. Tönnies also discovered a manuscript that he named A Short Tract on First Principles (Hobbes 1969a, 193–210), attributing its authorship to Hobbes and dating it to circa 1630. From London he traveled to Oxford; there, in the archives of St. John’s College, he found what he

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believed was the original manuscript of Behemoth. His last stop on that journey was the archive of the Duke of Devonshire at Hardwick Hall (Bond 2011, 1177; Carstens 2013, 68–73, 112–13). A decade later he published two volumes of Hobbes’s works. The first included The Elements of Law, A Short Tract and excerpts from a treatise on optics in Latin; the second included Behemoth. The publication of these volumes was an important trigger for the development of modern Hobbes scholarship. It provided readers with significantly better versions of the philosopher’s important works and with the correct chronology of their composition, thus enabling commentators to better understand the evolution of Hobbes’s political thought from The Elements of Law (1640) to De Cive (1642) and Leviathan (1651), with Behemoth (1668) as a coda. Both books were reprinted in 1969 with new introductions by M. M. Goldsmith, remaining up to very recently the most authoritative editions of those works (Hobbes 1969a; 1969b). However, Tönnies’s editorial work also drew some criticism. Quentin Skinner noted that the editions of both volumes contained numerous transcription errors, and claimed that Tönnies had altered Behemoth’s spelling and punctuation (2002, 8n, 13n). For this reason Skinner quoted directly from the manuscripts. Furthermore, an editor of the Clarendon edition of Hobbes’s works recently argued (Seaward 2010, 93) that the manuscript Tönnies used as the basis for his edition of Behemoth was in fact not the original. The original manuscript appears to have been lost. Yet the editor chose the same manuscript of Behemoth as the basis for his edition, and Skinner too quoted from the same manuscripts of The Elements of Law and Behemoth that Tönnies had chosen. These decisions seem to confirm the soundness of Tönnies’s scholarly judgment. His editing style may have been high-handed by today’s standards, and he may have made errors, which made his editions less suitable for scholarly exegetical purposes; yet, as another editor of Hobbes argued, despite their imperfections, they are “all that the philosopher or general reader is ever likely to want” (Gaskin 1994, xlviii). The story of A Short Tract is different. For a long time the scholarly community did not question Tönnies’s judgment regarding the manuscript’s authorship. Frithjof Brandt, for example, opened his foundational study on Hobbes’s natural philosophy with a careful examination of that text (1928, 9–85). In recent decades, however, this attribution became a matter of controversy, with Richard Tuck claiming that the treatise could not have been authored by Hobbes, although other important scholars defended Tönnies’s judgment. The most recent contributions to the debate were made by Timothy Raylor (2001) and Noel Malcolm (2002), who accepted Tuck’s position in a modified form. They both attributed the authorship of the text to Hobbes’s friend Robert Payne, yet suggested that Payne might have been influenced by Hobbes.1 Following the publication of those volumes Tönnies continued his archival research, finding a significant amount of Hobbes’s correspondence along the way, and ultimately becoming a very influential Hobbes commentator. Soon after his return from the first journey to Britain he penned a very long essay, “Notes on the Philosophy of Hobbes” (Tönnies 1975[1879–81], hereafter: “Notes”), which was highly praised by Paulsen and accepted as Tönnies’s Habilitationsschrift in 1881 (Carstens 2013, 75–6, 83). More articles followed, and then in 1896 a monograph, titled Hobbes: Life and Doctrine, appeared. The



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book was the second in the series of Frommann’s Classics of Philosophy.2 Two revised editions of Hobbes were subsequently published: in 1912 and 1925, each under a slightly different title. The book consists of two parts. The first offers a quite extensive biographical sketch. The second provides a commentary on the main aspects of Hobbes’s philosophy. There are some differences between the three editions. Most of them are technical or trivial, but one warrants close attention. The most striking aspect of the first (1896) edition is that only one chapter (or 21 pages out of 226) is dedicated to Hobbes’s moral and political philosophy, and even this under the title “Natural Law,”3 which deemphasizes the “political” aspect of Hobbes. Tönnies analyzes his subject mainly in respect of the foundations of a new science. In the second edition (1912), however, he sufficiently expands his analysis of Hobbes’s moral and political teaching (the length is almost tripled: from 21 to 61 pages), substituting one chapter on natural law with two, respectively titled: “The Moral Theory and Natural Law” and “The State Theory.” The latter specifically addresses Hobbes’s theory of politics, which, according to Tönnies, is outlined in Leviathan. Yet the main preoccupation of these chapters is not with politics, but still with the principles of natural law. Very few changes appear between the second and third (1925) editions. Yet during the 1920s Tönnies published a number of articles that dealt specifically with Hobbes’s political theory (especially Tönnies 1975[1923] and 1975[1930]). They build on some insights from Hobbes. The third edition, therefore, signifies a distinct phase in his interpretation when taken together with those additional publications. Generally speaking, it can be argued that Tönnies’s interpretation took on an ever-stronger emphasis on the political aspect of Hobbes’s thought. In parallel with his own studies, Tönnies labored incessantly to promote scholarly research on Hobbes. He gave talks on this subject to various audiences, and gathered around himself in Kiel a group of colleagues and friends to discuss the ideas of the English philosopher. All these activities led to the growing appreciation of Tönnies as a preeminent Hobbes scholar not only in Germany, where in the 1920s everyone who wrote on Hobbes had to mention Tönnies’s work, but also abroad. In 1929 Tönnies and his friend Cay Baron von Brockdorf initiated an international Hobbes Congress that took place at Herford College Oxford. There Societas Hobbesiana was founded and Tönnies was elected its first president (Johannesson 1955). In February 1933, soon after the Nazi takeover, a congress on “the free word” was organized in Berlin by the secretary of the German PEN-Club, Carl von Ossietzky. There, Tönnies gave a speech in which he defended the principles of free speech and free inquiry. He drew on his two favorite thinkers: Hobbes and Spinoza. What these great minds had to say, he suggested, served as a warning to the government against any interference in the freedom of speech (Tönnies 1955[1933]).

Hobbes’s Place in the History of Philosophy In their account of Hobbes scholarship in Germany in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Peter Collier and Bernard Willms noted regretfully that for a long time

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German philosophers ignored Hobbes, and that those who studied him most extensively were not philosophers: Tönnies, for example, was a sociologist (1988, 241). Similarly, Richard Tuck noted that Tönnies, whom he acknowledged as a pioneer on the topic, “himself concentrated on Hobbes’s moral and political thought” (2002, 112). Both statements are somewhat misleading. Sociology as an academic discipline emerged in Germany only in the twentieth century, and then with great difficulty (Lepenies 1988). Tönnies was part of this process, and when he redefined himself as a sociologist he dedicated himself to the development of the new science with his usual earnestness. Yet he was trained as a philologist, historian and philosopher, and during the first decades of his intellectual activity he published a significant number of works in the fields of philosophy and history of philosophy. Even his science of society is derived from, and closely linked to general philosophy. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is a work of synthetic philosophy in which the analysis of social forms is based on a particular philosophy of human nature. Tönnies’s philosophical science of society was to a great degree modeled on Hobbes, as well as on the synthetic approaches of Auguste Comte and Herbert Spencer. It is also true that the reception of Tönnies’s Hobbes scholarship was mainly in the sphere of political thought. But this is not how Tönnies himself viewed his work. It is not accidental that in the first edition of Hobbes he almost ignored the subject of politics. In a way, Tönnies was part of a general tendency that sought to rehabilitate Hobbes’s reputation by presenting him mainly as a general philosopher and interpreting his theory of politics as naturally following from the structure of his philosophy (Tarlton 2001). But it would be wrong to suggest that Tönnies’s emphasis on the general structure of Hobbes’s thought was purely tactical. He was genuinely interested in the ideas of seventeenthcentury rationalism and believed that Hobbes played a pivotal role in its development. Hobbes’s name was known in Germany before Tönnies. But the way Hobbes was read was quite peculiar, for German philosophers tended to see him as part of the general story of the development of philosophy they were telling themselves. The story, the essence of which was introduced already by Kant and Hegel, considered German Idealism the answer to the philosophical dilemmas represented by two preceding schools: continental rationalism and British empiricism. Idealism offered a kind of synthesis between the two schools, but this did not presuppose their equal standing. In this story, “empiricism” played the role, so to speak, of the minor premise in a syllogism or of the second step in a dialectical triad. Hobbes was just a representative of this minor premise and, in Hegel’s view, not the sharpest one (cf. Tuck 2002, 109). The scholar most responsible for the propagation of this narrative was Kuno Fischer. He considered Francis Bacon the father of empiricism (Fischer 1875)  and depicted Hobbes as a follower of Bacon. This interpretation drew some of its plausibility from the fact that Hobbes knew Bacon personally and was quite close to him for a few years in the 1620s. Tönnies continuously attacked this interpretation, speaking against Fischer, his first university teacher of philosophy, and lamenting that it persisted among other scholars as well, such as Wilhelm Windelband and Max Frischesein-Köhler, even after he—­ Tönnies—has debunked it as a myth (1912, viii–ix; 1925, xv–xviii).4



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Bacon, he argued, was a completely traditional thinker who did not contribute anything significant to the development of human thought, whereas Hobbes was a revolutionary, whose main philosophical achievement was a radical break with the Aristotelianscholastic world view and its replacement with a new mechanical philosophy that paved the way for a new secular science. The relevant context for Hobbes’s thought was thus not Bacon and “empiricists,” but the Parisian circle around Mersenne that included Descartes and Gassendi and was under the influence of Galileo. Tönnies also claimed that Spinoza and Leibniz—rationalist philosophers of the younger generation—learned much from Hobbes. In this group of very advanced minds, Hobbes, according to Tönnies, was among the most forward-looking. René Descartes, by contrast, remained the most scholastic, with his strict dualism of mind and matter. Tönnies noted the similarities between Hobbes and Descartes (1896, 108, 123), but it was no less important for him to emphasize the differences. For, in his view, Hobbes was much more “modern” than Descartes. He did not hypostatize the human soul but rather hoped to integrate it within a unified world picture, although he was less successful in resolving this dualism than Spinoza (Tönnies 1975[1883], 290). Yet Tönnies wrote relatively little on Spinoza, and although he admitted that Spinoza was more radical on this particular issue, his main hero always remained Hobbes, whom he presented as the most consequential thinker for modernity. On many points, he claimed, Hobbes anticipated Immanuel Kant and even the development of philosophy after Kant. Hobbes’s philosophy, according to him, was full of insights relevant to the contemporary evolution theory, probability theory and the debates on materialism (e.g., Tönnies 1896, 117, 123–5; 1925, 275).

Hobbes’s Philosophical Ambiguities But what was the essence of Hobbes’s thought? The answer is by no means clear. Having rejected Fischer’s history of philosophy as belletristics, Tönnies initially adopted the approach in which he was trained: philology. His method was based on a detailed examination of Hobbes’s manuscripts, and such an examination revealed to him what it usually reveals: that Hobbes’s thought was not fully coherent. There are differences between Hobbes’s writings of different periods, and his system in general is not free from inner tension. For the past 100  years, gradually and with great difficulty, the discipline of intellectual history has developed a style of narration that transcends the limitations of the philological method, while avoiding the other extreme: philosophical history (Podoksik 2010). It copes with incoherencies not by ignoring them, but by rearranging them within an historical narrative based on the historian’s judgment regarding the relative value of every item within the story. Philology, by contrast, is not supposed to make such judgments: it approaches every item within the stock of linguistic evidence with remarkable impartiality. In Tönnies’s time, however, Geistesgeschichte was still in its infancy, and any attempt to approach past ideas “scientifically,” avoiding philosophical speculation, would almost inevitably end up as “philology.” Such is the character of Tönnies’s first Hobbes

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publication, “Notes.” Although the text offers a fairly comprehensive account that covers most aspects of Hobbes’s thought, it is not written as a coherent story or argument. It is what its title suggests it is: a collection of relatively autonomous paragraphs, each examining a certain issue in Hobbes. On the points Tönnies is certain about, such as Hobbes’s role in the history of seventeenth-century philosophy, the narrative is clear and unambiguous. But with regard to many other important issues, when there is an apparent tension or ambiguity, Tönnies prefers to withhold judgment. In the Hobbes monograph, Tönnies is less “philological.” Indeed, the purpose of the Frommann series was to offer accessible summaries of the lives and ideas of great philosophers, and this required a relatively coherent narrative. Yet even there, Tönnies preserves some ambiguity, often providing merely ad hoc judgments. In general, his account of Hobbes’s philosophy can be said to be an exegetical analysis modified by occasional attempts to offer a tentative philosophical solution to the questions this analysis raised. Specifically, in the course of his work, Tönnies addressed four tensions in Hobbes’s thought. Metaphysics: “Materialism” or “Phenomenalism”? Did Hobbes postulate matter as the objective reality and movement as the cause of our perceptions? Or did he believe that the only certain thing in our world was the sequence of images we experience? In other words, was Hobbes a “materialist,” to use the term popularized by Lange, or a “phenomenalist”?5 In “Notes,” Tönnies chose the latter term as a proper description of Hobbes’s philosophy, pointing out that Hobbes neither distinguished between primary and secondary qualities nor was he an atomist (197–9). In general, Tönnies was allergic to the term “materialism,” but he did acknowledge that Hobbes could be read “materialistically.” In another article he claimed that both ­tendencies—toward “materialism” and toward “spiritualism” (Tönnies here substitutes this word for “phenomenalism”)—exist equally in Hobbes: “Hobbes had no tools to unite them. The tool for this is Spinoza’s theory of attributes” (Tönnies 1975[1883], 290). Epistemology: Reality or Words? Tönnies did not deal much with metaphysical tension. A more important issue for him was Hobbes’s epistemology. What did Hobbes believe to be the ground of our knowledge? Two lines of thought can be found in his writings. In one, knowledge is conditioned by our experience, that is, by us experiencing a chain of images, which we mark by signs—words—to keep them in memory. According to the other, knowledge is independent of experience: it operates within an independent abstract system of significations. Depending on the view one adopts, this affects one’s expectations from science. Either science is supposed to make statements about reality or it is entirely independent of reality, remaining a skeptical, self-contained system of theorems. Tönnies shows how Hobbes vacillated between these two positions. He stood closer to the former view in The Elements of Law, then appeared to maintain the latter in Leviathan, and partially backtracked in De Corpore (“Notes,” 184–93).



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Tönnies’s interest in this issue is related to his own philosophical concerns regarding rationality and scientific knowledge. He espoused an ambiguous attitude toward reflective thought. In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft he presented it as both the highest stage of organic reality and as its rival. And he wondered whether Hobbes’s philosophy was capable of bridging these two aspects of reflectivity. One way to do this was by enlisting the help of the notion of probability. This abolishes the tension between the hypothetical character of empirical statements and the demonstrative character of rational reasoning, he argued. For probability, although it refers to facts, is at the same time a measurable category, and so it can be determined only by means of rational thinking (Tönnies 1896, 133–8). Hobbes lacked this notion, he admitted. Knowledge for Hobbes was either certain (in those sciences that operate within the system of abstract reasoning) or hypothetical (in those sciences that make claims about reality). Yet, in Tönnies’s view, Hobbes was just one step short of finding it, as he used the word “probable” in The Elements of Law (Hobbes 1969a, 26), but, failing to see the theoretical possibilities it contained, never returned to it (Tönnies 1975[1932], 307–8). Another way to bridge reasoning and reality was to unite them in the master-­concept of “life.” And like in the case of probability, Tönnies suggested, on one hand, that Hobbes lacked the idea of life (Tönnies 1889, 102), yet he also interpreted his philosophy as leading to it. In the preface to the third edition of Hobbes, while referring to the role of geometry in Hobbes as the science that enables making the causality of natural processes to a certain extent a priori demonstrable, Tönnies drew a very peculiar parallel: What Goethe says against Bacon: “One who cannot perceive that one case is often worth thousands and embodies them all, who is unable to grasp and honor what we have called Urphänomen [archetypal phenomenon], will never be able to cultivate anything for his own joy and benefit or that of others,” this is said entirely in Hobbes’s sense. For Hobbes, the geometrical figure is Urphänomen. (Tönnies 1925, xii)

To decipher what Tönnies meant here, one should look at how Georg Simmel presented Goethe’s philosophy to the German audience just a decade earlier. Simmel emphasized the significance of the notion of Urphänomen in Goethe, quoting that phrase in his Goethe monograph (Simmel 2003[1913], 178). Simmel’s central philosophical question was how unity could be attained under the conditions of fragmented modernity. He argued that there were two comprehensive attempts to build such unity: Kant’s and Goethe’s. Yet, whereas Kant’s unity presupposed the primacy of intellect, Goethe fused intellect with the totality of nature. The unity of the world for him did not reside in the mind’s synthetic activity but in the primordial reality of the world: the basis of unity was that murky origin of every being from which existing phenomena develop, but which can never be reached by reflection. Thus, evoking the notion of Urphänomen in that particular context most certainly brought with it the whole set of “life philosophy” connotations in which “life,” or “being,” are seen as concepts that transcend the very division between subject and object, empirical and rational, true and false. Attributing Urphänomen to Hobbes meant that “life philosophy” was already implied in his thought. And to interpret Tönnies’s words in this

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way is not stretching things, because in the same edition of Hobbes (Tönnies 1925, 191) he explicitly related his own notion of Wesenwille to Hobbes’s insights. Anthropology: Reason versus Passions The distinction between rational and actual also forms the basis of the tension in Hobbes’s view of man. What is the main force driving men to peace: reason or passions? As Tönnies shows, both possibilities can be found in Hobbes. On one hand, that reasoning that causes men to make a covenant is itself subservient to affects. For Hobbes’s innovative view of human nature forbids a division between rational and irrational qualities. And as man is driven by motions inside him—passions—the task of civil science is “to derive the concept of political man directly from the conceptual content of human nature. Since the origin of political man was located in certain actions of natural man, it was necessary to point to the affect that would be strong enough to make men relinquish their right to all things and enter into contracts with each other, despite all opposing motives” (“Notes,” 214). This affect is of course the fear of death. Yet Hobbes also argues (in Leviathan) that “nothing is produced by reasoning alright, but general, eternal, and immutable truth” (“Notes,” 220; Hobbes 1946, 436). In other words, right reasoning is reduced to reasoning about names and making correct syllogisms. Hence reason cannot be conceived as being based on affects. Here too, Leviathan represents the most skeptical side of Hobbes, potentially threatening the coherence of his system. Tönnies thus points to the contradictions and difficulties that arise out of the juxtaposition of reason and affects, citing Hobbes’s divergent statements on the issue. Hobbes, he argues, vacillated between whether “reason really guided men and made them leave the state of nature; or was it merely a special affect that caused this? Psychology spoke for the affect; the doctrine for reason” (1975[1926], 26). Yet Tönnies also suggested that there was a way to eliminate these difficulties to a certain degree, by intellectualizing the notion of fear itself and making it less a function of passion and more a result of prudence. Hobbes, according to him, conceived fear not as a psychological condition of being frightened, but as “every foresight of a future evil” (“Notes,” 219). According to Tönnies, in De Cive Hobbes attempted “to introduce mutual fear as an actual motive and then to identify it with reason,” although Hobbes did not clearly spell out this idea (1975[1926], 26).6 Civil Ethics: Social versus Egoistic Passions Finally, there is a tension between social and antisocial affects. Tönnies addresses this ambiguity only in passing, but it is worth mentioning because of its impact on the later Hobbes scholarship. The question is this: is it only fear that drives otherwise antisocial men into society, or are there also other more positive affects at play? In “Notes” Tönnies suggests that, in order to maintain the principles of his psychological doctrine, Hobbes had to admit the possibility of a special affect that could be described “as a love for the community or at least an aversion to acting against the power once desired, and therefore sovereign” (233). Contrary to what we would expect, this



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special affect is not fear. Hobbes, notes Tönnies, enumerates several positive affects that cause one to be disposed toward social life. He often derives even the cardinal virtue of justice from a natural disposition: from “the pleasure of imagining one’s own power and ability, or pride” (“Notes,” 234).7 Tönnies revisits this issue in an article that deals with Hobbes’s attitude to the Aristotelian concept of “political animal.” It is well known that Hobbes launched a ferocious attack against this concept in the beginning of De Cive. But even in respect of this seemingly uncontroversial point, Tönnies introduces some caveats. The direct attack against “political animal” can be found only in De Cive, he notes; in Leviathan there is no mention of the term. And among the passions listed in Leviathan, those that dispose man to peace are no fewer in number than those that cause conflict (Tönnies 1975[1923], 320). Here again Tönnies walks a tightrope, admitting that most of what Hobbes said appears to support the idea of man’s intrinsic unsociability, yet arguing at the same time that the implications of Hobbes’s theory lead to a contrary conclusion. It is true, he admits, that in Leviathan a clear line is drawn between nature and artifice, and that in all his three major political treatises Hobbes explicitly distinguished between social animals, such as bees and ants, and man, who comes into concord with others only through contract, which is artifice. But at the same time, Hobbes may not have said this, Tönnies argues, had he clearly thought out the implications of his own view of human nature: “Had Hobbes added here: ‘but since man is endowed with reason, rational art for him is as natural as instinctive art (or art conditioned by sensations) is natural for animals,’ he would have only expressed what fits entirely his way of thinking” (ibid., 327). *  *  * Thus Tönnies’s Hobbes scholarship represents to a degree a series of attempts to settle the tensions and dilemmas he discovered at the outset of his work on the English philosopher. Yet, in his pursuit of this project, he was torn between two conflicting methodologies: philological exegesis and philosophical interpretation. This prevented him from offering an unambiguous interpretation of the meaning of Hobbes’s philosophy. His philosophical solutions are merely tentative suggestions of ways to remove incoherencies from Hobbes’s thought. But it is this lack of philosophical closure, this relative shortage in intellectual elegance, that actually made Tönnies’s work so consequential. For whereas many of his philosophical suggestions, while relevant for his own context, became outdated quite quickly, the questions he posed and the attention he drew to the discrepancies in Hobbes’s philosophy were of lasting impact on Hobbes scholarship over the next decades, as numerous commentators continued to search for answers to precisely those dilemmas first outlined by Tönnies. This is the best proof of the quality of Tönnies’s scholarly work.

Hobbes’s Politics There was, however, one aspect where it was Tönnies’s assertions about the proper meaning of Hobbes’s thought, rather than the questions he raised, that exercised a

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profound impact on Hobbes’s reception: the political implications of his theory. Tönnies himself did not consider this the main legacy of his scholarship. He reduced the place of politics to a minimum in his overall interpretation of Hobbes, considering him first and foremost a philosopher in general, and only then a political thinker. Nevertheless, it was Hobbes’s political philosophy that always attracted most attention, and what a prominent connoisseur of Hobbes of the time had to say about it would inevitably draw attention, especially because Tönnies continuously worked to rebut the conventional perception of Hobbes as a cynical proponent of royal absolutism and the tyrannical power of the state. Tönnies always felt a strong sympathy for Hobbes, sympathy that might appear strange because at first glance there existed a wide gap between their political views. But he continuously tried to narrow this gap, even if he did not pretend to have bridged it completely. One aspect of Hobbes’s politics that especially appealed to him and that became the constant motif of his interpretation was Hobbes’s secularism and his apparent support for the policy of religious toleration. Tönnies saw Hobbes as an iconoclastic free spirit who stood at the outset of the modern secular age. This was not a common perception of Hobbes in Tönnies’s time. Thus Tönnies criticized Wilhelm Windelband (1919, 369) for ascribing to Hobbes the view that no religion or confession should be tolerated in public life except one avowed by the sovereign. Tönnies objected: there can be no doubt that “Hobbes wished for and favored the broadest toleration in religious matters” (1912, x). To support this interpretation Tönnies brought facts from Hobbes’s life, such as the story of his fallout with his Anglican royalist friends after the publication of Leviathan, and passages from Hobbes’s writings indicating that toward the end of the Civil War he had begun to sympathize with Independency. Tönnies was aware that Hobbes’s ideas also implied a great deal of intolerance. They required that the sovereign take care of the opinions propagated in the commonwealth and that the universities teach the true doctrine, which would actually be Hobbes’s own philosophy. But Tönnies brushed those moments away, arguing that this apparent intolerance was quite common for supporters of toleration at the time, when they had to fight clericalism. Hobbes’s sayings in this respect were similar to the calls of écrasez l’infâme toward enlightened kings by preachers of toleration, or to the Kulturkampf policy of nineteenth-century liberalism in Germany and France (Tönnies 1890, 224).8 Generally speaking, it was historically plausible to interpret Hobbes this way, and Tönnies had many good arguments at his disposal. But he also occasionally treated Hobbes more opportunistically, using him to address contemporary events, even at the price of anachronism. Thus he argued that Hobbes’s ideas were invaluable for the cause of world peace. And because Hobbes—in his opinion, one of the most important theorists of natural law—had not been reintroduced into the memory of the world and the conscience of jurists, the disaster of the world war ensued. Tönnies speaks as if it were his own personal failure. Natural law, he writes, is still held in contempt, and this is one of the reasons for the breakdown of Europe (Tönnies 1925, vii–viii). He lashes out at the Versailles peace as contradicting the terms of natural law. Natural law, he stresses, presupposes as the minimal condition of peace,



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the formal equality of those who conclude a contract, and consequently a peace contract. A peace contract that is pronounced as a court verdict against criminals whose only right is to accept or reject the punishment imposed on them, is not a contract; it is legally possible only versus subjects and is therefore void if equipped with the name “contract.” Especially void is the admission of guilt, coerced with the hint that refusal would lead to even more serious penalties; forced by prosecutors who at the same time presume themselves to be judges; a rape, whose whole barbarity is not covered by the word “torture” (Folterzwang). (Tönnies 1925, vii)

Hobbes serves here as a theorist of European peace and an authority to claim justice on behalf of the wronged party (Germany, in Tönnies’s eyes)! Tönnies thus often reflected on what Hobbes’s thought might have meant for European politics. And apart from making occasional opportunistic references to Hobbes in respect of specific issues, he also attempted to provide a general interpretation of Hobbes’s political views in the context of the European ideological map. I suggest that in the course of his work Tönnies offered three ways to interpret Hobbes’s politics in general. These interpretations are not mutually exclusive, and the elements of all three can be found in most of Tönnies’s writings on Hobbes. But they differ from each other, and are given a different degree of salience in different periods of Tönnies’s life. These periods roughly correspond to the times of publication of three editions of Hobbes. I will call these interpretations “social Caesarist,” “liberal individualist” and “revolutionary democratic.” Hobbes as a Social Caesarist In the Hobbesian commonwealth, or “Gemeinschaft,” as Tönnies translated the word in his first Hobbes publication (“Notes,” 239), everyone’s egoism is checked by the fear of absolute sovereignty. Tönnies contrasted this view with that of John Locke, who did not consider such a Gemeinschaft necessary, but believed that the greatest possible happiness could be achieved through mere society (Gesellschaft) and a societal (gesellschaftlichen) state (“Notes,” 240). Niall Bond notes that this was the first time that Tönnies used the terms Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as a dichotomy, and that by 1887, when he published Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, the meaning of the dichotomy was “altered beyond recognition” (2011, 1189). Nevertheless, it appears that there is an element of continuity between these two different usages of that conceptual pair. As Bond suggests, Tönnies’s view of Locke’s Gesellschaft, as presented in “Notes,” was “that members of civil society can withdraw from society at their pleasure,” for Tönnies regarded “the ‘dissolubility’ of human ties as the key feature of modern life” (ibid., 1194). From this one can gather that at least in “Notes” Tönnies considered indissolubility the principal characteristic of the Hobbesian covenant. One can neglect the covenant or deny its existence (thus throwing oneself back in the state of war with others), but once the promise has been given, it cannot be recalled, and there is no legal procedure for withdrawing from the commonwealth. It can be argued that the latter meaning of the dichotomy retains this distinction between the dissolubility of Gesellschaft and the indissolubility of Gemeinschaft, even if indissolubility

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now receives a completely different basis: it is no longer the indissolubility of the original covenant but the indissolubility of natural affections. In other words, despite the significant evolution of the meaning he assigns to these terms, Tönnies is driven by the same concern: his suspicion of the artificiality and looseness of human ties in the condition of the bourgeois individualist order. Hobbes appealed to him because his commonwealth seemed to present an alternative to this order. But Tönnies quickly came to the conclusion that this alternative did not go far enough; and he found a more radical alternative in “community,” which had little in common with Hobbes’s individualism. Yet in spite of this, Tönnies continued to distinguish between Hobbes’s and Locke’s ideas, and when he contrasted them, he found Hobbes’s politics more congenial to his concerns. He argued in one of his early publications on Hobbes (Tönnies 1890, 225) that the Lockean constitutional liberalism was too traditional, as it contained clerical and estates elements. Hobbes, by contrast, represented a more forward-looking, essentially eighteenth- and nineteenth-century way of thinking in respect of the state. This new view entailed two possibilities: absolutism or radical democracy and socialism. Tönnies’s sympathies were on the side of socialism. But even “absolutism” was preferable to him than timid Lockean liberalism. This absolutism was of a modern kind; its purest form was “Caesarism.” Tönnies (1912, 208) later made a reference to Wilhelm Roscher (1893, 588–714), who in a study on political regimes defined Caesarism as a specific form of regime characterized by the combination of extreme monarchical and extreme democratic elements. Roscher argued that Caesarism usually brings to an end periods of “degenerated” democracy, replacing it with military tyranny that draws its legitimacy from broad popular legitimacy. The modern examples of Caesarism were for him Cromwell and Napoleon. Hobbes’s absolutism was of this kind, according to Tönnies; indeed, he often pointed to the alleged mutual sympathy between Cromwell and Hobbes. In his early period Tönnies was sympathetic to Caesarism. He argued that it was the task of the state to counterbalance the damage pure “society” caused. In the first edition of Hobbes he interpreted Hobbes’s state of nature as actually a description of a society without a state. What allowed him to do this was the distinction Hobbes drew in The Elements of Law between concord and union. Tönnies argued that the difference between society and state is that the former brings men into concord, while the latter brings men into union [“in der Gesellschaft verbundenen, im State vereinigten Menschen”] (Tönnies 1896, 210). The state of nature was not completely devoid of rules: it might exist on the basis of natural law, yet natural law could not serve as a solid barrier against the forces of egoism. Behind “society” maintaining some semblance of order through an elaborate system of mutual contracts, there always lurks the war of all against all. Incessant economic competition and class struggle are forms of this war.9 The power capable of keeping at bay this struggle of egoistic desires is not a system of contracts but a strong state. In the first Hobbes Tönnies even speaks about the struggle between society, on one hand, and the state, on the other (1896, 217). The powerful ones, he suggests in a Marxist manner, wish to use the state for their own benefit, whereas Hobbes envisioned the state as the check on their power: “according to the idea developed by Hobbes with such astuteness, the constitution and the government of



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the state should be independent from the society [Gesellschaft]: the ‘social’ monarchy, or state socialism, is just a new shaping of his thought.” Tönnies omitted this passage in the subsequent editions, although he continued to argue that Hobbes had seen the principal danger in human greed and assigned to the state the task of protecting the poor against the greedy (Tönnies 1912, 224–5). This interpretation was not left unchallenged. After the first Hobbes appeared, Heinrich Cunow, a Social Democrat politician and Marxist theoretician, held that Tönnies was wrong in his desire to deduce socialist postulates from Hobbes (Cunow 1897, 630–2). In Cunow’s view, Hobbes’s dismissal of the principle of the inviolability of private property was reminiscent of the struggle of the agrarian aristocracy against the financial and commercial bourgeoisie of their time. Tönnies responded that Hobbes should be seen as a bourgeois thinker, whose bourgeois teaching was more radical than the attitude of most of the bourgeoisie. His bourgeois state is not the same as bourgeois society. It implies a more radical view that leads directly to Rousseau and his admirers among the Jacobins and La Montagne (Tönnies 1897, 784), even to socialism: “Hobbes represents the bourgeois world, the continuation of which the proletarian world signifies no less than its reversal. The pioneer work of the socialist ideas is not indifferent to the notion of the absolute state either. One is reminded of the great impression left by Lassalle’s catchword against the night-watchman view of the state” (ibid., 787–8). In this connection Tönnies mentioned such policies as worker protection laws and compulsory insurance. Tönnies thus presents Hobbes as a precursor of the state socialism of Lassalle, and the expression “social monarchy” alludes to the views of “social monarchists” such as Adolph Wagner, Lorenz von Stein and Rudolph Gneist, with whom Tönnies sympathized in his younger years.10 Furthermore, he hails Hobbes as a precursor of political economy who was sufficiently discerning to see through what is involved in the capitalist mode of production. Tönnies illustrates this with a quote from Behemoth, where Hobbes suggests that the urban commercial classes constituted the main social base of the Parliament supporters, and that they fought for their economic interests to the detriment of the poor masses (Tönnies 1912, 218–19). Hobbes was not a Gemeinschaft thinker, Tönnies admitted. His radical bourgeois state that paves the way for socialism was unambiguously of the Gesellschaft type (cf. Tönnies 1919, 443). But Tönnies’s view of Gesellschaft was not one-dimensional. Gesellschaft finds its expression in two opposite forms: the freedom of contracts and the unity of political corporation, in other words, society and state. Society is a problem. But a strong state mitigates society’s shortcomings. As long as Gesellschaft remains the dominant mode of life in the modern world, the only realistic way of coping with social problems is by looking for resources within Gesellschaft itself. This is precisely what Hobbes accomplished: he offered a Gesellschaft solution to Gesellschaft discontent. A more radical communitarian alternative was hardly within the range of possibilities. Hobbes as a Liberal Individualist In the second edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, published in 1912, Tönnies introduced those two terms as analytical concepts rather than two forms of society appearing

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in historical sequence. This signified a certain rearrangement that had occurred in his position in the preceding years. As Mitzman argues, during the 1900s Tönnies adopted a more positive attitude toward liberalism (1971, 518–23). He invested his hopes in progressive liberalism and moderate social democracy, envisioning the blending of a liberal Rechtsstaat into a more socially oriented Wohlfahrtsstaat and castigating Prussian authoritarianism. As a result, his interests became more Gesellschaft oriented. If the earlier Tönnies considered the state a check on bourgeois society, he now hoped that society would become a potential check on the authoritarian state. Moreover, he now saw this liberal society as not exclusively gesellschaftlich. Because Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft were now merely analytical concepts, liberal social life could be seen as containing elements of both. In the same period Tönnies began to emphasize the liberal aspects of Hobbes’s theory. Its spirit, he argued in the second edition of Hobbes, is “the depiction of Rechtsstaat, of the state’s purpose to realize natural law through [positive] laws. Although Hobbes is at the same time a representative of the welfare or police state […] in the main, the existing distribution of property, which enjoys state protection, appears to him as ‘natural’ and suited to the general interest” (1912, 180–1). Tönnies thus now presented Hobbes as both a natural law liberal and social liberal—like himself. The three most salient characteristics of this liberal interpretation are, in my view, as follows: first, Tönnies attributes to Hobbes a normative sphere independent of the state. This is the sphere of the laws of nature, the heart of which is the principle of upholding contracts. Tönnies concedes that, according to Hobbes, the validity of contracts starts only with the appearance of a civil power, but argues that, in saying this, Hobbes contradicts his own natural law principles: “he forgets that the existence of his state is itself based on natural law; that particularly in the earlier redactions of his theory he can and wishes to teach nothing else than natural law” (Tönnies 1912, 169).11 Moreover, Hobbes and many other theorists of natural law are wrong in assuming that the enforcement power belongs exclusively to the state. There may exist “other potencies of a collective will, albeit with less power” (Tönnies 1912, 166), so that in reality no dichotomy exists between the natural condition governed by natural law, which is incapable of enforcing itself, and the civil condition under which the civil authority can enforce natural law principles. Rather, there is an evolving process in which various institutions acquire a capacity to enforce natural law to some degree, even if their power to do so falls short of the absoluteness of the sovereign will of the state. The paradigmatic example of such a partially enforced system of natural law is the law of nations. Now, according to Tönnies, Hobbes’s natural law theory is very different from the traditional jus naturale view with its ecclesiastical and estates implications. Hobbes is an unambiguously modern thinker, whose natural law is also specifically modern, more so than Grotius, who (together with Pufendorf) represents a traditional scholastic approach (Tönnies 1912, 161–2). Hobbes’s theory reflects the condition in which the subjective right of the individual is prioritized over the objective moral order, and in which obligation is derived from the procedure of a contract rather than from its substance. That brings us to the second characteristic in Tönnies’s depiction of Hobbes as a liberal. Hobbes’s theory is the expression of modern social reality, in which the individual is freed from



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his dependence on communal ties, because “other than the individual and the state no other independent legal entities can be conceived” (Tönnies 1896, 216). This process consists “in the concentration of public law, which is raised, so to speak, from manifold communal [gemeinschaftlichen] spheres: the state absorbs the law as it destroys all corporate structures, the legal character of which is not explicitly private, suppresses them, or makes them dependent on itself ” (ibid., 216–17). Hobbes’s theory then reflects the historical process of the transformation from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. Third, Tönnies considered Hobbes a supporter of de facto property rights. The principles of Hobbes’s theory deny any sacredness to property rights, and indicate that the omnipotent state should not shy away from interfering in them (ibid., 205). Yet, on the practical level, Hobbes did not recommend any significant policy of redistribution (Tönnies 1918, 421). The last two characteristics can be found already in the first edition of Hobbes. Yet at that time Tönnies was very critical of Gesellschaft individualism and of the capitalist system of property rights. Therefore, he assessed Hobbes’s “liberalism” in a negative light, upholding instead the elements of radicalism and social Caesarism which he is believed to have discovered in the writings of the English philosopher. All this changes in the second edition, which is by and large (although not completely) free of illiberal implications. This is due to the addition of the first component: the preeminence of natural law. Whereas in the first edition Tönnies emphasized the priority of positive law, without which the state of nature would never be eliminated, in the second and third editions, he regards positive law as based on natural law, and treats whatever Hobbes says to the contrary as an unfortunate contradiction (1896, 202). And when Hobbes’s bourgeois individualism, mentioned in the first edition of Hobbes, is juxtaposed with the emphasis on natural law from the second edition, Hobbes’s liberalism becomes more appealing to Tönnies. His reservations regarding the excessive Gesellschaft character of Hobbes’s thought do not disappear completely, but they are downplayed. Hobbes as a Revolutionary Democrat Of Tönnies’s three interpretations of Hobbes’s politics, the liberal one was preeminent. Elements of it were already present in his early writings, and in fact it never disappears. It is unsurprising, then, that the subsequent generations of Hobbes scholars, among them such different minds as Strauss, Macpherson or Oakeshott, learned from Tönnies this “liberal” line in their reevaluation of the political meaning of Hobbes’s philosophy, and that a recent interpreter of Tönnies’s writings on Hobbes focused on their liberal aspects (Merle 2005). But to limit Tönnies’s interpretation to this liberal individualism gives us at best a partial picture. It may adequately describe Tönnies’s view during the period of the second Hobbes edition, but it misses essential points from other periods. I have already dealt with the social Caesarism of Tönnies’s earlier interpretation. But liberal individualism would be similarly ill-suited for the period of the 1920s, when the third edition of Hobbes and some articles on Hobbes’s politics were published. In those years Tönnies advanced what can be called a “revolutionary democratic” interpretation. The liberal and the democratic

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do not necessarily contradict each other, so even then Tönnies continued to subscribe to the basic postulates of his liberal interpretation. Yet the democratic interpretation offered a somewhat different logic, adding new components to the overall picture. Tönnies’s liberal interpretation was essentially apolitical. A liberal Hobbes was for him mainly a theorist of natural law, and the most relevant writings in this respect were, in his view, The Elements of Law and De Cive. Yet in the 1920s, he drew more and more on the text he himself classified as a theory of politics: Leviathan. And it is on the basis of some passages from Leviathan that Tönnies built his “revolutionary democratic” interpretation. Hobbes’s texts contain occasional references to democracy. He counted democracy (in its traditional meaning as government by popular assembly) among legitimate regimes. In The Elements of Law, and less explicitly in De Cive, democracy is depicted as the original form of government. With this in mind, Tönnies once suggested that Hobbes’s attitude always had “a republican and democratic tincture” (1890, 221). Still, it is not this model of ancient democracy that interested Tönnies in the 1920s with regard to Leviathan. The view that original democracy might have been historically the first form of government by no means presupposes any preference for this regime. The Elements of Law, which contains the most explicit reference to that view, was clearly intended to support the royalist cause. And Hobbes’s writings evolved in such a way as to give less attention to democracy in this sense. Acknowledging this, Tönnies the philologist does not call his new interpretation “democratic.” But it is democratic nevertheless; it is just not a theory of democratic government but a theory of democratic revolution. The heart of this theory is the notion of a constituent national assembly. The interpretation runs as follows: Hobbes always distinguished between two kinds of sovereign polities, but only one of them, which is based on the transfer of right by mutual contract, is a proper commonwealth. The other kind—whether patrimonial or despotic—signifies not a proper kind of civil commonwealth, but a union retaining some elements of the state of nature, because this union involves subjection by force. In Leviathan these two kinds of polity are called a commonwealth by institution and a commonwealth by acquisition. The former presupposes an assembly that decides on the form of government, and the assembly’s decisions are made by the majority vote. In other words, Tönnies attributes to Hobbes a theory of the original democratic constituent assembly. The term “constituent assembly” was already present in the 1912 edition of Hobbes (Tönnies 1912, 239n).12 But the most elaborate discussion of what it entails is found in Tönnies’s writings of the 1920s (Tönnies 1975[1926]; 1975[1930]). Their historical background was the Weimar National Assembly of 1919/20, and the subsequent debates on the political constitution of the German Republic. Tönnies’s arguments were quite shaky, as they were based on a peculiar reading of a very small number of passages from Leviathan, mainly the reference to an assembly in the beginning of chapter 18 (Hobbes 1946, 113) and to the principle of majority vote in chapter 16 (ibid., 108). Yet, because the purpose of this chapter is an historical exposition rather than criticism, I will leave a detailed analysis of the weaknesses of his argument for another occasion. Instead, I will limit myself here to the criticism voiced against Tönnies when he first mentioned the notion of constituent assembly,



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and to Tönnies’s reaction to this criticism, which helps us understand more clearly his general view. The thinker who first referred to Tönnies’s idea of constituent assembly was Otto von Gierke. Gierke himself had developed a theory regarding Hobbes’s political philosophy. Hobbes’s main problem, in his view, was how to conceive the state in terms of a legal personality without making it dependent on the personality of the people. The conventional contract theory was inadequate: being a so-called double-contact theory, in which individuals first form a social body and then as a social body enter into a contract with the ruler, it implied the existence of contractual obligations between the ruler and the ruled. Hobbes found the answer in the one-contract theory, according to which the sovereign emerges directly from the mutual contract of everyone with everyone, without obligating himself to them, and thus the commonwealth created as a result of that contract cannot have legitimate claims against the state authority. Hobbes thus obliterated the personality of the people “already in its cradle” (Gierke 1913a, 328; cf. Runciman 1997, 34–47). Unsurprisingly, Gierke considered Tönnies’s notion of constituent assembly as superfluous, because all that was necessary for Hobbes’s theory of representation was the contract of everyone with everyone; and he inserted a brief footnote on this in the third edition of his treatise on Althusius (Gierke 1913b, 378–9n), which was published a year after the second edition of Tönnies’s Hobbes. Tönnies’s reaction to what was actually a side remark was somewhat disproportional. Not only did he feel it necessary to reply twice to Gierke’s criticism (1925, 305–6n; 1975[1930], 348–9), but he also added to his answer the following words: “it is painful for me to have to oppose an author whom I have deeply admired since my youth” (Tönnies 1975[1930], 348); interestingly, by that time Gierke was already dead. Tönnies was clearly annoyed by Gierke’s words, and the reason for this might be that Gierke had uncovered a weakness in Tönnies’s general approach to Hobbes: his flirtation with the double-contract theory. At first glance, Tönnies could not be accused of supporting the double-contract theory. Already in the second Hobbes edition (the first edition is a bit ambiguous in this respect), he rejected this reading of Hobbes in most explicit terms and even criticized those scholars who subscribed to it (Tönnies 1912, 239–40n). Yet some of his expressions did sound like a kind of double-contract interpretation. His notion of constituent assembly, for example, implied at least a pre-civil agreement on the procedure (Tönnies’s answer to this was that constituent assembly takes place under the terms of natural law). Or, he attributed to Hobbes a possibility of “an effective social will, even when it does not receive the shape of a state will” (Tönnies 1912, 178). Or, he used the word “solidarity” (1918, 419) in relation to the way of life under natural law in the pre-civil condition. And solidarity must imply much more than merely the coexistence of independent individuals abstaining from harming each other. Gierke’s scholarly work was to a great degree dedicated to the defense of communal bottom-up structures against the crushing power of the modern state. Naturally, he took Hobbes—a proponent of the modern state—as a foe of the things he held dear. Tönnies was profoundly influenced by Gierke’s world view; yet he was not prepared to abandon Hobbes. Therefore he had no other choice than to ascribe to Hobbes the possibility of

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spontaneous bottom-up human organization, even if this compromised the one-contract interpretation, which he, like Gierke, explicitly advocated. If this emphasis on a spontaneous pre-civil organization sounds like a theory of revolution, it should. Tönnies draws a line from Hobbes via Rousseau to the beginning of the French Revolution (1975[1926], 36–7).13 He argues that both Hobbes’s constituent assembly and Rousseau’s general assembly function by force of natural law. The difference is that for Rousseau, the general assembly is a permanently acting body, which means that the regime is never institutionalized. For Hobbes, by contrast, the assembly establishes institutions and then disperses itself. In other words, whereas Rousseau’s theory presupposes the institutionalization of permanent revolution, Hobbes’s presupposes intermittent revolutions that result in institutionalization. Tönnies brings historical examples of “constituent assemblies,” such as the English Parliament of 1660 that initiated the Restoration, the convention parliament of the Glorious Revolution in 1689, the French National Assembly of 1789, the Frankfurt Parliament of 1848, the German National Assembly after the 1918 revolution, and finally the national assemblies in Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other new small states (1975[1930], 350–1). The pure theory of constituent assembly does not require the formation of a democratic regime. As Tönnies himself notes, sovereign democratic institutions should not be confused with this assembly. A Reichstag comes after the National Assembly (Tönnies 1975[1926], 37). Yet the historical development he depicted clearly indicates gradual progress toward democracy through a series of reshuffles by popular revolutions. In a somewhat dialectical manner Tönnies describes these regime changes as a series of progressive overcomings of the constitutional dualisms that developed in the old order, for example, the dualism between the king and the parliament. Each revolution abolishes a dualism, forming a new seat of sovereignty until a new dualism emerges. Tönnies believed that the peak of this development was reached in his own days, as the growing numbers and organization of the proletariat brought about the most comprehensive dualism, which demanded a new resolution: of “whether the state authority should have its decisive office in a king (however he wishes to be called, for example, a dictator, or by some monarchic name) or in an assembly conceived as the people’s assembly” (Tönnies 1975[1930], 341). Germany was again facing the question of sovereignty, and Tönnies hoped that the resolution would lead to the establishment of radical popular democracy. Now, unlike many other aspects of his interpretation of Hobbes’s philosophy, Tönnies was not prepared to admit that the notion of constituent assembly was his own addition. Facing Gierke’s criticism, he insisted that what he described was Hobbes’s own view. He came to see Leviathan not as a standard theory of political obligation but as a theory of revolutionary settlement, a theory of how to institutionalize the regime reshuffle as a result of a popular revolution. Thus toward the end of his life Tönnies turned Hobbes into the prophet of a better state. Whereas previously he had almost ignored Leviathan, now this work acquired a great significance for him. In Leviathan, Tönnies believes, Hobbes was not granting legitimacy to the powers that be; rather he was building foundations for an artificial construction



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to be erected in accordance with his design. Tönnies compared Leviathan with Plato’s Republic and reminded his readers that Hobbes himself had pointed to its parallels with Utopia (Tönnies 1975[1923], 327; 1975[1926], 26).

Conclusion Tönnies is rarely referred to by today’s scholars of Hobbes, except for the references to his editions of Hobbes’s works. But his influence on Hobbes scholarship is more significant than is now acknowledged. For Tönnies was the first to formulate many scholarly dilemmas regarding Hobbes’s philosophy; he was the first to draw attention to numerous textual passages that still arise in debates on Hobbes; and his unorthodox descriptions of Hobbes’s politics are echoed in the writings of many twentieth-century commentators of Hobbes. The question of whether these commentators came to similar conclusions independently of Tönnies or were directly influenced by him, requires a separate study. Here it has been my hope just to provide an initial overview of a subject that deserves closer examination.

Notes I would like to thank Christopher Adair-Toteff, Niall Bond, Uwe Carstens, Quentin Skinner and Ian Tregenza for their help and advice during my work on this chapter. 1. Raylor (2001) also provides a good summary of the entire debate. 2. The first volume published in the same year was on G. T. Fechner, and the next volumes included thinkers such as Kierkegaard, Rousseau, Nietzsche, Spencer, Kant, Aristotle and Plato. 3. The German term is Naturrecht. In this chapter I follow the most common way of translating it as natural law, for under this heading Tönnies refers to what Hobbes called “laws of nature.” Yet Tönnies treats Hobbes’s Naturrecht as significantly different from the medieval theories of natural law: he interprets it in the liberal sense as a legal system of mutual recognition of subjective rights. 4. Tönnies first challenged the Bacon interpretation in his “Notes” (176–7). A young scholar, he did not mention Fischer by name, but in his later publications he dared to be more explicit, speaking about what he regarded as Fischer’s dogmatism and his “autocratically-confident mind” (1925, x). Tönnies’s antipathy toward Fischer went far beyond this specific issue. In another context, he wrote about “the pleasing work of belletristics by the Privy Councillor Kuno Fischer” (1906, 77). See also his criticism of Fischer’s Spinoza interpretation: Tönnies 1975[1883], 246. Tönnies’s description of Fischer’s writing as a work of belletristics betrays a certain personal bias; whatever its specific shortcomings, Fischer’s history of philosophy was clearly a fine work of scholarship. 5. Tönnies’s usage of this word should not be confused with its later meaning in Husserl’s philosophy. 6. Leo Strauss (150n) drew on this insight in his earlier interpretation of Hobbes, where he argued that the right of nature (perfect liberty) is the domain of passions driving men to war, while the law of nature is based on fear leading men to peace. Fear is thus related to basic moral maxims (natural law), serving, so to speak, as a link between two extremes: the natural and the civil condition. 7. Michael Oakeshott builds on the distinction between fear and pride in his interpretation of the theory of civil obligation in Hobbes (1962, 289–93).

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8. The allusion is in part to the Bismarck anti-Catholic policy of Kulturkampf that was supported by National Liberals. E. G. Jacoby reprinted the article containing this statement in Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, but the sentences to which I refer were omitted there. In the footnote (81n) Jacoby informs the reader that he omitted several passages because they appear in Hobbes. This is not entirely true. Some of the passages omitted in the reprinted text do appear in Hobbes, but not the paragraph that refers to Kulturkampf and the intolerance toward clericalism. I cannot say whether the omission was made intentionally or by oversight. 9. This is reminiscent of Montesquieu’s (1940, 4) and Rousseau’s (1997, 151) claims that what Hobbes took to be the state of nature in fact described modern civilized society. Yet, unlike them, Tönnies did not claim that Hobbes made a mistake; he believed that Hobbes knew what he was doing. 10. Cf. Mitzman 1971, 509–10. Mitzman argues that Tönnies turned against these “social monarchists” already after the antisocialist legislation of 1878. Yet his writings on Hobbes show that he may have retained some sympathy for the principles of social monarchy even in the 1890s. 11. On this aspect of Tönnies’s interpretation of Hobbes, see Ilting’s (1971) introduction to the reprint of the third edition of Hobbes. It is, however, important to correct what I believe to be a mistake in Ilting’s interpretation. He argues (50*) that Tönnies’s view of natural law was similar to the so-called Taylor-Warrender thesis, according to which Hobbes possessed a genuine moral theory, framed in terms of the laws of nature. Because Ilting posited the main question in terms of whether Hobbes was a theorist of might or right, and himself took the side of “might,” it was perhaps less important for him to take notice of the differences among those interpreters who shared the view that emphasizes the “right” aspect of Hobbes’s theory. Indeed, there is much in Tönnies’s interpretation that might contribute to the development of the Taylor-Warrender thesis, as Tönnies himself argued that the intellectual development that would subsequently lead to the separation of morality from natural law accomplished by Fichte, Kant and Feuerbach was already initiated by Hobbes (Tönnies 1925, 198), and he referred approvingly (302n) to a similar claim by Messer (1893, 25). But there are at least two moments that clearly distinguish Tönnies’s interpretation from that thesis. First, Tönnies makes absolutely clear (in both the second and third editions) that, as far as Hobbes’s own views are concerned, he reduced moral philosophy to natural law and not vice versa (Tönnies 1912, 160). That is, it is not natural law that is formed in accordance with moral principles, but the contrary: morality is derived from the principles of natural law (168). Second, that thesis presupposed God as the authority that makes the laws of nature obligatory. Such an interpretation would be anathema to Tönnies, who never tired of emphasizing the radically secular character of Hobbes’s thought. 12. Tönnies’s attention to it may be related to the interest by contemporary legal and intellectual historians, such as Egon Zweig—the author of Die Lehre vom Pouvoir Constituant (1909)—in the history of the idea of constituent power. On Zweig and constituent power, see Kelly (2014). 13. Moreover, he suggested that whereas in England and France the development of democratic sovereignty proceeded according to Hobbes’s way, the new republican constitutions of Germany and Austria followed the scheme of Rousseau (Tönnies 1925, 270)!

References Bond, Niall 2011, “Rational Natural Law and German Sociology: Hobbes, Locke and Tönnies.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy. Vol. 19, Issue 6. 1175–1200. Brandt, Frithjof 1928, Thomas Hobbes’ Mechanical Concept of Nature. London: Librairie Hachette. Carstens, Uwe 2013, Ferdinand Tönnies: Friese und Weltbürger. Eine Biographie. Bräist/Bredstedt: Nordfriisk Instituut.



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Collier, Peter and Willms, Bernard 1988, “Hobbes en Allemagne.” Archiv de philosophie. Vol. 51, Issue 2. 240–53. Cunow, Heinrich 1897, Review of Tönnies, Hobbes’ Leben und Lehre. In Die Neue Zeit. Vol. 15:2, Issue 46. 630–2. Fischer, Kuno 1875, Francis Bacon und seine Nachfolger: Entwicklungsgeschichte der Erfahrungsphilosophie. Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus. Gaskin, J. C. A. 1994, “A Note on the Texts.” In Thomas Hobbes, The Elements of Law, Natural and Politic, xlvii–l. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gierke, Otto von 1913a, Die deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht, vol. 4: Die Staats- und Korporationslehre der Neuzeit. Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung. Gierke, Otto von 1913b, Johannes Althusius und die Entwicklung der naturrechtlichen Staatstheorien, 3rd ed. Breslau: M. & H. Marcus. Hobbes, Thomas 1946, Leviathan. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Hobbes, Thomas 1969a, The Elements of Law Natural and Politic. London: Frank Cass & Co. Hobbes, Thomas 1969b, Behemoth, Or the Long Parliament. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ilting, Karl-Heinz 1971, “Einleitung.” In Ferdinand Tönnies, Thomas Hobbes: Leben und Lehre, 9*–90*. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Johannesson, Jürg 1955, “Ferdinand Tönnies’ Verhältnis zur Hobbes-Gesellschaft.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Vol. 7, Issue 3. 478–90. Kelly, Duncan 2014, “Egon Zweig and the Intellectual History of Constituent Power.” In Constitutionalism, Legitimacy and Power: Nineteenth-Century Experiences. Edited by Kelly L. Grotke and Markus J. Prutsch, 332–50. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lange, Friedrich Albert 1866, Geschichte des Materialismus und Kritik seiner Bedeutungen in der Gegenwart. Iserlohn: J. Baedeker. Lepenies, Wolf 1988, Between Literature and Science: The Rise of Sociology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Malcolm, Noel 2002, Aspects of Hobbes. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Merle, Jean-Christophe 2005, “Tönnies’s View of Hobbes as a Theorist of Liberal Society.” In Leviathan Between the Wars: Hobbes’s Impact on Early Twentieth Century Political Philosophy. Edited by Luc Foisneau, Jean-Christophe Merle and Tom Sorell, 41–8. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Messer, Wilhelm August 1893, Das Verhältnis von Sittengesetz und Staatsgesetz bei Thomas Hobbes. Mainz: Joh. Falk III Söhne. Mitzman, Arthur 1971, “Tönnies and German Society, 1887–1914: From Cultural Pessimism to Celebration of the Volksgemeinschaft.” Journal of the History of Ideas. Vol. 32, Issue 4. 507–24. Montesquieu 1940, The Spirit of the Laws. New York: Hafner Publishing Company. Oakeshott, Michael 1962, “The Moral Life in the Writings of Thomas Hobbes.” In Rationalism in Politics and Other Essays, 248–300. London: Methuen. Podoksik, Efraim 2010, “How Is Modern Intellectual History Possible?” European Political Science. Vol. 9, Issue 3. 304–15. Raylor, Timothy 2001, “Hobbes, Payne, and A Short Tract on First Principles.” Historical Journal. Vol. 44, Issue 1. 29–58. Roscher, Wilhelm 1893, Politik: Geschichtliche Naturlehre der Monarchie, Aristokratie und Demokratie, 2nd ed. Stuttgart: J.C. Cotta. Rousseau, Jean Jacques 1997, Discourse on the Origin and the Foundations of Inequality among Men. In The Discourses and Other Early Political Writings, 113–222. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Runciman, David 1997, Pluralism and the Personality of the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Seaward, Paul 2010, “Textual Introduction.” In Thomas Hobbes, Behemoth or the Long Parliament, 71–104. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Simmel, Georg 2003[1913], Goethe. In Georg Simmel Gesamtausgabe, vol. 15. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Skinner, Quentin 2002, Visions of Politics, vol. 3: Hobbes and Civil Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Strauss, Leo 1936, The Political Philosophy of Hobbes: Its Basis and Its Genesis. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Tarlton, Charles D. 2001, “The Despotical Doctrine of Hobbes, Part I: The Liberalization of Leviathan.” History of Political Thought. Vol. 22, Issue 4. 587–618. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1889, “Thomas Hobbes: Zum dritten Säculargedächtniß seines Geburtsjahres (1588).” Deutsche Rundschau. Vol. 59, Issue 4. 94–125. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1890, “Siebzehn Briefe des Thomas Hobbes an Samuel Sobrière, nebst Briefen Sobrière’s, Mersenne’s u. Aa.” Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophie. Vol. 3, Issue 2. 192–232. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1896, Hobbes: Leben und Lehre. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1897, “Die Politik des Hobbes,” Die Neue Zeit. Vol. 15:2, Issue 51. 783–8. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1906, Philosophische Terminologie in psychologisch-soziologischer Ansicht. Leipzig: Theod. Thomas. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1912, Thomas Hobbes: Der Mann und der Denker. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann (and also Osterwieck: Zickfeldt). Tönnies, Ferdinand 1918, “Der Staatsgedanke des Hobbes.” Die Neue Zeit. Vol. 36:1, Issue 18. 416–22; Vol. 36:1, Issue 19. 439–43. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1925, Thomas Hobbes: Leben und Lehre. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1955[1933], “Über die Lehr- und Redefreiheit.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie. Vol. 7, Issue 3. 468–77. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975[1879–81], “Anmerkungen über die Philosophie des Hobbes.” In Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, 171–240. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975[1883], “Studie zur Kritik des Spinoza.” In Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, 241–92. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975[1923], “Hobbes und das Zoon Politikon.” In Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, 311–29. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975[1926], “The Elements of Law Natural and Politic: Einführung zur deutschen Ausgabe.” In Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, 21–45. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975[1930], “Die Lehre von Urversammlung.” In Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, 331–51. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975[1932], “Hobbes und Spinoza.” In Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. Jahrhundert, 293–310. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann. Tuck, Richard 2002, Hobbes: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Windelband, Wilhelm 1919, Lehrbuch der Geschichte der Philosophie. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr.

Chapter Seven Gender and Family William Stafford

Introduction Conceptions of gender and of the family play a central role in Tönnies’s elaboration and illustration of his theory of social relations and modes of identity in his early classic Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. He continued to think and write about them throughout his career. Not only are these conceptions interesting in themselves, at the very least as examples of attitudes in his time and place: also it is impossible to explain his theory as he wrote it without reference to them. Therefore this chapter will set out the way he employs these conceptions to explain his theory of human association and will formation. But from a later perspective, as a number of scholars have argued, these conceptions, and especially his conception of gender, may be judged ahistorical, limited and vitiated by commonplace late nineteenth-century German patriarchal assumptions and prejudices (Greven 1991; Meurer 1991). For a recent summary statement of the case against Tönnies and a list of the relevant secondary literature, see Niall Bond’s article “Sexus und Tönnies” (Bond 2007). I do not wish to deny that Tönnies is suspect from a modern feminist standpoint, nor that he on occasion makes grossly antifeminist statements. But I intend to argue that his critics have based themselves on a selective reading and the most unfavorable interpretation: a different selection, and a more sympathetic approach, which places him in the context of his own age and does not judge him exclusively by the standards of today, qualifies these charges. For his writings are complex and sometimes polysemic; on gender, traditional prejudices and progressive ideas mingle together in unresolved tension. The most serious charge brought against him is that his prejudices on the topic of gender go to the very heart of his theory, and that therefore the exposure of them deprives that theory of value. His critics argue that his pure sociology, his ideal types of Gemeinschaft/Wesenwille (community/essential will) and Gesellschaft/Kürwille (association/ elective will) are based on conventional sex-role differences (taken as a model not only by him but by other contemporary sociologists) (Sydie 1987, 170), and that his conception of Gemeinschaft is modeled on the nineteenth-century bourgeois idea of a patriarchal family. It is not the case, they say, that he first creates abstract ideal types, and then illustrates them empirically, referring among other things to gender; he starts from nineteenthcentury gender polarities and myths of the family, and then builds his theory on them

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(Greven 1991, 361). Gemeinschaft/Wesenwille and Gesellschaft/Kürwille mean feminine and masculine (Greven 1991, 373 fn). His prejudiced theory of gender contrasts is the sole empirical content of his “pure” types (Greven 1991, 370). Sex is a fundamental category without which his classic work cannot be understood (Meurer 1991, 380). Furthermore, the whole rests on a massive empirical-historical hypothesis, according to which Gesellschaft and Kürwille (masculine and higher) progressively replace Gemeinschaft and Wesenwille (feminine, more primitive) (Greven 1991, 361). In the more advanced but alienated world of Gesellschaft, the feminine Gemeinschaft of the family functions and should be preserved as a pre-capitalist refuge for progressive man (Meurer 1991, 385). The centrality of these patriarchal prejudices, Tönnies’s critics conclude, makes his theory irrelevant to us today (Greven 1991, 372). So an absolutely crucial question arises of whether the core theory still stands if those prejudices are challenged. On one hand, if they are no more than illustrative metaphors that could be replaced with other metaphors, then the theory would emerge unscathed. If, on the other hand, they are intrinsic to the theory, then it would be damaging to the point of destruction.

Family According to Tönnies, the family is the fundamental form of Gemeinschaft, out of which the other forms grow. The relationships of mother and child, of the couple and of brothers and sisters may instantiate an intense unity of spirit, the antithesis of a Hobbesian, calculating, selfish individualism. Emotional ties, shared experiences and memories and a common pattern of living bind these individuals into a community. Here is to be found mutual understanding and sympathy: Mutual understanding rests upon intimate knowledge of one another, reflecting the direct interest of one being in the life of another and willingness to share in his or her joys and sorrows. Such understanding becomes more likely, the greater the similarity of background and experience, or the more people’s natural dispositions, characters, and ways of thinking resemble or complement each other. (Tönnies 2001, 33)

Tönnies thought that Gemeinschaft, of which the family was the origin, was the basis of morality and culture, and that Gesellschaft tended to destroy these. Professionally he subscribed to a value-free social science (Tönnies 1931b, iv, 77; 1926, 133). But to readers then and now, the language he uses to describe Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft cannot readily be understood as value-neutral. So, for example, he writes of Gesellschaft that We are talking about a kind of social life and situation in which individuals live in such isolation and concealed mutual enmity that they refrain from attacking each other only out of fear or prudent calculation. As a result, even relations that are peaceful and friendly must be regarded as resting on a war footing. (Tönnies 2001, 249) Gesellschaft conditions in general, are the ruin and death of the people. […] The entire culture has been overturned by a civilization dominated by market and civil Society, and in this transformation civilization itself is coming to an end. (Tönnies 2001, 256–7)



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He is perfectly explicit that family and Gesellschaft are antithetical (Tönnies 1931b, 87); and as the antithesis of what he has characterized in such unfavorable terms, family is likely to invite a positive evaluation. He thought that the communal spirit of family was an essential counterweight to the selfishness and amorality of Gesellschaft: indeed, as the behavioral patterns of market society became more prevalent, there was a countervailing need to strengthen family life and extend its influence. This lifelong concern is best encountered in his article “Fünfzehn Thesen zur Erneuerung des Familienlebens” (“Fifteen Propositions for the Renewal of Family Life”) of 1893. His argument here is that the decay of family life has corrupted modern society, with an increase in criminality, especially of youth crime (Tönnies 1959, 124, 127; 1893, 303). Some have argued that socialism or irreligion are to blame, but Tönnies points the finger at what the onward march of free market capitalism is doing to the common people as it produces a degraded environment and inadequate income and leisure. What can be done about this? He advocates the establishment of local cooperative unions specifically devoted to the care and nurture of family spirit (Tönnies 1893, 304, 311). These could counteract the fragmentation and individualism of modern Gesellschaft. He envisages two possible forms of union. A first form might consist of groups of naturally related families; in order to strengthen family life, they would preserve family records, keep in constant touch by correspondence, meet at family festivals, and help each other by pooling resources. A family fund would be used to support those who fell on hard times, or those who needed capital in order to develop special talents. In part this vision was based on Tönnies’s own experience of close and supportive family ties, both in his birth family and in the family he created by his marriage to Marie Sieck. His daughter Franziska Heberle paints a vivid picture of the latter in her “Erinnerungen an meine Mutter” (“Memories of my Mother”), and there is much information about the former in the biography by Uwe Carstens, Ferdinand Tönnies: Friese und Weltbürger (Ferdinand Tönnies: Frisian and Citizen of the World). This form of union was also based on a statutory instrument for a family association established in Frankfurt in 1888. A second form could unite unrelated families, and be devoted to a simpler and healthier way of life, to a more serious and sensible mode of social intercourse, and to an increase of understanding between masculine and feminine ways of thinking. Three to five families might choose to unite around such aims; at a later stage they might live together in a common dwelling or neighboring dwellings, they might engage in cooperative purchasing and even the common use of goods. Eventually, groups might unite with other groups in order to have greater economic and moral power (Tönnies 1893, 312). Tönnies’s discussion of the contrasted qualities of family and market society is by no means new or unique in German or indeed European thought. The fundamental ideas are paralleled in Hegel’s Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Elements of the Philosophy of Right) of 1821. Hegel thought that the unity of family life was a necessary corrective to the atomization of bürgerliche Gesellschaft (bourgeois or market society). Hegel the dialectician envisaged a threefold evolved system of human living together: emotional warmth and community in the family, individualistic freedom in market society, and a higher synthesis of unity and freedom in the nation-state. It is by no means clear how Tönnies’s

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vision of the future accords with Hegel’s scheme. Certainly he thought that the advance and probably the triumph of Gesellschaft was inevitable—with its positives of reason, science and freedom, and its negatives of selfishness, exploitation and cultural degradation. Did he pessimistically think that the best that could be hoped for was the preservation of traditional families as a haven, a refuge in a heartless capitalist world? Or did he optimistically hope that an enhancement of family ways and family ethos could transform Gesellschaft into something better, infusing it with a commitment to a common good? To propose a family in which selfishness is lacking, in which each member participates in and desires the well-being of all the others, in which there is a shared understanding and willing of a given way of life, is to construct a norm whose empirical validity needs to be questioned. Does it in any way correspond to observed reality? In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft Tönnies was explicitly writing about “relationships that are based on positive mutual affirmation” (Tönnies 2001, 17) and not on negative and conflictual ones. So it was perfectly consistent with his avowed plan to write not about all families, but solely about harmonious rather than dysfunctional ones. Nevertheless it may be wondered whether in real life calculating self-interest is ever entirely absent, even in harmonious families. It may be doubted whether the influence of market society is the necessary cause of an arrangement whereby the kids wash the dishes in return for their pocket money! Furthermore in his account of the basis of Gemeinschaft he uses as his illustration the family of husband and wife and the brothers and sisters who are their children. Anthropologists, historians and present-day social commentators know that this is by no means a universal family form, and so the question arises of whether his account of the genesis of community is ahistorical. Following on from that is the fundamental question highlighted in the introduction: if his description of the Gemeinschaft of the family is shown to be dubious, does that imply that the entire concept of Gemeinschaft is dubious, an attractive fiction with little grounding in reality? It can, however, be argued that this is not a serious or even a valid criticism. First, Tönnies explicitly makes clear that in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft he is concerned with conceptual models that are mutually exclusive as products of abstract thought, but that empirically observed reality is always more complex, more mixed: “The point of the strict distinction between these models is to make us aware of how empirical tendencies incline in one direction or the other” (Tönnies 2001, 140). So the theory would not be undermined if no family had ever existed anywhere as a perfect unity: all that is being proposed is that in families social relationships may be observed that are not solely selfishly individualistic and contractual. If there are instances, for example, of mothers loving their children more than life itself, then the theory has ground on which to stand. Second, the family is not his only cited instance of Gemeinschaft. “Unity of human wills and the possibility of community is in fact based first and foremost on close blood relationship and mixture of blood, then on spatial proximity, and finally, for human beings, on mental and spiritual closeness” (Tönnies 2001, 34). A community may be bound together by factors other than love. Shared habits, beliefs, aims and customs may fashion a oneness that prevails over individualism. Gemeinschaft may therefore be found in the village managing its common fields so as to maintain the life of the whole, in the craft guild in the town dedicated to shared standards of excellence, in the student



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fraternity—Tönnies was an enthusiastic member—(Carstens 2013, 49–50), in the trade union in the city aiming to advance all its members together, in the religious congregation committed to the implementation not of private wills but of the will of God, and in friendship. If my friend’s good is my good, if his or her happiness is happiness to me, there is Gemeinschaft. For from a philosophical point of view—and Tönnies, especially in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft was as much a philosopher as a sociologist—the aim was to explain that a Hobbesian or Mandevillian (or, we might now say, Ayn Randian) doctrine that human relationships are or should be at bottom selfish and contractual was no more than one highly abstract and oversimplified way of understanding them, whose limitations could be exposed by contrast with an opposite abstract model. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is the culminating and richest exploration of a contrast between modes of social relationship developed over more than a century by the Scottish historical school (for example, Adam Ferguson, John Millar), by poets and novelists (Goldsmith, Coleridge, Scott) and by German followers such as Schiller, Hegel and Marx.

Patriarchy and Feminism: The Case Against Tönnies employed certain conceptions of the mental and moral differences between men and women, current in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Germany in his elaboration of the contrasted forms of will, Wesenwille and Kürwille or Willkür. Wesenwille is the principle of Gemeinschaft, Kürwille of Gesellschaft. He uses gendered language to describe them, drawing on traditional analogies of feminine softness and warmth by contrast with masculine hardness: The fluid (flowing), soft and warm qualities are ascribed to the “feelings.” […] So it is easy to understand how a temperament, etc., in which the processes of [Wesenwille] predominate, can be described in this way as fluid, soft and warm; but if [Kürwille] prevails it will be described in the opposite terms—as dry, hard and cold. (Tönnies 2001, 142)

He thought that women at all times were more likely to be directed by Wesenwille, modern men, or rather educated or middle-class modern men, by Kürwille. Hence women are likely to be immersed in Gemeinschaft relationships, whereas Gesellschaft relationships are the province of men (or rather, of some men). Because Tönnies employs commonplace assumptions about the differing characters of men and women, it is easy to think that his theory is tainted by patriarchalism, utterly suspect from a feminist point of view. But his thinking about gender is complex and ambiguous. In what follows, Wesenwille will be translated and understood as essential will, Willkür or Kürwille as chosen or elective will. Use of the best translation is important when his ideas about gender are at issue, as will be explained later. Two big ideas, two fundamental antitheses, have traditionally structured Western thinking about the gender polarity. They have played a vital ideological role in maintaining the inequality of the sexes. One is the claim that “man” is rational, “woman” emotional. So progress and science are for men, and men are more fitted to rule. The other is

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the notion that women’s place is the private sphere of the home, while both that private sphere and the public realm of business and politics belong to men. A less obviously oppressive idea is that women are more moral than men: but oppressive nonetheless if women are expected to be moral, while men are indulged with a certain license to do what they want. This is especially apparent in the code of a sexual double standard. All of these themes can be found in Tönnies’s writings. The first thing that strikes us, in broad outlines, is the psychological contrast between the sexes. It is a stale cliché, but all the more important because it is dredged up out of general experience, that women are mostly led by their feelings, while men follow their reason. Men are more “prudent.” They alone have the capacity for calculation, cool (abstract) thought, deliberation, strategic thinking and logic. As a rule, women are not much good at these things. […] Now the role of the male is more active not only among human beings, but certainly among other mammals, and in all cases where the female has to devote a large part of her time and attention to her brood. (Tönnies 2001, 152)

Indeed a “stale cliché”; but characteristically there is some ambiguity here. Men “alone have the capacity,” but on the other hand this is a matter not of absolute incapacity on the part of women, but rather of “broad outlines,” “as a rule,” and “not much.” How to explain this gendered diversity in willing? Tönnies’s explanation combines biological and sociological themes. He subscribes to what is often referred to as the “man the hunter” theory (for a critique of this theory, see Slocum 1975). In early human societies women’s biology as the bearers and nurturers of children caused them to stay at home with those children, cleaning and cooking: men went out hunting, a task to which greater physical strength adapted them. Later, women continued to be based in the home, whereas men went out into the marketplace. Tönnies also employs a theory of a threefold hierarchy of forms of life, familiar in nineteenth-century thought—vegetative, animal and intellectual. Where humans are concerned, vegetative life is the realm of reproduction and growth, animal life of movement and activity: stay-at-home childrearing women are associated more with the vegetative, outward-going busy men with the animal. The sphere of life and work in the close-knit community is especially suitable for women, even essential for them. The natural place for their activity is the home and not the market-place, their own or a friend’s living-room and not the street. (Tönnies 2001, 165)

Now for the sociological input: men’s activities, as hunters, warriors and merchants developed their powers of observation and of strategic, calculating thought, necessary for the development of science, technology and governance: and the merchant, the carrier of elective will, because he had stood back from organic and traditional activity in order to reflect, was “the first reflective and free human being to appear in the normal development of social life” (Tönnies 2001, 68). Emotional woman is rooted and immersed in the traditional way of life and patterns of thought of Gemeinschaft, including received conceptions of morality. She has a moral conscience, and if she acts in violation of it, she feels shame. By contrast, the enlightened modern man of Kürwille, his way of thinking formed by science with its canons



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of evidence and logic, can free himself from tradition. He does not feel moral shame because the criterion by which he judges his actions is the technical or prudential one of whether they have been successful, success meaning the attainment of money and power. As Tönnies expresses it, instead of conscience he has consciousness. He will be a supremely cultivated, wise and enlightened being, in whom nobility, cultivation and power of thought have attained the highest unfolding and most delicate flower. Only such a paragon could totally and radically annihilate conscience within himself, and repudiate the beliefs of his forefathers and his people, because he had come to understand their underlying principles. Such a man will know how to set about replacing those principles with better-founded, free and scientific opinions about what—for himself and maybe for any other rational being—is right and permissible or forbidden and false. (Tönnies 2001, 161)

This passage is an instance of Tönnies’s evaluative detachment or ambivalence. He uses epithets in his description of the man governed by elective will that indisputably carry a positive evaluation: yet this positive evaluation has a dark side in the notion that such a man has annihilated conscience within himself. For without conscience and shame, how could such a man be trusted to follow the right and permissible, rather than the forbidden and false, if he could get away with it? But to return to the gender contrast, scientific thinking, then, is masculine. By contrast, imagination and artistic creativity are feminine. The elective will of the man is a planning will, oriented toward chosen future goals. By contrast the essential will of the woman is rooted in tradition and in immediacy of everyday life, with an emotional and sensitive response to experience. Upon these qualities is based the fertility of mind and imagination which, through “taste,” discrimination and delicacy of feeling, becomes artistic creativity. […] the finest part, the inner core of genius, is usually an inheritance from the mother. (Tönnies 2001, 156)

So genius is feminine: but not necessarily or even primarily female, to be found in women: “masculine strength and cleverness have generally been required to create great works” (Tönnies 2001, 156). “Genius [is] […] rooted in the female nature but fulfilled in the male” (Tönnies 2001, 158). Tönnies’s description of genius provides a revealing account of his perception of feminine qualities: The person of genius retains a nature that is feminine in many respects: simple and open, soft, tender-hearted, lively, volatile in emotions and moods, merry or melancholy, dreamy and fanciful, living as if in a constant state of ecstasy, believing and trusting in people and things— and for those very reasons disorganised, often even blind and foolish, in trivial as well as in serious matters. To “real” men with their dry business-like seriousness, a “free spirit” may seem quite clueless, stupid or silly, foolish, even insane, like a drunk at a temperance gathering. The behaviour and nature of a typical woman looks very much like this to such men, if their judgement is candid: they do not understand it, it strikes them as absurd. (Tönnies 2001, 156)

This passage reveals Tönnies at his least objective and scientific, imprisoned in ancient and fundamentally worthless narratives and conceptions both of artistic genius and of

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femininity. It could serve as a perfect summary of how Mozart was described in a succession of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century biographies (Stafford 1991, 144–76). It is by no means an isolated instance. Men are drawn toward scientific explanations, women toward magical ones (Tönnies 1931b, 37–8, 262). Women are more influenced than men by superficial appearances, having a liking for military uniforms. Like effeminate dandies among men they are more likely to be slaves of fashion (Tönnies 1931b, 170; 1909, 48, 77; 1893, 311). Children and young people have not yet developed elective will, and live their lives under the impulsion of essential will: are simple and guileless, living in the present, creatures of nature and the domestic hearth. This theme closely resembles Schiller’s classic argument in his Über naïve und sentimentalische Dichtung, reminding us that Tönnies published a work on Schiller in 1905. Therefore “Women and children belong together because they have the same mentality and understand each other easily” (Tönnies 2001, 158). One final remark in this indictment: Tönnies never recognizes the possibility that gender difference might be an ideological construction, a technology of power and control, culturally produced in order to preserve a division of labor beneficial to men.

Patriarchy and Feminism: The Defense Tönnies was a progressive man of the left. He admired and was influenced by the thought of Karl Marx. Early in his academic career he wrote in support of the striking Hamburg dockworkers, and as a result his career was held back by the agents of a conservative government. Toward the end of his life, when the Nazis took power, he joined the Social Democrats, Europe’s largest Marxist movement—and as a consequence was deprived of both his professorship and his pension. Despite his nostalgia for Gemeinschaft and awareness of the destructive aspects of Gesellschaft, he was committed to science and enlightenment. Yet the evidence cited in the preceding paragraphs has led to the charge that he was a backward-looking patriarchalist where women were concerned, a man imprisoned in conventional and repressive ideas of gender. The context is relevant here. Nineteenthcentury Germany has often been thought to be the home of attitudes more patriarchal than those found in contemporary Britain or America (Boak 1981, 166). German philosophers such as Hegel, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche were notoriously misogynist, and Tönnies was certainly influenced by the latter two. In most German states the law prevented women from belonging to political parties before 1908. Women received the franchise in 1918, and the constitution of 1919 asserted equal rights. But the civil code of 1900, which subordinated women to their husbands, remained in force; key equal rights were not gained until 1956. His own home life was traditional. In 1894 he married a woman 10 years younger than himself, Marie Sieck, who did not have an education enabling her to be his intellectual companion. Throughout her married life she was a Hausfrau, completely devoted to the care and nurture of her husband and five children. It must be said that this role was not forced on her: her daughter tells that she found her identity and sense of worth in it. Meanwhile Tönnies was often away from home, leading a homosocial existence at conferences and visiting libraries and fellow (male) academics. When at home he was mostly at work in his study (Heberle 2001, 38). He took holidays without



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his family, and Marie Tönnies complained about this (Carstens 2013, 183–4). The family did not holiday together until 1909, and the first and only time that Marie Tönnies accompanied her husband abroad was to a conference in Italy in 1924. In spite of their wishes, he doubted whether his daughters needed as much education as his sons. His eldest daughter, Franziska, wrote that “As the second child I contended with difficulty to be allowed to go to school beyond the completion of my fourteenth year of age, which Papa thought unnecessary” (Heberle 2001, 17). Later she acted as his secretary, and he was not happy when she decided to train as a social worker: but her mother supported her, and she got her way (Carstens 2013, 226). Marie Tönnies gave similar support to the younger daughter, Carola. According to Franziska, Tönnies expected Carola to marry, and thought she could best prepare for that by helping her parents. Perhaps he took his own sisters as a model, but it was a bad one, as both ended up in a situation where it would have been better if they could have been self-supporting. “Mother saw this much more clearly, and from the standpoint of a dependent woman” (Heberle 2001, 48). From the point of view of European equality feminism, the feminism, for instance, of Mary Wollstonecraft or Simone de Beauvoir, a feminism arguing that men and women are essentially equal and the same mentally and morally, and that both genders should operate in the public as well as the private sphere, his thought about gender, and the practice of his family life, both merit severe criticism. Can anything be said in his defense? In the first place it is important to remark that alongside feminism proposing equality-in-sameness between the sexes, there has also been feminism proposing equalityin-difference (or even that ways women are different make them superior). Wollstonecraft and Beauvoir argued that women should be more like men: others have argued that men should be more like women. Without going that far, many women’s campaigners argued for enhanced rights deserved because of women’s contribution as carers and nurturers. In this way, leading German women’s campaigners of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as Luise Otto-Peters, Clara Zetkin and Lily Braun took gender differences for granted and indeed celebrated them (Evans 1976, 26; Quataert 1979, 90, 105, 137). The German women’s movement, in both its middle-class and socialist wings, defended marriage and idealized motherhood. All of the Weimar parties that were progressive on women’s issues—the communist KPD, the socialist SPD and USPD, the left liberal DDP—took the difference of women for granted and therefore expected a gendered distinction in the social and political contributions of men and women. German feminists were late in realizing the dangers of such expectations (Sneeringer 2002, 16, 28, 53, 63, 67, 276). Just how unprogressive German political culture was on women’s issues is revealed by the fact that when in 1932 a law was proposed dismissing married female civil servants if their husbands could support them, only the communists voted against it. The SPD voted for the law, and the (now renamed) DDP abstained. German bourgeois feminism was by no means radical: but as the Weimar Republic drew toward its end, young women increasingly rejected its emphasis on individual rights as they became caught up in the idea of Volksgemeinschaft (Harvey 1995, 19, 23). Before judging Tönnies as a reactionary or a progressive, as a patriarchalist or woman-friendly, this context has to be recognized: the appropriate standard for measuring him should be drawn from his

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own time and place as well as ours. Also attention should be paid to his stance on specific issues affecting women. However reactionary Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft may appear now, subsequently, in practical matters, Tönnies adopted a more progressive stance. There can be no doubting that his strongest political commitment was to workers’ movements and to socialism; among his academic works this comes out especially clearly in the late Einführung in die Soziologie. References to women’s rights are much more thinly spread in his publications. He never entirely relinquished a belief in the doctrine of separate spheres. But before the First World War he advocated political rights for women, both the right to vote and the right to be elected; nevertheless he thought that in the realm of politics, women would continue to be subordinate to men (Tönnies 1955, 466; 1907, 147). This was in part because he thought that politics was an extension of war, war by other means: in part because he thought that the state, as opposed to the Volk, was a Gesellschaft, and Gesellschaft is masculine. He called on women to become active in local government, although the sphere he normally had in mind for them was that of traditional womanly concern, namely the strengthening of family life by means of such measures as better housing, maternity benefits and shorter hours of work for women and children (Tönnies 1893, 310). His stance echoed a standard pre–First World War debate. Antifeminists argued that men alone should vote because men alone performed the duty of military service: feminists replied that women earned suffrage by other duties such as welfare work (Evans 1976, 8–9; Quataert 1979, 23). Even in the sphere of social work and welfare, however, he thought that women should be ready to learn from men, that is to say from scientific sociologists like himself, about the causes of social evils (Tönnies 1893, 311). For if the spirit and ethic of care stems from feminine essential will, science is a product of masculine elective will. “Nach Freiheit strebt der Mann, das Weib nach Sitte”—“Man strives for freedom, woman for custom/morality”—he quoted these words of Goethe in 1909 only to disagree with them. Modern women are perhaps even more interested in freedom than men (Tönnies 1909, 44). He praised male feminists J. S. Mill and August Bebel as advocates of women’s rights in 1895 (Tönnies 1895, 27) and agreed with the latter that all women must find their vocation in work, must enter into industry and join in the workers’ struggle for emancipation. In 1907 he signaled his support for the campaign of the women’s movement against state-regulated prostitution, a campaign that mirrored that in Britain against the Contagious Diseases Acts (Tönnies 1907, 147). In the 1930s, in words that could have come from J. S. Mill, he contended that the subordination and dependence of women on men could no longer be justified (Tönnies 1959, 129). He welcomed the women of the Deutsche Akademie für soziale und pädagogische Frauenarbeit into the ranks of social science, and called for state funding of their academic activities (Tönnies 1932, 826–7). He enthused over Life as We have Known It, the history of the Women’s Co-operative Guild, which its author, Mrs. Layton, had sent to him, commending its little biographies of politically active and independent women—although it must be said that, like the German women academics mentioned earlier in this chapter, their activities focused on traditional women’s concerns, such as maternity and childcare (Tönnies



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1931a). All of this suggests that on the woman question he was not as distant from progressive tendencies of his time and place as some have argued. Finally it is worth remarking that, as his daughter remembered, his own marriage became closer and more companionate over time. Significantly, Marie Tönnies joined the Social Democrats with him when the Nazis came to power; and she fully supported his resolve not to eat humble pie in an attempt to get his pension and title restored.

Patriarchy and Feminism: Ambiguity Despite the salience of gender conceptions in Tönnies’s thought, and especially in the theory of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, it cannot be said that his doctrine is perfectly clear. There is ambiguity, or ambivalence, or even confusion or contradiction. This generates an openness in the text, and the possibility of apprehending its meaning in more than one way. To a greater or lesser extent this is true of all rich and complex works of theory and indeed of imaginative literature. A single correct reading cannot be nailed down by appealing to “what Tönnies really meant” because meaning and authorial intention are not identical, and it is by no means certain, when difficult theoretical questions are at issue, that the implications and shades of meaning of an author’s text are perfectly transparent even to him- or herself. Consequently reading a great text cannot be a merely passive process, and especially is this the case when Tönnies confronts a central issue in gender theory: to what extent is performed gender determined by biological sex? His theory is pulled in two different directions by mobilizing both biological explanations, which tend to identify male with masculine, and female with feminine, and sociological explanations that tend to distinguish sex and gender. Apart from the physical differences—difference in strength and differing reproductive and nurturing roles—the essence of the gender difference for Tönnies lies in the forms of willing. Femininity is characterized by the predominance of essential will, masculinity by elective will. But he did not think that either essential or elective will existed in pure, unmixed form. Ideas about forms and processes of will are in themselves nothing more than constructs of the mind; they are tools to help us understand reality. […] We can also consider these concepts empirically […] Observation and reflection will soon suggest that in practice no Wesenwille can occur without Kürwille, through which it is expressed, and that no Kürwille can exist without Wesenwille, in which it is deeply grounded. The point of the strict distinction between these models is to make us aware of how empirical tendencies incline in one direction or the other. (Tönnies 2001, 140)

This surely implies that the gender polarity is not a fixed and absolute one, as Tönnies concedes in a strangely ambivalent sentence: “The contrast between the sexes is a rigid and inflexible [beharrender—might be translated as ‘persistent’] one, and for that very reason actual examples are rarely found in an unalloyed form” (Tönnies 2001, 160). It is perfectly clear that he did not think there was a strict correlation between male sex and masculinity in the sense of direction by elective will. His argument that artistic

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creativity and genius are rooted in essential will and a fundamentally feminine component has already been noted. More: the young man is governed mainly by essential will, whereas elective will develops with age and maturity. And whether it develops or depends on the conditions of life. Educated men tend toward elective will, men of the common people toward essential will. The mode of life of the merchant or capitalist favors or even requires elective will, for the merchant is the paradigm Gesellschaft man: but the common people are still rooted in Gemeinschaft; they build cooperatives and trade unions, exhibit mutual affirmation and solidarity, and essential will remains strong in them. So masculinity as Kürwille is not an absolute, and in a mirror image, neither is femininity as Wesenwille: In most respects we find the same relation between youth and age as between male and female beings. The youthful woman is the “real” woman; the elderly woman becomes more like a man. And the young man still has much that is female in his nature; the mature, older man is the “real” man. (Tönnies 2001, 158)

This is a crucially revealing passage. Tönnies here tries to have it both ways, combining a sociological and environmental understanding of gender as produced by conditions of life, with an essentialist biological one. On one hand he is with Karl Marx and J. S. Mill: on the other with Schopenhauer and Darwin. But the essentialism—the references to the “real woman” and the “true man”—stands here as prejudices unsupported by convincing evidence or argument. Nevertheless he persists in this ambivalence. Even in the Gemeinschaft-like medieval town, the rare woman who engages in trade acquires elective will and therefore a somewhat masculine nature. In the modern city, where many women leave the home to go out to work, this is even more the case: Trade first and then industrial employment have recruited woman into the struggle for basic survival. It is evident that the freedom and independence acquired by the woman worker as a party to contracts and as a possessor of money have demanded and encouraged a development of her consciousness so that she has to think in a thoroughly calculating manner. Woman becomes enlightened, cold-hearted, self-conscious. Nothing is more alien and terrible to her basic nature which, despite all the process of continually acquired modifications, is inborn. (Tönnies 2001, 170)

Here again is that characteristic ambivalence: environment transforms gender characteristics, but gender characteristics are inborn and part of basic nature. Industrial progress gives women freedom and independence, but this is terrible to them and denaturing. These ambiguities and contradictions cannot be understood, unless they are approached in the context of an awareness that when he comes to evaluate Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, essential will and elective will, here too Tönnies is ambivalent, of a divided mind.

Crucial Issues of Translation This can be illustrated by considering an essential question this chapter has avoided until now: how should his key terms be translated? They have been translated in different



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ways, ways not without impact on how his thought, including his thought about gender, is likely to be understood by English-speaking readers. A classic translation of them is as natural and rational will. This is seriously misleading. First, in English thought there is a familiar antithesis between nature and culture. To translate Wesenwille as natural will and to associate it with women can convey the impression that women, being closer to nature, are less shaped by culture. But as already remarked, Tönnies thought that culture was nurtured by Gemeinschaft whose principle is Wesenwille, and undermined by Gesellschaft whose principle is Kürwille. In this respect Tönnies was at odds with contemporary sociologists who contrasted “natural” women with “cultured” men (Sydie 1987, ix). A quite different antithesis was commonplace in German thought, between Kultur and Zivilisation, the latter being associated with bürgerliche Gesellschaft. In the early twentieth century this antithesis played a part in German nationalist doctrine. Zivilisation, superficial and atomistic, was thought to be characteristic of Germany’s rivals, Britain and France. By contrast, Germany still had Kultur, more profound, moral and communitarian. Second, to translate them as natural and rational will implies that Wesenwille, and therefore women in general, are not rational. But this is to oversimplify. Tönnies thought that essential will was rational, but in a different way from elective will (Samples 1987). He takes from Kant and post-Kantian philosophy a distinction between two forms of reason, Vernunft and Verstand. Vernunft is characteristic of Gemeinschaft, Verstand of Gesellschaft. Verstand is instrumental, calculating rationality, the faculty that adapts means to ends without addressing the validity of those ends, an amoral form of reason. There was a tendency in post-Kantian philosophy to regard Vernunft as a higher, moral form of reason, precisely because Vernunft did address and seek to discover ends. In connection with this it is vital to keep in mind that Tönnies is not arguing that women are completely irrational; rather he thinks that whereas some men can reason dispassionately, generally for women reason is inextricably intertwined with emotion and ethos. Willkür or Kürwille has also been translated as arbitrary will. This avoids the misleading suggestions just noticed, but perhaps will not quite do. In English language discourse, arbitrary carries negative connotations: it signifies the mode of behavior of tyrants, and this is not what Tönnies means, in spite of the fact that Willkür has that connotation in German too. So the following translations and understandings are proposed here, as accurately reflecting what Tönnies intended: they have been substituted in quotations. Wesenwille translates literally as essential will, and Kürwille is best rendered as chosen or elective will.

His Value Judgments Nowhere is ambivalence more in evidence than in relation to his preferences and evaluations, of Gemeinschaft and essential will versus Gesellschaft and chosen will, as previous sections of this chapter have indicated. Given that the illustration of these his normal concepts is gendered through and through, it follows that his evaluation of masculinity versus femininity is by no means easy to pin down. This section will present the evidence for contending that in fact he comes close to “difference feminism,” to a high evaluation

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of “feminine” qualities and indeed to an insistence that it would be good if society, and men too, were more “feminine.” As already remarked, although he intimates that masculine strength and vigor may play an important part in aesthetic creativity, nevertheless he insists that sensual receptivity, imagination and artistic genius stem from essential will and are inherited from the maternal side. Creativity versus science and technical rationality: he extends this thesis into a contrast between two kinds of labor. Craft-like labor, which the worker enjoys and finds fulfilling, and which offers opportunities for self-expression, is pitted against the repetitive, mechanical, mind-and-spirit numbing labor of modern capitalist industry. The former offers pleasure as well as an end product: the latter is a painful necessary means to the end product. Marx propounded this argument in his discussions of alienated labor, as did British craft designer and socialist William Morris. Tönnies genders this distinction, which Marx and Morris do not: But some kinds [of work] are more prone than others to be regarded merely as means to an end, especially when the work involves pain and suffering, as with heavy, masculine work rather than the lighter female kind. […] All art intrinsically belongs, like rural and domestic pursuits, to the realm of warm, fruitful, instinctive activity of a vital and organic kind, which thus comes naturally to women and consequently to the life of Gemeinschaft. The Community, as far as possible, turns all disagreeable work into a kind of art form in tune with its own nature, giving it style, dignity and charm. (Tönnies 2001, 168)

Where evaluating the alleged gender difference is concerned, Tönnies’s 1897 little book on Nietzsche is revealing. He makes explicit what is for the most part only implicit in Nietzsche’s texts, namely the fact that the latter’s theory of morality is deeply gendered. The master morality Nietzsche advocates is at once aristocratic and masculine (Tönnies 1897, 74). Christian morality, herd morality, the morality of the slaves that Nietzsche despises, is feminine. To a limited extent, Tönnies agrees with Nietzsche. He accepts that there is an ethic of cooperation that is feminine, and ethics of justice and knightly courage that are masculine (ibid., 40, 96–7). He agrees too that the masculine spirit must protect itself against the excesses of the feminine, and that masculine virtue and vigor ought to be preserved (ibid., 36, 90–1, 99–100). He also remarks that the masculinization of women and the feminization of men are characteristic of a decaying social order (ibid., 73). All of this implies that Tönnies is not advocating an androgyny that extinguishes masculinity and femininity. But here his agreement with Nietzsche stops. He thinks that Nietzsche’s fears for the decline of masculinity in the modern world are greatly exaggerated. The bellicose state of Europe makes rich provision for the development of soldierly virtues; and even if an epoch of peace ensues, the growing enthusiasm for sport militates against enfeeblement (ibid., 99–100). If feminine compassion has become exceptionally strong, this is necessary to counterbalance the individualism of calculating rationalism and of capitalism (ibid., 93–4). Tönnies, it becomes clear, detests the “abysmal vileness” of Nietzschean brutalism and the superman, which he associates with Prussian militarism and social Darwinism (ibid., 107–8). The moral influence of women—and women especially sit in



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the moral judgment seat—has been an excellent thing (ibid., 98–9). What is needed is an ethic, grounded in custom and the common people, that fuses together masculine justice and feminine kindness (ibid., 95–6). For he believes that women have a crucial part to play in mitigating the deleterious effects of Gesellschaft. The feminine spirit […] rebels against the hatefulness and the discord of commercial civilization, against prosaic business and the emptiness of social life, against barrack-like buildings, against mass-produced furnishings, against the tastelessness of factory goods, against the tasteless mixing of every style; against the rush and clamour of daily life, which gobbles up all thoughtful contemplation and thoughtful work; it rebels against the subjection of art under the yoke of profit, against the corruption of literature, against the caricature of advertising which shamelessly sullies everything. (Tönnies 1895, 26) The organized and planned work of thinking and morally sensitive women will be able to arrest if not heal this grave process of disease. […] Everywhere must the world of men come to recognize that increasingly it is inappropriate to stand in the way of the world of women, and that womanly activity, and womanly idealism, will not only be able to offer co-operation and help in the great tasks which contemporary social life throws up, but will also be able to make its own free steps in the direction of truth and morality. (Tönnies 1907, 147–8)

The second of these paragraphs is explicitly concerned with the role of women: but the first refers to the “feminine spirit.” There are good grounds for thinking that he expected the feminine spirit to be active also in men. He called for enhanced understanding between masculine and feminine modes of thought. Men who are artists, creative geniuses, are so because they are partly feminine in nature. Politically he was aligned with the workers’ movement, the Social Democrats, and he thought that the common people, by contrast with capitalists and educated persons, were governed more by “feminine” essential will. In his desire for an increase in the power of the feminine principle, he referred approvingly to the Saint-Simonians, who had argued for a future in which men would be more feminine and women more masculine (Tönnies 1895, 27). For Tönnies, “feminine” and “masculine” occupy the whole terrain of human being; implicitly there is no space left for an ungendered humanity. Hence his desired synthesis is not a transcending of gender, but a combining of the two poles. In his view humanity cannot thrive without the community spirit, the warmth and creativity of Gemeinschaft and essential will. Nor can it afford to forfeit the freedom, the consciousness and the enlightenment of Gesellschaft and of elective will. Here again it is necessary to end with a note of caution. The Saint-Simonians, like Marx, were confident that what they envisaged as a better future was inevitable. Tönnies had no such confidence (Tönnies 1909, 88). He was torn between optimism and pessimism. At times he hoped for a higher Gemeinschaft, a socialist future, with a world-state and rational economic planning, coupled with the proliferation of communal and cooperative groups. At other times he resembled Schopenhauer or Spengler in his pessimism, thinking that the development of arbitrary will, of reason, calculation and cool detachment, was inevitable: but that in the end it would lead to an undermining of the lifedriving force of essential will, to exhaustion, incapacity and collapse.

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Conclusion Despite his celebrations of femininity, the equality feminist is likely to remain unconvinced. She will argue that it is very nice to say that women are different from men and better: but still that insistence on difference in practice sustains control and exclusion. Control is exercised by pressurizing women, in countless subtle and not-so-subtle ways, to conform to a gendered stereotype. Then follows exclusion: gender difference implies division of labor in accordance with supposed natural characteristics, a division greatly to the benefit of men. The previous section has argued against this critique; but if for the moment it is accepted, does this do serious damage to Tönnies’s theory, requiring us to judge it as outdated, invalidated by what a century of progress has told us about the capacities of women? The answer to this question is no. Traditional gender conceptions are employed to illustrate the differences between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, essential will and chosen will. They will have been illuminating and helpful to many readers, and in all probability offensive to very few before the 1960s. Take them out, and other illustrations remain: between the young and the old, between the highly educated and the less educated, between traditional and modern societies, between artists and scientists. Tönnies’s key contrasts remain valid at a deeper level, and more pervasively, than the terrain of any particular illustrative examples. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, the work that is the foundation of his enduring fame, remains the richest and profoundest exploration of fundamentally important contrasted conceptions of modes of society and selfhood, conceptions with a prehistory in European thought going back to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, conceptions that are, or should be, crucial to our own self-understanding today. The present-day reader is likely to find the book revelatory in understanding his or her own modes of being, and the social relationships into which he or she enters. To conclude with an idea mooted earlier in this chapter. Ambiguity and ambivalence run through Tönnies’s theory. For this reason, it cannot definitively be said, on a number of central issues, “what Tönnies really meant.” This opens the possibility of alternative understandings of the meaning of his insights and arguments. Reading is always an active process, an interchange between text and reader, and the complexity and ambivalence of Tönnies’s thought necessitate this active engagement to a high degree. By concentrating on certain passages a very strong case can be made for regarding him as a stale, unreconstructed, old-fashioned patriarchalist. Another, careful reading, considering the nuances of his statements and the range of his thought can present him as a more progressive and interesting thinker about gender issues.

Note My thanks are due to Niall Bond for sending me a prepublication copy of his Understanding Ferdinand Tönnies’ Community and Society, to which I am indebted for a number of insights even though our judgments of Tönnies’s gender theory are not in complete accord; to Professor Elizabeth Harvey for advice about the history of Weimar Germany; and to Uwe Carstens for his generous assistance. Quotations from Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft are taken from the Jose Harris translation. But I have standardized and therefore on occasion changed the terms used to refer to the two forms of will,



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employing either the German terms Wesenwille and Kürwille, or my preferred English translations of “essential will” and “elective” or “chosen” will.

References Boak, H. L. 1981, “Women in Weimar Germany: The ‘Frauenfrage’ and the Female Vote.” In Social Change and Political Development in Weimar Germany. Edited by Richard Bessell and E. J. Feuchtwanger. London: Croom Helm. Bond, Niall 2007, “Sexus und Tönnies.” Trajectoires. Paris, CIERA 2007: http://trajectoires.revues. org/105. Carstens, Uwe 2013, Ferdinand Tönnies: Friese und Weltbürger. Bräist/Bredstedt: Verlag Nordfriisk Institut. Evans, R. J. 1976, The Feminist Movement in Germany 1894–1933. London: Sage Publications. Greven, M. T. 1991, “Geschlechterpolarität und Theorie der Weiblichkeit in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft von Tönnies.” In Hundert Jahre “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft” Ferdinand Tönnies in der internationalen Diskussion. Edited by L. Clausen and C. Schlüter. Opladen. Harvey, E. R. 1995, “The Failure of Feminism? Young Women and the Bourgeois Feminist Movement in Weimar Germany 1918–1933.” Central European History. Vol. 28, Issue 1. 1–28. Heberle, Franziska 2001, “Erinnerungen an meine Mutter.” Tönnies-Forum. Vol. 1:2001. 15–60. Meurer, B. 1991, “Die Frau in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” In Hundert Jahre “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft” Ferdinand Tönnies in der internationalen Diskussion. Edited by L. Clausen and C. Schlüter. Opladen. Quataert, J. H. 1979, Reluctant Feminists in German Social Democracy, 1885–1917. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Samples, John 1987, “Kant, Tönnies and the Liberal Idea of Community in Early German Sociology.” History of Political Thought. Vol. 8, Issue 2. 245–62. Slocum, S. 1975, “Woman the Gatherer: Male Bias in Anthropology.” In Toward an Anthropology of Women. Edited by R.R. Reiter, 36–50. New York, Monthly Review Press. Sneeringer, J. 2002, Winning Women’s Votes. Propaganda and Politics in Weimar Germany. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Stafford, William. 1991, Mozart Myths and Legends. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Sydie, R. A. 1987, Natural Women, Cultured Men: A Feminist Perspective on Sociological Theory. Milton Keynes: Open University Press. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1893, “Fünfzehn Thesen zur Erneuerung des Familienlebens.” Ethische Kultur. Vol. 1. 302–4, 310–12. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1895, “Die sittliche Bestimmung der Frau.” Ethische Kultur. Vol. 3, Issue 4. 25–7. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1897, Der Nietzsche-Kultus. Eine Kritik. Leipzig: Reisland. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1907, Die Entwicklung der sozialen Frage. Leipzig: Göschen. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1909, Die Sitte. Frankfurt am Main: Rütten und Loening. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1926, Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, Zweite Sammlung. Jena: Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931a, “Die britische Frauengenossenschaftsgilde.” Konsumgenossenschaftliche Rundschau. Vol. 28, Issue 47. 907–8. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1931b, Einführung in die Soziologie. Stuttgart: Enke. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1932, “Das soziale Leben der Familie.” Soziale Praxis. Vol. 41, Issue 27. 822 8. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1955, “Die Entstehung meiner Begriffe Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Socialpsychologie. Vol. 7. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1959, “Die moderne Familie.” Handwörterbuch der Soziologie. Edited by A. Vierkandt. Stuttgart, Enke (reprint of original edition of 1931). Tönnies, Ferdinand 2001 Community and Civil Society (translation of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft). Edited by Jose Harris. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter Eight The Power and Value of Public Opinion as a Form of Societal Will Slavko Splichal

This chapter is aimed at “rehabilitation” of Ferdinand Tönnies’s largely forgotten comprehensive efforts to conceptualize public opinion as a complex form of social will—as a “common way of thought, the corporate spirit of any group or association, in so far as its opinion formation is built upon reasoning and knowledge, rather than on unproved impressions, beliefs, or authority” (Tönnies 1922, 78).1 Tönnies’s critical theory of public opinion is an attempt to integrate the ideas of rationality, discursivity and morality of public opinion postulated by normative-philosophical and early psychological approaches to public opinion. It represents one of the most significant classical, social-theoretical contributions to the field, and a unique effort to make public opinion an integral part of a complex and refined general social theory. His approach stands in sharp contrast to the social-psychological tradition that developed since the 1930s and completely abandons the idea of a specific unity and collectivity in which public opinion is formed and expressed. During the 1920s, when Tönnies’s Kritik der öffentlichen Meinung appeared, several grand theoreticians published their ideas on public opinion—among them Wilhelm Bauer and Carl Schmitt in Germany; Walter Lippmann and John Dewey in the United States; and, 20 years earlier, Gabriel Tarde in France, to mention just the most prominent ones—­ representing the greatest concentration of the most diverse (re)conceptualizations of public opinion. It was also the period of the grandiose advent of empirical social research, when random sampling, attitude scales and interview response data gathering made the development of public opinion polling possible. After that period, issues of empirical analysis dominated public opinion research, while theoretical endeavors were marginalized for the next 50 years until the publication of Jürgen Habermas’s Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit in English in 1989, almost 30 years after its German publication. Of course, reconceptualizations of public opinion do not occur by chance. They reflect specific theoretical assumptions and propositions, and address specific social (political, economic, cultural) realities of the time. Tönnies conceived his theory of public opinion in the most puzzling stage of a rather short intellectual history of public opinion. It was characterized by a significant shift from earlier normative-political and critical-philosophical theories toward psychological and sociological conceptualizations

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of public opinion. Social-psychological reconceptualization of public opinion, in particular, followed the newly emerging communication practices stimulated by industrialization and commercialization of the press and, most importantly, the emergence of radio. The nineteenth century was a period of remarkable growth of the newspaper industry; Tönnies wrote his book on public opinion just before the end of the golden age of the press. In just 20 years, from 1890 to 1909, the number of daily newspapers in Germany increased from 94 to 278 (Tönnies 1922, 176). He considered the press “an organ of public opinion” (but not the only one) and one of the greatest powers in social and political life; consequently, he argued that “since more than [one] hundred years, […] the public is almost exclusively the newspaper-reading public” (Tönnies 1922, 84). Soon after his book was published, however, the (daily) press started to suffer under commercial pressures and competition with radio, which was becoming an ever more important alternative source of news and entertainment after the late 1920s. Despite an occasionally fuzzy systematic, a nearly encyclopedic quality of Tönnies’s work with extensive discussion of etymology and genealogy of public opinion and related concepts is invaluable not only in terms of an in-depth understanding of this complex and dynamic social (and political) phenomenon but also in terms of its potential for the development of a synoptic taxonomy of theories and concepts focused on public opinion. Unfortunately, his work remained largely neglected, if not completely forgotten, both in Germany and abroad. His Kritik der öffentlichen Meinung (1922) was never translated in any other language except Slovene.2 Soon after Tönnies’s death in 1936, Paul A. Palmer praised the book to the skies as “the most comprehensive analysis of public opinion phenomena which has appeared in any language” (1938, 584). Much later, in contrast, Habermas belittlingly reduced Tönnies’s contribution to the theory of public opinion by saying he only “had summarized the studies of the older German sociology on the topic [of public opinion]” (Habermas 1962/1991, 288), which is the only reference to Tönnies’s work in his famed Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society—Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit. All in all, it is difficult to explain why Tönnies’s theory of public opinion remains largely neglected—despite the fact that his social theory is considered one of the foundations of sociology, he is recognized as one of the founding fathers of modern sociology; and public opinion research (with diverse approaches to surveys and polls) advanced faster than any other field of social sciences in the twentieth century. Conversely, a broader and deeper acquaintance with his work could help to solve many conceptual problems that have made the field of public opinion so perplexing for at least the past 100 years. As Robert C. Binkley reported, American political scientists could not come to a definite conclusion about what is public opinion (1928, 389). They disagreed on: “1. whether there is and must of necessity be a single public opinion, or whether there may be a number of public opinions upon a given question; 2. whether opinion is public because of the subject matter to which it relates or the kind of persons who hold it; 3. what part of the public must concur in an opinion to make it public; 4. and must there be acquiescence by those who do not concur” (Binkley 1928, 389). The controversies only worsened in the years that followed.



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For example, in Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann’s widely promoted “spiral of silence” theory, public opinion is conceived of as exclusively a hegemonic form of social control (1974, 1980/1993). Although Noelle-Neumann argues that the process of “spiral of silence” only appears “in what [Tönnies has called] the fluid state of public opinion” (Noelle-Neumann 1980/1984, 63), that is, at a lower level of opinion formation and expression, her “reconceptualization” crippled the noble idea(l) of public opinion as a form of democratic formation of social will. Or, taking another example: When Daniel Yankelovich uses the concept of “public judgment”—with no reference to Tönnies—as separated from “mass opinion,” in the sense of the ultimate, coherent public voice, as “good-quality public opinion in the sense of opinion that is stable, consistent, and responsible” (Yankelovich 1991, 42), he tears down the historical bridge Tönnies constructed between religion and public opinion, which is becoming characteristic of many (political) cultures of the twenty-first century. All misreadings and neglectings notwithstanding, Tönnies’s theory is one of the most remarkable—but also among the last, along with the theories of Gabriel Tarde and John Dewey—“substantive” conceptualizations of public opinion, in contrast to what Francis G. Wilson (1962) named “adjective theories.” The substantive (normative) theories stress a tight, authoritative singleness of “the public” in pursuit of a universal collective subject or a privileged arena of will formation and expression. In contrast, adjective theories refer to a more relaxed, decentered pluralism, conceiving of publicness as something liberally spread through many irreducibly different collectivities and practices, and using the concept “public” as correlative to opinion—as an adjective to define the specific quality of opinion rather than its substance. The shift from substantive toward adjective theories, which became prevalent after the late 1920s, indicated the loss of (the hope for) a rational-critical nature of public opinion. Instead, the question of social control became one of the central issues in psychological and sociological theories of public opinion.

Philosophical Roots: Hegel and Kant Since its very early uses, the term public opinion indicates a contradictory nature of the idea that brings together two dissociative concepts, “public” and “opinion.” The concept of “opinion” implies unity (the opinion), while its specific characterization (“public”) denotes many individuals and, thus, opinions. Public implies, or refers to, the universal, objective and rational; and opinion to the individual, subjective and unstable. The concept “public” has the opposite sign than opinion: it implies the presence of others (that is, larger number of people), which fundamentally questions the character of individuality in the “opinion.” The contradictory nature of public opinion was first revealed by Hegel in his Grundlinien einer Philosophie des Rechts of 1821. In contrast to Bentham and other early champions of public opinion who conceptualized the principle of publicity as a safeguard for the public’s confidence in the authorities and an assurance that they would perform their duties, Hegel defended the publicity of the Estates’ debates in Germany primarily on the grounds of expanding knowledge of public affairs among the general population. Publication of the debates should enable public opinion to gain insight into

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problems and to “learn to respect the work, abilities, virtues, and dexterity of ministers and officials.” Publicity is, according to Hegel, an “antidote for the pride of individuals and of the multitude” and the “one of the best means for their education” (1821/2001, 251). In contrast to the liberal belief that the government has to follow public opinion, Hegel considered the Estates the mediator and reductor of both the power of the crown and of particular interests of individuals and associations (ibid., 244). Whereas early normative understandings of public opinion emerged from the doctrine of sovereignty of the people and Kant’s transcendental formula of publicity emphasized the principle of harmony, Hegel’s conceptualization emphasized the inherent contradiction in the character of public opinion. Contrary to the business of state, Hegel conceived of public opinion as a channel through which “every one is free to express and make good his subjective opinion concerning the universal” (1821/2001, 248). Within public opinion, two different strands are ceaselessly interwoven: on one hand, public usage and the authority of reason and, on the other hand, contingency, ignorance and faulty reasoning: Formal subjective freedom, implying that individuals as such should have and express their own judgment, opinion, and advice concerning affairs of state, makes its appearance in that aggregate, which is called public opinion. In it what is absolutely universal, substantive, and true is joined with its opposite, the independent, peculiar, and particular opinions of the many. This phase of existence is therefore the actual contradiction of itself; knowledge is appearance, the essential exists directly as the unessential. (Hegel 1821/2001, 252; emphasis added)

There is as much truth in public opinion as falseness, which is why it deserves to be respected when the truth is found in it, and despised when it is expressed in gossip. On one hand, independence from public opinion is a fundamental condition for achieving anything that is great and rational in life and science. On the other hand, however, each great achievement is recognized by public opinion and, thus, must also be viewed as one of its “prejudices.” In later developments, this contradictory nature of public opinion would become even more evident, first with the authors who criticized the tyranny of majority vested in public opinion—Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill and James Bryce, and later particularly in the work of Ferdinand Tönnies. Tönnies never referred to Hegel in his book (as he suggested, a multitude of references and footnotes would only distract readers’ attention), but he dedicated it to Hegel by using a quotation from his Grundlinien einer Philosophie des Rechts as the epigraph to his Kritik, thus linking his own conceptualization of public opinion to that of Hegel’s: Public opinion deserves, therefore, to be esteemed and despised; to be despised in its concrete consciousness and expression, to be esteemed in its essential basis. At best, its inner nature makes merely an appearance in its concrete expression, and that, too, in a more or less troubled shape. (Hegel 1821/2001, 254)

While the Kritik was Tönnies’s most comprehensive in-depth analysis of public opinion, it was not his first theoretical and/or empirical encounter with public opinion. Comparing



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two fundamental types of social structure, Gemeinschaft (Community) and Gesellschaft (Society), in his seminal book Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887), he introduced the concept of public opinion to differentiate between “two contrasting epochs in the grand overall development of civilization: an epoch of market-based civil Society follows an epoch of close-knit Community. Community is signified through its social will as concord, custom and religion; Society is signified through its social will as convention, policy and public opinion” (Tönnies 1887/2001, 257). In the concluding section of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, Tönnies defines (the function of) public opinion as aspiring “to lay down universally valid norms, not on the basis of blind faith but of clear insight into the rightness of the doctrines that it recognizes and accepts” (241), emphasizing its scientific and enlightened nature. Tönnies’s holistic approach to public opinion underlines the unity of will and emotions expressed in reason and the foundation of reason in human life processes. Thus the rationality of opinion always implies the volitional and affective dimensions of opinion formation. If Hegel inspired Tönnies to conceptualize the contradictory nature of public opinion due to the contradictory nature of publicness, it was Kant’s conceptualization of “holding for true” (Fürwahrhalten) that stimulated Tönnies to conceptualize public opinion as manifestation of human reasoning or, in Kant’s words, public use of reason. Kant specifically elaborates the concept of opinion, which, in his Critique of Pure Reason, is defined as the lowest level of “holding for true.” For Kant, the holding of a thing to be true, or “the subjective validity of a judgment in relation to conviction (which is, at the same time, objectively valid),” differs in terms of subjective and objective sufficiency (1781/1952, 262–5). The degree of holding for true depends on the level of subjective sufficiency, which he termed “conviction (for myself),” and on the level of objective sufficiency, which he termed “certainty (for everyone).” Holding for true has three levels. Its lowest level is opining (Meinen)—holding a judgment that is consciously insufficient both subjectively and objectively. A higher level is believing (Glauben)—holding a judgment that is sufficient subjectively but insufficient objectively. The highest level of holding for true is, according to Kant, knowing (Wissen)—holding a judgment that is sufficient on both accounts, from myself and for everyone. Kant’s claim that “I must never venture to be of opinion, without knowing something, at least, by which my judgment, in itself merely problematical, is brought into connection with the truth—which connection, although not perfect, is still something more than an arbitrary fiction” (263) seems to have stimulated Tönnies to link explicitly opining to human reasoning and place rational opining superior to affective believing. In contrast to Kant, who argued that opining is subjectively and objectively insufficient, while believing is insufficient only objectively, and thus believing is a higher form of “holding for true” than opining, Tönnies emphasizes the significance of the rational dimension in opinion formation. From the standpoint of objective reasons (although insufficient for the conscience) “to opine” means regarding something as real, whereas “to believe” is always subjectively grounded in firm feeling and trust, so that “to believe” means to be convinced. While believing is a matter of mood and heart, opining is a matter of thought and reason. “Belief is often about the most unbelievable and even ‘impossible,’ while an opinion, if it cannot reach the truth, at least attempts to achieve a probable, a more

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probable, and the most probable” (Tönnies 1922, 19). Belief excludes every doubt, it is solid and perfect, while opinion is individual and can be erroneous, but it can be changed and revised. Tönnies used the difference between opining and believing to conceptualize the difference between the organic (communal) and rational (societal) will and, specifically, between two particular forms of complex will, religion and public opinion.

The Sociological Turn: Correlation of Social Will with Social Structure Fundamental for Tönnies’s conceptualization of public opinion is its embeddedness in the broader framework of his general social (and political) theory first developed in his 1887 Community and Society. Although Tönnies is regarded as one of the founding fathers of sociology, his theory is somehow closer to an “applied philosophy” profoundly inspired by the rationalist philosophical tradition. This is also obvious in his conceptualization of public opinion as a form of social will. Tönnies’s understanding of the concept of “will” is based on the psychological conceptualizations of his time, but it can also be related to earlier philosophical conceptualizations of will by Rousseau and Hegel. Like Rousseau’s “general will” or Hegel’s “substantial will,” Tönnies’s forms of social will are normative constructs that cannot be equated with any of their empirical manifestations. Nevertheless, his work provides not only an abstract framework but also a systematic historical-empirical analysis of the major elements of public opinion. Tönnies differentiates between elementary (A to F) and complex forms (AA to FF) of organic (A to CC) and reflexive wills (D to FF) (see Figure  8.1). The two types of will—organic will (Wesenwille) and reflexive will (Kürwille)—condition the two ways social Organic Will Community (Gemeinschaft )

Reflexive Will Society (Gesellschaft )

Elementary Forms A)  Understanding    ( Verständnis) B)  Tradition    ( Brauch) C)  Faith    (Glaube)

Elementary Forms D)  Contract    (Vertrag) E)  Norm    (Satzung ) F)  Doctrine    (Lehre)

Complex Forms AA)  Concord     (Eintracht) BB)  Custom     (Sitte) CC)  Religion     (Religion)

Complex Forms DD)  Convention     (Konvention) EE)  Legislation     (Gesetzgebung) FF)  Public Opinion     ( Die Öffentliche Meinung)

Figure 8.1  Tönnies’s Forms of Social Will. Source:  Tönnies, Kritik der öffentlichen Meinung, 219.



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groups—community (Gemeinschaft) or society (Gesellschaft)—are formed. The literal translation of Kürwille would be “arbitrary will,” and of Wesenwille, “essential will,” which Werner Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle used in their translation of Tönnies’s work (Tönnies 1971). However, as I have suggested in my earlier analyses of Tönnies’s public opinion theory (e.g., Splichal 1999), the terms organic or natural will instead of essential will, and reflexive or rational instead of arbitrary, would seem more appropriate because neither Kürwille nor Wesenwille has the precise meaning Tönnies’s usage implies. The literal meaning of Kürwille (and also of the term Willkür Tönnies used in the first two editions of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft) indeed refers to arbitrariness rather than rationality. Both the German term Kürwille and the English term arbitrary will imply “randomness” and “ill-foundedness,” which comes to mean just the opposite to “rational.” However, Tönnies’s original (sometimes metaphorical) terminology is not always accurate in view of the actual meaning of the concept. He clearly refers to rationally founded will when he defines Kürwille as a “product of thought itself, and comes into being only through the agency of its author—the person doing the thinking” (Tönnies 1887/2001, 96). I find the term reflexive or rational will more accurate and congruent with Tönnies’s idea because it emphasizes the role of rationality, which is present neither in the original German term Kürwille nor in Cahnman’s and Heberle’s translation as “arbitrary will.” Furthermore, the opposition between organic and rational will more clearly reveals the dichotomy between psychological and rational, which Tönnies obviously intended. This is made clear in his definition of Wesenwille as the “psychological equivalent of the human body, it is the unifying principle of life” (1887/2001, 95). Organic and reflexive wills represent two faces of the totality of human nature expressed in social relations; their relationship parallels the relationship between personal believing and opining. “Just as there is no water that is hydrogen, and another that is oxygen, there is no one will that is organic will, and another that is reflexive; rather, all the wills consist of, and are linked by the organic and reflexive will” (Tönnies 1922, 18). Reflexive will is always based on organic will, and organic will is always expressed through reflexive will. Because neither exists in the pure form in the experiential world but only in combinations and continuous transitions, any differentiation between two ideal types is possible exclusively as abstraction on the level of pure ideas. Nevertheless, the prevailing form of will in practice determines the dominant pattern of social life. Although the will is metaphysically conceptualized as “the psychical equivalent of the human body” in which sentiments and mental moods are manifested, it is closely related to reflection, which demonstrates the rationalistic capability of the intellect. The organic will determines reflection (i.e., the will includes reflection), whereas the opposite is the case for the reflexive will: consciousness is liberated so that it is reflection that determines the will (i.e., reflection includes the will). Organic will is characterized by the transrational elements in human nature and the reflexive will by the priority of reason. In organic will the stress is on the traditional, the emotional and the absolute. Its opposite, the reflexive will emphasizes instrumentalism and distinctions between goal and means. In community, forms of common will spring mainly from common emotions, whereas in society they derive from common thoughts. Moving from organic to reflexive forms of

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will represents a process of fortifying and formalizing what the development of writing made prominent, at least in simple forms of social will (Tönnies 1922, 220). Although the forms of will are normal concepts, they also have a historical dimension: the historical development has the direction from A-CC to D-FF. The forms of communal will are original and essential, whereas the societal forms are derived and made essential. The societal forms develop out of the communal forms and progressively turn dominant: Convention becomes more important than concord, legislation more important than custom, and public opinion more important than religion. In Tönnies’s theorization, public opinion is essentially related to the distinction between the two types of social structure and forms of will. The link between two different forms of will and two different forms of human organization is clearly rooted in Kant’s conceptualization of pure and practical reason. Tönnies’s theory posits two basic kinds of human relations that are subjectively grounded and, being a product of human nature, expressed in diverse forms of social order. Community is based on organic will, with its roots in feelings, habits and beliefs, and society is built on reflexive will as resulting from artificial, deliberate or conscious acts in which means and ends are clearly separated, in a way similar to Max Weber’s zweckrationales Handeln. “Community” is a traditional and inarticulate form of social organization based on personal relationships, customs and faith. “Society” in contrast refers to a rational— urban and industrial—social organization based on non-personal relations, special interests, conventions, law and public opinion. In many ways this understanding is a reminder of the concept of civil society: unlike community, which is based on similarities among groups and individuals in terms of beliefs and actions, society is concerned with economic (“convention”), political (“legislation”) and moral (“public opinion”) relationships among diverse groups. In more empirical terms, society is also characterized by the central position of the middle class. As Tönnies argues, “In Gemeinschaft people stay together in spite of everything that separates them; in Gesellschaft they remain separate in spite of everything that unites them” (1922, 52). However, community and society are ideal types that never exist in their pure forms: various forms of communal and societal organizations may appear, to different degrees, simultaneously within the same social structure.

A Dynamic Conceptualization of Public Opinion Theories of public opinion that emerged from eighteenth-century rationalism developed a great faith in the possibility of an enlightened public opinion, which Tönnies championed in his works. The early theorizations focused on the relationship between the public and the government, while in the late nineteenth century the relation (differentiation) between the public and the mass became central; control over the ruling authorities by the public (majority) as the fundamental function of the public was “replaced” by the principle of the majority tolerance (the mass) of minority (representative government). Tönnies was the first scholar to integrate the theory of public opinion into the general theory of society and to outline the central position of public opinion within both theoretical and empirical sociology. His Critique of Public Opinion, as his voluminous 1922



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book was titled, is directed against popular views about public opinion and toward establishing a scientific understanding of the phenomenon. In popular conceptions, public opinion is understood simply as a multitude of publicly expressed or published opinions, which make them different from “1. an opinion that is by nature internal and personal (intimate), and also in contrast to 2. an opinion that is confidentially conveyed to specific, known persons.” Yet this cannot be considered a genuine public opinion. A form of unity, a public, is needed, which actively generates public opinion. If an opinion, thus transmitted, becomes an opinion and a judgement of the many, even a majority, i.e.,—if their weight is judged to be equal to the majority of a convention—of a totality, a circle, or a unity bound up as a community or society, then we could call it a public opinion. (Tönnies 1922, 129–30)

Tönnies’s sociological approach to public opinion is unique in that it bridges differences between two distinct paradigms—the critical-theoretical and the empirical—often believed to be incompatible. His theory is based on the normative concept of “the opinion of the public (die Öffentliche Meinung), the genuine public opinion or public opinion in the strict sense; it is a “pure” abstraction and used as an intellectual “tool” to inquire into specific historical manifestations of public opinion. While the public and public opinion are normative concepts, that is, ideal abstractions, they are not entirely counterfactual ideals. On the contrary, ideas (“pure concepts”) approximate reality; they are tools the researcher produces and uses to recognize reality and to investigate the experiential world. Derivative from Tönnies’s sociological theory, public opinion as a specific form of social will exists in every society, at least in its “gaseous” state, and the progress in science, education and guidance of a (large) public contributes to its strengthening—despite misuses of the main organ of public opinion, the periodical press. In his dynamic conceptualization of public opinion, Tönnies recognizes the connections and transitions between public opinion and corresponding forms of will, particularly religion; transitions between different stages or states of public opinion; and contradictions between reflexive and disciplinary publicity. “Aggregate States” of (Public) Opinion Tönnies’s complex typologies of opinions in terms of “published opinion,” “public opinion” and “opinion of the public,” and “aggregate states” (or stages) of (public) opinion as “gaseous,” “fluid” and “solid” suggest that different normative and empirical conceptualizations of public opinion are not inevitably mutually exclusive, but could be integrated into a broader conceptual framework. Moreover, Tönnies’s dynamic conceptualization of public opinion as a continuous process of transition through different “aggregate states”—Tönnies often likes to use technical terms from physics and biology as metaphors for social and political processes— demonstrates the dialectics of continuity and change in the formation of public opinion much more than the static dichotomies—used, for example, by Tarde and Park (the public vs. the crowd), and Blumer and C. W. Mills (the public vs. the mass).

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The three aggregate states of public opinion are determined by the degree of unity among the public and the degree of “solidity” of an opinion in terms of its strength: the stronger an opinion is, the less accessible it is to external pressures. Distinctions between the aggregate states of public opinion are defined by: the degree to which a man, in his opinion or conviction, “agrees with himself ”; the more perfect this consensus is in his mind, the more unshakable is his faith or his mind; the more imperfect, the more uncertain he feels, his faith is wavering, he struggles with doubt, he believes, but he also prays, “Lord, help my unbelief.” (Tönnies 1922, 23–4)

Tönnies’s conceptualization of three different states of public opinion provides a way of distinguishing between highly influential (solid) and minimally effective (gaseous) public opinion and the possibility of change from one state to another. In its solid form, public opinion is “a general, firm conviction of the public which, being a carrier of such convictions, represents the whole nation, or even a wider circle of ‘civilized humanity’” (1922, 137). The daily (“gaseous”) public opinion is always under influences of solid and fluid opinions of the public, which, nevertheless, does not exclude discord and contradiction among them (1922, 249). Solid public opinion is a kind of agreement over general values, such as “freedom” or “rejection of absolutist regimes,” which is based on reason, tolerance and exclusion of superstition; thus it is primarily shaped by intellectuals. It is fluid when it is applied to less general concepts, such as political events, and is fiercely defended by one part of the people and opposed by another at the same time. Public opinion loses solidity when changes occur about controversial issues, but the changes do occur precisely because (if) public opinion is unbiased and stands for what is undeniably expressed in a spirit of common good; it is freed from a fanatical assertion of particular interests, which results in rigidly maintained opinions. Finally, a gaseous (ephemeral) public opinion is superficial and changes rapidly; however, at the same time, it depends on the fluid and, particularly, on the solid public opinion. Similarly to the process of strengthening individual opinions, any public issue that eventually appears as a solid public opinion is always molded out of its gaseous state. In the opposite way, solid opinion can proceed through the stages and melt into the gaseous state, although the historical development happens the other way round. Opinions usually strengthen over time and become a dominant value of a nation. The power and efficacy of public opinion are determined by its solid state, because of its solidity or agreement. Yet again, the older the opinion is, the more stubborn may be its criticism, which would make solid public opinion dilute and eventually evaporate. On the other hand, it is exactly the gaseous public opinion that demonstrates best the dynamics of opinion change and, therefore, everyone notices it. Public Opinion as a Generalized Form of Social Control Another dimension of dynamism of public opinion that Tönnies particularly emphasizes is its ambivalent power of reflexive and disciplinary publicity, materialized either in



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genuine public opinion or in social regulation and control. He shows that public opinion as a form of societal will also includes an important dimension of social control, characteristic of all forms of social will, and of religion in particular. The common denominator of public opinion and religion is “public judgment” (das öffentliche Urteil), which Tönnies defines as “the dominant, more or less certain, favorable or unfavorable, affirmative or negative view among the people, how to confront and behave in relation to peoples, events, deeds and misdeeds, to laws and regulations, to views and doctrines themselves, to real and potential ‘questions’ in ‘divine’ and ‘human’ affairs, and to the ‘world’ itself ” (Tönnies 1922, 234). Tönnies explicitly and “emphatically” emphasizes that public opinion is, similarly to religion, also “the connecting inner force and the binding will, which often manifests itself as moral indignation and intolerance against those holding dissenting opinions” (Tönnies 1922, vii). He suggests that these tendencies were not considered characteristic of public opinion in earlier conceptualizations, most likely because its hegemonic will and power were encountered with little resistance, and he considers a major contribution of his book on public opinion to point out this controversial nature of public opinion. However, he was entirely wrong in his belief that this was a completely neglected research issue since J. S. Mill’s famed essay On Liberty (1859), although he was familiar with the work of Locke, Cooley, Mead and Baldwin (see Cahnman 1981). Even before Mill, Locke suggested in his discussion of the “laws of opinion or reputation” that “no man escapes the punishment of their censure and dislike, who offends against the fashion and opinion of the company he keeps, and would recommend himself to. Nor is there one of ten thousand, who is stiff and insensible enough, to bear up under the constant dislike and condemnation of his own club” (Locke 1690, bk. 2, chap. 28, p. 12). For Bentham, who primarily saw the function of publicity in enabling the public tribunal to sanction political representatives who would fail to promote the public interest, public opinion represented—particularly in his early conceptualization—one of the three “sanctions” or “obligatory powers,” in addition to the law and religions, by which alone a man can ultimately be forced to do what is to be done (Bentham 1791; see Mill 1859). The idea of public opinion as a form of sanction was later resumed and elaborated by Edward A. Ross, who differentiated between “the sanctions of opinion, the sanctions of intercourse, and the sanctions of violence,” which all are used by “Public Opinion” (Ross 1901/1969, 89). Ross’s conceptualization did not stress the impelling power of public opinion to control the rulers but rather its power to discipline the people. He related public opinion closely to (mass) suggestion: “In public opinion there is something which is not praise or blame, and this residuum is mass suggestion. From this comes its power to reduce men to uniformity as a steam roller reduces bits of stone to smooth macadam” (ibid., 148–9). Stimulated by the work of Sighele, Le Bon and Ross, who introduced them to American readers, Charles Horton Cooley supplemented the notion of publicity as a means to control authorities with a radical idea of the press as not only a medium of communication but also (class) domination. Although Cooley did not lose his normative trust in the “enlightened public” to control the government, his analysis revealed that “public opinion” was largely molded by capitalists, through either education or the press.

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According to Ross, in an internally differentiated society, social power is “displaced” to different groups that become “radiant points of social control”; he specifically mentions the elders, the military, the priesthood, the officials, the capitalists, the learned, the elite of ideas and talents and the geniuses (ibid., 80–4). In a similar inventory, Tönnies identifies a number of “public opinion leaders within nations,” starting with the priesthood, whose power, as he argues, has declined, which only made a genuine opinion of the public possible (1922, 207–15). Opinion leaders are important because masses tend to follow and succumb to the authorities. One suppresses the disagreement, knowing that one is not qualified to judge, or fearing disapproval and worse consequences, particularly […] when confronted with the unanimous and published opinion of many. Silence appears as agreement, and one is counted among the audible voices of the choir. Each group, each circle forms a “public” opinion which operates inwardly and outwardly; this is commonly the opinion of authorities within each group or circle to which the remaining members submit. The more acknowledged the authority is, the more prestige it gains, and the more willing, faster, easier and systematically conformity works. (Tönnies 1922, 27)

Even the newspapers that do not support a particular opinion may be forced to yield by the “flow of public opinion” (without explicitly agreeing with it) in order to escape the opposition of their readers. Specific opinions commonly relate to specific interests, which means that in the struggles over opinions, mostly the struggles of estates, classes and professions are expressed. Whereas he acknowledges the significance of conformity pressure in the public opinion process, which makes it similar to religion, he vigorously defends citizens’ knowledge and independent reasoning as the basis of a genuine public opinion.

“Public Opinion” and “Opinion of the Public” Tönnies was very insistent on formal definitions of terms, and he sometimes not only invented new scientific concepts but coined new words or, to make it worse, new spellings of the existing words to make their meanings clearly different from the meanings of commonly used words. However, he was not always consistent in differentiating between the concepts/terms as he had defined them, and sometimes slipped back into their conventional usage, particularly when he referred to other authors and used quotations from their works. Unfortunately, the key concept of his theory, public opinion, is a case in point. Tönnies emphasizes the need to distinguish between two essentially different conceptualizations of public opinion: (1) public opinion (die öffentliche Meinung) as a conglomerate of diverse and contradictory views, desires and intentions; and (2) opinion of the public (die Öffentliche Meinung, with capital Ö) as a unified power, an expression of common will. Yet, in addition, he uses the plain term öffentliche Meinung (public opinion) whenever he is not explicitly differentiating between the two, and also the term eine öffentliche Meinung (a public opinion). Public opinion is the most spiritual expression of the same general will that is manifested in Convention and Legislation. Its subject, alongside society and the state as the subjects of the



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latter two, could be defined as “the public” or more closely, if it is a knowledgeable, cultivated and educated public, as the “Republic of Letters.” It is essentially international but also scattered across the country as the national intellectual elite, which gathers and condenses in the cities, especially large cities and places of education; not uncommonly, it is also called “intelligence” or “intellectuals.” (Tönnies 1922, 77)

Tönnies’s genuine interest is not in inarticulate public opinion; what is indeed worthy of scientific inquiry and theoretical analysis is opinion of the public, where a (large) audience, the public, acts communicatively to form and express opinions. While public opinion does not have any specifically defined subject, opinion of the public substantially differs from it precisely in its clearly defined subject: Public Opinion is the most spiritual expression of the same general will that is manifested in the Convention and Legislation. Its subject, alongside society and the state as the subjects of the latter two, could be defined as “the public” or more closely, if it is a knowledgeable, cultivated and educated public, as the “Republic of Letters.” It is essentially international but also scattered across the country as the national intellectual elite, which gathers and condense in the cities, especially large cities and places of education; not uncommonly, it is also called “intelligence” or “intellectuals.” (Tönnies 1922, 77)

Both concepts of public opinion are characterized by a publicly communicated opinion and deal with public, mostly political affairs, but only “opinion of the public” (die Öffentliche Meinung) is (1) the genuine, “articulated” public opinion; and (2) as such, a purely theoretical ideal type (“normal concept”) that cannot be directly observed empirically. In contrast, public opinion (die öffentliche Meinung) is the agreed upon judgment of a group (class, party, etc.), whereas published opinion (eine öffentliche Meinung) does not form any unity and is merely public because it is expressed not in private or confidentially, but openly to any given audience. Although a general and colloquial connotation of “public opinion” is not totally irrelevant for a scientific conception, it is still more important to understand what has been established by the “called upon thinkers” (1916,  420n.). Tönnies determines the fundamental difference between colloquial understanding (= public opinion) and scientific conception (= opinion of the public) by the subject: the subjects of the opinion of the public are spiritually connected, or “gathered” individuals, who debate and reach a conclusion, while public opinion has no evident subject. Opinion of the public is a “general, common opinion of the people or the public, in other words, a form of social will that is in all its forms expressed as a unified will, as a will of one person,” a “unified harmony of many thoughts and opinions,” a “social volition” that is manifested as if it were the will of one person (Tönnies 1971, 258). While Tönnies insists that only a “strict conceptual and critical-logical or dialectical thinking” makes a proper understanding of his theory possible, he also makes gentle concessions to his readers, assuring them that in the larger parts of his book, “applications of theory are given which can be understood even without theoretical subtleties” (1922, VII). Thus in the larger part of the book, he assumes public opinion (die öffentliche Meinung) “as it is, namely primarily as public opinion of the day.” Any closed or open circle can generate such an “arbitrary public opinion,” if its members assign a specific

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weight to it (e.g., opinions of a town, profession, stratum or class), and act accordingly. As soon as members of different strata gain freedom of speech and press, a multitude of different, even opposing, publicly expressed opinions (or “public opinions”) may appear, which makes public opinion far from unanimous. Nevertheless, the major day-to-day processes and the essential historical developments Tönnies examines in his work apply both to public opinion(s) and to the genuine opinion of the public, which is why I follow in the present chapter his concession and take for granted that his public opinion theory can be presented and understood without his peculiar conceptual dichotomy.

Public Opinion versus Religion A key feature of Tönnies’s scheme of forms of will and therefore a major part of his theory of public opinion is “the firm and close relationship, on the one hand the dependence and affinity, on the other hand the contradiction and opposition, to ‘religion’” (1922, vii). The fundamental nature of public opinion is defined with its relations to corresponding forms of social will (see Figure 8.1): (1) its relation to doctrine as the corresponding elementary form of reflexive will (F); (2) its relations and differences to the subjects of other forms of the societal will (DD, EE)—the subject of convention is society, the subject of legislation is the state, the subject of public opinion is the public with the “republic of the learned” at its core—and (3) the relation of public opinion to religion as the corresponding/opposite form of organic or communal will. As reflexive will in general is a rationalized form of organic will, public opinion is a rationalized form of religion. Both represent a form of spiritual and moral collective will, and public opinion performs in society the kind of role religion does in traditional community. Similarly to public opinion, religion is “a general and public belief which presumes an attachment to a community or constitutes and forms it” (Tönnies 1922, 231). Public opinion unites and obliges individuals who produce and accept it, as religion unites and binds believers. Public opinion not only turns individuals to a certain opinion; it also encourages, even demands, a certain kind of behavior and action, like, for instance, membership in a political party, or reading a specific newspaper. Similarly, religion requires believers to fulfill the requirements of their religious organization. The most important social functions religion and public opinion have in common “are judgment and guidance, i.e. they assess the deeds, actions and intentions of those around them on their merits or with reference to their basic principles, maxims and rules; and they scrutinize in particular the designs and intentions of the commonwealth or state” (Tönnies 1887/2001, 239). Similarity between these two forms of social will is most explicit when public opinion takes the form of a “patriotic dogma,” particularly in the form of revanchism: according to opinion of the public, love for country equals duty, just like love for god is a religious obligation (Tönnies 1923, 85–6). Yet the powers of religion and public opinion do not manifest themselves only as an internally oriented connection and unity, but most of all externally in the relationship with the state. Both religion and public opinion fight for the status of a supreme moral instance and seek recognition by the government: every religious denomination wants to become a (state) religion, and every public opinion wants to become the public



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opinion (Tönnies 1923, 87), that is, “opinion of the public.” Opinion of the public thus often takes paths paved by religion and even “adopts” its means of expression. In other words, religion and public opinion use the same forms of communication to make their judgments public, in Tönnies’s times primarily books, posters, journals and newspapers. Public opinion also inherited intolerance and even fanaticism from religion: both of these forms of social will may argue that an opposing judgment should be “cursed as a sin” (Tönnies 1922, 205; 1923, 87). However, while religion and public opinion both profess to be moral judges, they address different issues. Public opinion judges people for their action and not for their reasoning or belief; the basis for judgments is the code of law. Religion, in contrast, evaluates convictions according to their morals. Religion wants to control souls and engage with the most secret beliefs; public opinion sticks to the visible and apparent, and consequently, can be misled by the image. The most significant difference between religion and public opinion was established with the economic and political emancipation of the bourgeoisie based on the progress of science: “The progress of opining is primarily a consequence of the influence of advances in scientific knowledge” (Tönnies 1922, 121). The difference between two forms of holding for true, opining and believing, is clearly expressed in the relationship between public opinion and religion. Religion is based on faith, which represents one of the forms of organic will, and excludes doubt, which, in contrast, is characteristic of opinion formation. The scientific value of opining, which always comprises an element of knowing, makes public opinion not only different from religion, but turns it into its opposite because religion builds on blind belief in an absolute truth. This is the reason public opinion represents “a new age”—an age that affirms scientific and critical ways of thinking, which Tönnies was fully endorsing. In sociological terms, an important difference between religion and public opinion lies in social classes or strata in which they are generated. Religion is historically rooted in lower social strata and its development is heading upward, toward higher social layers, including priests, artists and the educated, who give religion a more refined form. In contrast, participation in public opinion formation and expression presupposes individual knowledge, reasoning, education and political interests. Thus, bearers of public opinion are mostly the bourgeoisie and individuals of rank, men more than women, older people more than younger ones, and those who are personally affected by interests and certain problems more than those who are not (e.g., in economic matters businessmen more than intellectuals, while the reverse is true in spiritual matters). Traditionally, public opinion was opinion of the educated, in contrast to less educated masses (Tönnies 1923, 91). Lower social strata became co-creators of public opinion only later, when education became generally accessible, which made public opinion more inclusive and general; however, the potentiality of a general agreement and “the unified opinion of the public” thus actually diminishes (Tönnies 1922, 229). Again, as for all forms of organic and reflexive wills, differences and conflicts between religion and public opinion have an ideal-type character: they coexist and are intertwined in the experiential world. This is true for society and community, although historically religion is losing its power while public opinion is gaining it with the emergence of society and prevailing over religious beliefs.

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Public Opinion and (the Illusion of) the Free Press Similarly to religion, public opinion is essentially borderless and international by its very nature and even represents “the entire civilized humanity” (Tönnies 1922, 135, 137). Tönnies’s conceptualizations of “the dispersed audience” and “the large public” consisting of spiritually (rather than spatially) connected individuals come close to the issues of globalization and denationalization now associated with the Internet and social media (Splichal 2012). The potential of transnationalization of public opinion is closely related to the potential of the press to expand beyond national borders and create a global culture and market—a process nowadays associated primarily with the Internet. As in all other substantive theories from Bentham and Kant to Tarde and Dewey, the press is constitutive of public opinion in Tönnies’s theory. He stresses the constitutive role the form of communication plays in differentiating between community and society (1922, 91–4), and the limits of “reception of public opinion” that communication media may impose (ibid., 136). For Tönnies, the difference between community and society is first and foremost constituted by writing; like it is writing that indicates or even enables the transition from a primordial, classless human community to civilization and class society for Marx and Engels in their Communist Manifesto (1922, 220). Freedom of thought, speech and press, which have been enacted by the bourgeois revolution, are fundamental to the development of the society-type forms of social will. Community is identified by opinion heritage (Überlieferung), expressed as passing knowledge from one generation to another (i.e., from older to younger generations) and from higher (predominantly the clergy) to lower social strata. In contrast, in society, tradition and authority executed from the top to the bottom are losing power and give way to verifiable reason and critique. Thus written communication and, subsequently, the press, became more important than oral communication. In difference to speech, which is always only aimed at, and limited by, those who are present, the press addresses an unknown and unidentified multitude of people. Public opinion is the product of two factors: an original energetic idea and an “amplifying multiplicator” that influences and enables public opinion formation and expression, which is usually the press. That is why Tönnies pays considerable attention to the role and function of the press as ideally the “organ” of public opinion. The daily press, in particular, is the most important means of expression of public opinion as a unified social will, although public opinion can also arise outside the press and even in opposition to the press (Tönnies 1922, 137, 132n). Yet the newspaper does not represent the entire public opinion and can never influence it to the full. Public opinion resists the newspaper influences particularly among those parts of population (rural areas, for example), where the press does not play a significant role. Public opinion originates before and independently of the press, it is then formed with a “social-scientific necessity” through public presentation of facts and events, and then it comes to light through many different means, including the newspapers. In the case of a genuine public opinion, the newspapers will be unanimous, or at least “tuned to the same tone”; party views otherwise championed by the press draw back, they submit to and serve the public opinion (Tönnies 1922, 276).



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The social significance of the press derives from the fact that public opinion is not expressed by a spatially gathered or directly interacting public, but only by an imagined or virtual public. Thus, the press plays an important role not only because it is an indispensable element in the process of public opinion formation by delivering information to the public, but also because it represents the main expression means of the public and, thus, helps to constitute the public. Newspapers are not the only sources of information for members of a public, but they are usually the most important ones. Moreover, the press is powerful not only because it makes political personalities or important scientific and artistic works widely visible, but also because it can afford to suppress their visibility. In empirical terms, the power of public opinion often seems to be equated with that of the press, because all elements of public opinion as a form of mental life of a nation, especially sciences and arts, are mediated or transmitted by the press. Even more: It can be claimed that the ultimate aim of the press is to do away with the many different states and to replace them with a single world republic, equal in extent to the world market, which would be ruled by intellectuals, scholars and writers and could dispense with all means of coercion other than those of a psychological kind. Such tendencies and purposes may never perhaps find clear expression, not to mention realisation, but recognising them helps us to understand many things that are actually happening and to grasp the important fact that the development of nation states is only a temporary barrier to an international market Society without national boundaries. (Tönnies 1887/2001, 242, 243)

However, many practical barriers hinder this historical development of the press: (1) the language used by the newspaper and its readers; (2) the largeness of the political arena in which a public issue is relevant; (3) the education of listeners and readers needed to understand and deliberate what they hear; (4) the strength of its intellectual and moral voice; (5) the size of already existing adherents to certain faiths, parties or professions as well as the reputation and charisma of speakers and; (6) means of communication, including “the power of capital and the connections and activities of a publisher; but especially the type and size of the reading public” (Tönnies 1922, 135–6). Proceeding from the normatively defined central role of the press in his theory of public opinion to its everyday performance, Tönnies criticizes newspapers as merely (at the most) mediators rather than an authentic means of opinion expression of the public. Although the press, like Parliament, may be normatively considered the most important “organ” of public opinion, it is, as Tönnies critically ascertains, more often an instrument of (attempts to) influencing rather than expressing public opinion. Since newspapers have become heavily politically and economically dependent, they often do not allow the public to grasp the truth; they even deliberately mislead their readers. Actually readers are quite easily deceived because they are even less able to investigate and discern truth than newspapers and journalists. The economic conditions greatly affect the relationship between the press and public opinion. Tönnies follows Karl Bücher in characterizing newspapers as “a large capitalist business, whose direct and main goal is to create profit in management,” which even journalists must accept and conform to (Tönnies 1922, 179–80). Economic conditions

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of capitalism force the newspaper owners to take account of the will of the readers and advertisers, and to conform to the logic of large capitalist organizations. Similarly, journalists must balance the interests of the owner with those of the party or the government, and pay attention to the audience at the same time (ibid., 193). Although the power of the press had first developed as an instrument of the liberal enlightenment, it soon became corrupted by lucrative and political interests. Corruption and corporate control lead to an evident partiality of newspapers, so that an “independent newspaper” seems to become a mere illusion. The powers of capital are intent not only to bring about a favorable opinion concerning their products, and [an] unfavorable one concerning those of their competitors, but also to promote a generalized public opinion which is designed to serve their business interests, for instance, regarding a policy of protective tariffs or of free trade, favoring a political movement or party, supporting or opposing an existing government. (Tönnies 1923, 88)

The main role that Tönnies attributes to the corporate press is to “set the public into motion and to draw it to its side.” The struggle of opinions in the press is not so much a struggle within the formation of public opinion, in which only the “chosen” (such as experts and opinion leaders) can participate. Rather, it is a struggle for public opinion— that is, for individuals who would adopt and spread published opinions as their own—carried on primarily by political parties. In consequence, newspapers make visible and perpetuate the enduring antagonisms between government and opposition, conservatism and reformism, or orthodox and heterodox orientations. The public watches these fights over opinions like theatregoers, able to see only one side of a scene from an elevated box (reminiscent of Lippmann’s “deaf spectator in the back row, who ought to keep his mind on the mystery off there, but cannot quite manage to keep awake”; 1925, 13); yet not because of its incompetence but rather because newspaper presentation is as one-sided and partial as the presentation by political parties. No less pernicious is the widespread practice of advertising disguised in editorial sections of newspapers. The future of public opinion is thus closely linked to the future of the press which has to be reformed to achieve a greater autonomy. In contrast to German mainstream Zeitungswissenschaft, which avoided radical questions of press reform (Hardt 1979, 155), Tönnies insists on a radical social transformation and legal regulation of the press aimed at its socialization and greater autonomy. He considers socialization of the press that would establish the press as a public service a fundamental condition and the only way of its liberation from negative historical trends. Following American sociologist J. W. Jenks, Tönnies concluded that “we will never have a newspaper which will report completely independently about problems of public life unless we have a newspaper that will be independent of circulation and advertising business” (1922, 184). He was particularly impressed by American journalist Ferdinand Hansen, a native of Germany, who proposed that the American people set up a $1 billion fund to establish a rigorously regulated independent press system with newspapers that could rely on an independent news service and that would be financially independent,



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supported by large circulation rather than by advertising. The kind of press regulation he wished to see materialized in Germany and elsewhere.

Conclusion Tönnies’s idea of radical press reform was perhaps utopian for the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries because of the extent of (daily) newspapers’ subordination to political parties and capital at that time, but it remains important in calling critical attention to politicization and commercialization of the press. Because public opinion as a social and political force vitally depended on newspapers, radical reforms of the press that became politically and commercially corrupted were also needed for the development of a genuine public opinion, Tönnies’s die Öffentliche Meinung. The development of a genuine public opinion as an all-inclusive moral authority presupposes the press as a moral and cultural power, which is only achievable if it enjoys an unconditional freedom from political interference by the state and political parties, and from the intrusion of capital through its corporate power. Only in such circumstances can public opinion develop as an autonomous form of societal will, which enables the development of Society—a social order in which “policies and their ratification are derived from public opinion” (Tönnies 1887/2001, 247). Normative theories of public opinion to which Tönnies’s theory belongs consider publicness a fundamental principle of democratic governance and a condition of maintaining surveillance over the authorities. The principle of publicness referring to discursive visibility of opinions is central to the concept of public opinion since its very first normative conceptualizations (Splichal 2011). Unfortunately, normative theories seem much less influential ever since the empirically oriented approaches developed in the 1930s, and some of them—Tönnies’s in particular—almost completely forgotten. Such neglect cannot be attributed to an intellectual or conceptual inferiority of “substantive” normative theories, as Harold Lasswell, an enthusiastic advocate of quantitative approaches to political discourse, suggested by arguing that no progress in public opinion research was achieved at the theoretical level in the first half of the twentieth century (Lasswell 1957, 34–5). This disdain should be much more related to the lack of interest of social sciences in the political phenomenon of public opinion and, particularly, in “the problem of how to make the invisible world visible to the citizens of a modern state,” which is central to the relationship between public opinion and the press (Lippmann 1922/1998, 320). With the supremacy of empirical sociological and psychological research over political-­philosophical critique, the social foundation of public opinion—the public/s— melted into the masses and audiences, not as subjects of public opinion formation but rather as objects to be influenced. It is indeed paradoxical that—with the exception of historic-encyclopedic analyses of his work—Tönnies’s public opinion theory has been adeptly referred to only by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann, who conceptualized public opinion, in contrast to Tönnies, as empirically measurable individual “opinions that one can express in public without isolating oneself ” (1980/1993, 62) and unstatedly appropriated Tönnies’s thought that the judgment of a “gaseous public opinion” has “a thin skin, like a soap bubble” for the subtitle of his book, “public opinion—our social skin.”

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Notes 1. This chapter is based on my previous studies of Tönnies’s work, particularly Splichal (1999) and Splichal and Hardt (2000). 2. The Slovene translation was published in Ferdinand Tönnies, Kritika javnega mnenja, Fakulteta za družbene vede, Ljubljana 1998, translated by M. Sedmak. Parts of Tönnies’s Kritik der öffentlichen Meinung (no more than 15 percent of the original text) were translated in English by Hanno Hardt and Slavko Splichal, Ferdinand Tönnies on Public Opinion: Selections and Analyses, 111–221, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2000.

References Bentham, Jeremy 1791/1994, “Of Publicity.” Public Culture. Vol. 6, Issue 3. 581–95. Binkley, Robert C. 1928, “The Concept of Public Opinion in the Social Sciences.” Social Forces. Vol. 6. 389–96. Cahnman, Werner J. 1981, “Tönnies und die Theorie des sozialen Wandels: Eine Rekonstruktion.” Zeitschrift für Soziologie. Vol. 10, Issue 1. 7–16. Habermas, Jürgen 1962/1991, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Hardt, Hanno 1979, Social Theories of the Press: Early German and American Perspectives. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications. Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 1821/2001, Philosophy of Right. Translated by S. W. Dyde Kitchener. Ontario: Batoche Books. Kant, Immanuel 1781/ 1952, The Critique of Pure Reason. Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica. Lasswell, Harold D. 1957, “The Impact of Public Opinion in Our Society.” Public Opinion Quarterly. Vol. 21, Issue 1. 33–8. Lippmann, Walter 1922/1998, Public Opinion. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers. Lippmann, Walter 1927, The Phantom Public. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co. Locke, John 1690, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/l/locke/ john/l81u/. Mill, John Stuart 1859/2001, On Liberty. Kitchener, Ontario: Batoche Books. Mill, John Stuart 1861/2001, Representative Government. Kitchener, Ontario: Batoche Books. Noelle-Neumann, Elisabeth 1974, “The Spiral of Silence: A Theory of Public Opinion.” Journal of Communication. Vol. 24, Issue 2. 43–51. Noelle-Neumann, Elisabeth 1980/1993, The Spiral of Silence: Public Opinion—Our Social Skin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Palmer, Paul A. 1938, “Ferdinand Tönnies’s Theory of the Public Opinion.” Public Opinion Quarterly. Vol. 2, Issue 4. 584–95. Ross, Edward A. 1901/1969, Social Control: A Survey of the Foundations of Order. Cleveland, OH: The Press of Case Western Reserve University. Rudolph, Günther 1995, Die philosophisch-soziologischen Grundpositionen von Ferdinand Tönnies: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Kritik der bürgerlichen Soziologie. Hamburg: Rolf Fechner Verlag. Splichal, Slavko 1999, Public Opinion: Developments and Controversies in the 20th Century. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Splichal, Slavko 2012, Transnationalization of the Public Sphere and the Fate of the Public. New York: Hampton Press. Splichal, Slavko and Hardt, Hanno 2000, “Tönnies, Public Opinion and the Public Sphere.” In Ferdinand Tönnies on Public Opinion: Selections and Analyses. Edited by Hanno Hardt and Slavko Splichal, 49–110. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1887/2001, Community and Civil Society [Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft]. Translated by Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



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Tönnies, Ferdinand 1916, “Zur Theorie der öffentlichen Meinung.” Schmollers Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung und Volkswirtschaft im Deutschen Reiche. Vol. 40, Issue 4. 2001–30. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1922, Kritik der öffentlichen Meinung. Berlin: Verlag von Julius Springer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1923, “Macht und Wert der Öffentlichen Meinung.” Die Dioskuren: Jahrbuch für Geisteswissenschaften. Vol. 2, Issue 2. 72–99. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1928, “Die öffentliche Meinung in unserer Klassik.” Archiv für Buchgewerbe und Gebrauchsgraphik. Vol. 4. 31–49. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1971, Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied and Empirical. Selected Writings. Edited by Werner Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Wilson, Francis Graham 1962, A Theory of Public Opinion. Chicago: Henry Regnery. Yankelovich, Daniel 1991, Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

Chapter Nine The Politics of Ferdinand Tönnies Niall Bond

While Ferdinand Tönnies is recognized as a founding father of German sociology primarily because of the importance of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, a work he published in 1887 at the age of 32, and because of the leading role he played as president of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS) from its founding in 1909 until his ousting by National Socialist Hans Freyer and the subsequent deactivation of the DGS in 1933, he is among other things a preeminently political thinker. Tönnies has enjoyed the status as a founder of German and thus global sociology alongside other members of the sociological canon such as Georg Simmel and Max Weber mainly because he called himself a sociologist during a period in which sociology was identified as a source of threats to the existing order of the Second Empire—paradoxically, both liberalism in its relationship to the western European, positivist tradition, and socialism, of which Heinrich von Treitschke had warned more than a decade before the publication of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. These political contestations of sociology’s legitimacy were backed up with epistemological arguments advanced by practitioners and philosophers of history opposed to “western European” social theory, for instance, Tönnies’s rival at the University of Kiel, Wilhelm Dilthey, whose disdain for sociology was attenuated when Georg Simmel introduced Dilthey’s philosophical insights to the field, or Heidelberg Neo-Kantians around Heinrich Rickert, who saw the redemption of the sociological project in Max Weber’s sociological categories and comments on “regularities.” Although Tönnies has long been linked almost exclusively to sociology, when Tönnies first wrote Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, sociology constituted only a third of his disciplinary identity. While the first book was dedicated to concepts he called sociological, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Bond 2009a, in Bond 2013b), the second dealt with concepts of psychology, Wesenwille and Kürwille, and the third with concepts of natural law that fall into the domain of political theory. The decision by intellectual historian Quentin Skinner and political philosopher Raymond Geuss to include Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft in Cambridge University Press’s Texts in the History of Political Thought shows that it is as much a work of “political thought” as of “sociology.” Jose Harris’s and Margaret Hollis’s translation, in so many respects an advance in scholarship on Tönnies, shows that the work’s very title, Community and Civil Society, is open to polemical political debate, inasmuch as the title they chose situates the work in a different political debate from that Tönnies intended. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, while recognized as fundamental far outside Germany, has to a large extent been spurned by Germany’s postwar sociology, although it has flourished in the

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­ nglish-speaking world and Japan and enjoyed a favorable reception in France, where E Tönnies’s thought has been deployed in political discussions inter alia in works on citizenship (Bond 2014; Duchesne 1997; Schnapper 1994) and debates on political loyalty. Yet in the erudite serenity of Oxford’s cloisters, putative political implications of the work led Ralph Dahrendorf at Saint Anthony’s to oppose Jose Harris’s British Academy–funded project at Saint Catherine’s more than half a century after the collapse of the Third Reich. Dahrendorf argued as a liberal opposed to the dissemination of ideas contrary to his own, however influential they may have been not just in the history of politics, but also in the founding of his own specific disciplines, and however much insight might be gained from a critical reflection on what Tönnies meant to say. It may be remembered here that Tönnies’s last public positions during the Third Reich were a defense of free speech and the prophecy that liberalism would be resurrected in a higher form. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft was conceived as (1) a pessimistic philosophy of history, the suppositions behind which were being contested in Kiel by Wilhelm Dilthey (1883) but continued to exercise appeal; (2) a sociological work in which human coexistence with its vertical and horizontal forms of organization were related first to internal or “psychological” forms and second to normative orders theorized in what Tönnies calls “natural law,” partly inspiring the sociologies of Georg Simmel, Max Weber, Werner Sombart and a number of lesser known sociologists in the German-speaking world, as well as global sociology through its reception in the English-speaking world; (3) a polemical political tract with far-reaching ideological appeal that could be read alternatively as a revolutionary or reactionary response to liberalism. It is assumed that during the work’s heyday among Germany’s Jugendbewegung, many of Tönnies’s self-proclaimed acolytes may have given up reading the text because of its dense, plodding style; Tönnies, flattered by the success of his work in 1912 after a quarter century of indifference, dedicated an edition to Germany’s youth, but later denied that the work had political implications for various reasons, academic and political. Academically, Tönnies had decided to jump on the bandwagon of Weber’s battle for “value neutrality,” which for Weber meant freeing humanity from the thralls of unconscious value judgments, but for Tönnies did not imply equally radical consequences: he was just as happy to espouse the Genossenschaftsbewegung in the 1922 edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft without clarifying its pertinence within the work, as he had been to expose a number of political and social preferences and prejudices, emancipatory and oppressive, in the 1887 edition. A political reason Tönnies declared his work was not a political tract was that it was embraced by ideologists for whom Tönnies had little sympathy in revolutionary as well as counterrevolutionary camps. Tönnies was part of a tide of social moralists in the human sciences preaching from the vantage of the greater or lesser comfort of institutional positions and oblivious to the implication of perspectivist value neutrality. In Germany, few have seen Tönnies as the thoughtful normative, politically liberal critic of economic liberalism, globalization and the market he was; it is above all in the Ferdinand Tönnies Gesellschaft that Tönnies is celebrated as the only sociologist of reputation to resist National Socialism, notwithstanding the readiness of Nazis to see affinities in his thinking. Elsewhere, German sociologists have either been socialized in ignorance of the history of their discipline after René König chose to break with sociology as social philosophy—taking distance not just



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from Tönnies, but also from Theodor Adorno and the Frankfurt School and identifying Durkheimian sociology as the true path to empirical science—or been embarrassed by associations between Tönnies and ideologies associated with the term Gemeinschaft during Weimar’s postmortem after 1945. The histories of scientific disciplines often assumed to be part of a corpus of human sciences of universal validity are written in languages and in national traditions with particularistic political cultures. Tönnies’s intellectual contributions and agendas are appreciated differently outside Germany, with whose philosophical tradition he is so readily identified, notwithstanding his cosmopolitan attitude and non-German influences. The reasons lie in the politics of Ferdinand Tönnies, and in the politics with which his thought has been associated. And while it has been said of Durkheim, in contrast to Max Weber, that his political positions were divorced from his theory, Tönnies’s social theory issues from political theory and feeds back into political theory and ideology. The politics of Ferdinand Tönnies shall be considered at various levels. First, on the theoretical level, we shall look at the genesis of Tönnies’s political and social theory and sociology, considering Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as a political manifesto with broad political appeal, however “apolitical” many of his would-be followers perceived themselves, given that an apolitical position is a political position. Second, we shall discuss Tönnies’s political socialization, biography and the political causes and academic positions through which he forged his own political identity. A third aspect to be considered is that of Tönnies’s own political positions, with politics understood as organized control over a community and negotiations and transactions for achieving this control, and also as attempts to influence political structures and the distribution of wealth; we shall consider his quest for empowerment or renouncement of political influence. Tönnies’s concepts went on to influence later political debates, for instance, the opposition between liberals and communitarians in the English-speaking world or the opposition between “republicans” and “communitarians” in the French-speaking world, which in a sense follows other struggles over the occupation of the concept of community; while the notion of Volksgemeinschaft was a contested terrain disputed by most political parties during the Weimar Republic, “communauté nationale” was, for instance, to be mobilized by French patriots in the résistance and by the Milice long before Dominique Schnapper wrote La communauté des citoyens. In international and supranational politics, the term was neutralized after the war to embody broader imagined communities, for instance, in the phrase “security community” (Karl Deutsch) or in the construction of the “European Community.” But these questions as to postTönniessian debates on the notion of “community” in politics go beyond the subject of this chapter. Tönnies’s thought emerged in a context of conflicting political interests expressed by preeminently political writers whose thought fed into Tönnies’s own theory; Tönnies was concerned with: •• the concept of “natural law”; •• Thomas Hobbes’s justification of the absolutist Commonwealth; •• John Locke’s defense of political society;

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•• the emergence of understandings of the market during the Enlightenment and the concomitant idea of the historical development of “civil society”; •• an increasing awareness of the distinction between the apparatus of the state and the mass of individuals who are governed; •• the Romantic response and a reaction to rational natural law and to bourgeois understandings of “civil society” with a gradual shift in meaning of the term Gemeinschaft and the spread of the term Gemeinwesen; •• the opposition of state and “bürgerliche Gesellschaft”; •• the subsequent shift in focus from “civil” to “bourgeois” aspects in references to bürgerlich; •• an emerging consciousness of social classes and class interests; •• the social constructions of imagined communities such as nation and race; •• diametrical oppositions to the state perceived either as the defender of bourgeois interests (Karl Marx), or as the defender and promoter of social parasites and the degeneration of the species (Herbert Spencer); •• understandings of units of belonging as family, localities, communities of language, “cultural” communities, nation, race etc.; •• debates on the criteria (racial, educational, of fortune etc.) for participation in the political life of the nation through access to elected office or the vote; •• and not least of all issues of gender. This thought was marked by wars between nations and struggles between classes and genders.

Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft and Political Theory Within Ferdinand Tönnies’s thought, the conceptual dichotomy of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft contains heterogeneous elements influenced by a host of political theories and ideologies. If Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft need to be disambiguated, such disambiguation is opposed by those who base their commitment to causes on concepts they prefer to regard as unambiguous. Tönnies was aware he marked a cogent and influential concept—not the concepts he first coined, such as Wesenwille or Kürwille or Mögschaft, which never really went viral—but Gemeinschaft, disseminated in English as “community,” and perhaps the most important German catchword for creating meaning or social or political identity during the first half of the twentieth century: here, his philosophical discussion of the concept set the points for other debates. Tönnies was convinced that the conceptual opposition between Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft ran “deeper” than the opposition between Staat and bürgerliche Gesellschaft (alternatively civil society or bourgeois society), which had also been widely used signifiers before philosophers had explored their relationship. “Depth” is of course metaphorical: Tönnies opposed “depth” (Tiefsinn) and “acuity” (Scharfsinn) as expressions of feminine and masculine intelligence. The refocusing from the opposition of “civil society” to the “state,” with its implications of civic autonomous economic or political action with a stress on civic liberties, to the opposition of “society” to “community,” which expresses



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skepticism toward “forces” of “society”—individualism, purposive or instrumental rationalism, a quest for empowerment and manipulation—as against “community”—based on intimacy, trust, understanding and love—was both a response to rapid industrialization and urbanization and consolation for a bourgeoisie that had come to terms with the authoritarianism of the reaction to the 1848 revolutions, and later of Bismarck’s regime with its semi-potent parliament—suggesting a trade-off between the inner values of community—affective and artistic depth—and the external values of society— power and wealth. Curiously, despite Tönnies’s opposition to bearers of state power, his work was embraced not just by apologists of patriarchy, but also by utopians in favor of absolute state power. Tönnies may have seen here a preference for passivity over activity or vita contemplativa over vita activa as conducive to greater depth: the conceptual dichotomy, marked by mystic renunciation with references to Jakob Böhme, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Arthur Schopenhauer, may in the vantage of certain value hierarchies be deemed more “profound” than the contrast between state and civil society, which may encourage the Bürger—as a citizen and/ or as a bourgeois—to engage in civic, economic and commercial activity, re-founding his relations on the consideration of others as means to power or to money. After the Second World War, liberals such as Ralf Dahrendorf felt that Tönnies had expressed an indifference to the liberal democratic rule of law and had contested that relationships that were freely entered into and dissolved could be sources of satisfaction, and that he did not see the possibility of happiness in a modern society based on rational free choice. Tönnies concludes that “civilization” meant the end of all “culture”— the opposition was to become central in nationalist German discourses that contrasted German culture and western European civilization. Dahrendorf argues that Tönnies’s “perfidious” dichotomy was historically misleading, sociologically uninformed and politically illiberal (Dahrendorf 1971, 154). However, in his sweeping condemnation of Tönnies, Dahrendorf judges the concepts outside the context of their origin. Although the history of the concept of Gemeinschaft was most marked by the Nazis’ use of the concept of Volksgemeinschaft, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft was written half a century before the so-called Machtergreifung. In his writings on the concept of Gemeinschaft, Dahrendorf does not mention that the concept of Volksgemeinschaft had been used by virtually all of the German political parties and politicians apart from the communists during the Weimar Republic, including the liberal Theodor Heuss. The nasty legitimatizing of race exclusion through the concept of Gemeinschaft was implicitly the starting point of a conference organized by Detlef Lehnert on Gemeinschaftsdenken in Europa (Lehnert 2013): the European comparison, focusing on Germany and Sweden, shows that the ideal of an imagined community (Anderson 1991) as a place of a potential Wirgefühl, a sense of us, and economic redistribution in the first half of the twentieth century did not lead to an ideology of exclusion in all places. It is important to illuminate not just the benevolent, but also the malevolent use of the concept of Gemeinschaft because the malevolent use of the concept had such an impact on the discussion of political culture in postwar Germany that little notice was taken of the fact that Tönnies’s original intention was to elaborate a sociological concept around an ethical concern: that of compassion. One of Tönnies’s sources was Schopenhauer,

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not merely, as has been supposed, through the reception of the theory of volition, but also the theory of morality: Schopenhauer attributes moral action to intuitive acts of sympathy or compassion (Mitleid); egotism is per se morally neutral; hostility is the source of immoral acts perpetrated against others. While compassion is the basis of Gemeinschaft, Gesellschaft is based on egotism, and hostility or struggle is excluded from Tönnies’s sociological categories because he argues that sociology should focus on motives for mutual affirmation (Bond 2011a; also in Bond 2013b). However, history has shown us that hostility and ill will toward others inside or outside have been as powerful sources of group identity. Gemein of Gemeinschaft means common; it also means “mean” in the sense of malicious. Hostility is an explicit attribute within Tönnies’s discussion of Gemeinschaft when he looks at the political organization of Gemeinschaft, Gemeinwesen. In the third book of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, “Soziologische Gründe des Naturrechts” (§21), Tönnies explains that Gemeinwesen is the “organized people” as a particular, individual self and therefore an institution of natural law. Further, in §25, he draws a parallel between the relationship of Gemeinwesen to Gemeinschaft and that of animal (zoon) to plant (phyton). Gemeinschaft is an organic social whole and Gemeinwesen an animal that conquers and fights, presenting itself as an army and recognizing friend and enemy, prey and danger. Thus, while Tönnies assumes that the starting point of sociology is the mutually affirmative relationship, later going on to suggest that relationships of hostility are relegated to “social psychology” as “unorganized matter,” a hostility directed to the outside is found in his concept of community when organized as a political body. Society or Gesellschaft, on the other hand, is constantly presented as a social configuration of domination through the economy in which individuals, all free by law, are subjected to the ruthlessness of capital, which in Tönnies’s world is more the capitalism of trade than of industry. As for power, it is present in two German lexemes, Macht and Gewalt (which implies violence). Macht is present as a source of social distinction and pleasure in a relationship of caring domination in Gemeinschaft (book 1, §4). Gewalt is used in Tönnies’s theory of Gesellschaft to indicate the power exercised over workers and in Tönnies’s theory of Gemeinschaft to point to violence issuing from the passions of youth, but also to refer to the judicial power, and again to the power of the patriarch. In other words, hostility, fear and subjugation are present in both Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as Tönnies describes the two phenomena as “normal types.” However, while domination in Gesellschaft is related only to the pecuniary interest of capitalists, Tönnies endows power in Gemeinschaft with a both sacred and libidinous quality. The presence of violence in relationships of affective mutual affirmation is driven home in the opening of Max Weber’s Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft: while Vergemeinschaftung—an emotional relationship—is the most radical contrast to Kampf or “struggle,” the most intimate Vergemeinschaftung is frequently marked by violence committed against the emotionally most vulnerable member of the relationship. Here, Weber adopted the term Vergemeinschaftung as opposed to Gemeinschaft to indicate his view that emotiveness is found in limited circles of human individuals as opposed to large groups of strangers, and he stresses the presence of violence and subjugation in “community” or love relations as a reaction to the celebration of transfigured Gemeinschaft so prevalent in the youth movement of the day.



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Concepts, notably concepts in and of politics, do not so much consist of an intercultural, overreaching, denotative component flanked by cultural connotations but of associations of meanings that depend on culture but in the end are often words in idiolects of individuals often engaged in a dialogue of the deaf while harboring the illusion that they belong to an intellectual and emotional community. Such illusions typically flounder when politicians move from opposition to government. The dichotomy of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft was, for instance, advanced by champions of National Socialist natural law such as Hans-Helmut Dietze (cf. Bond 2011c, in 2013b)—a little known fact, since Leo Strauss emphasized the opposition of legal positivists opposed to natural law in the collapse of the liberal normative order. The Volksgemeinschaft—“folk” or “people’s” or “national” “community”—was used by politicians across the political spectrum, and Tönnies’s immediate circle was socialized in opposition to the right wing, culminating in Tönnies’s outspoken and courageous positions against the Nazis and the loss of his pension; and yet at least one member of his family was drawn into the regime and served its racial doctrines. In the foreword to the eighth edition of 1935, Tönnies announces that he had not intended to write a political tract and distances himself from applications that the deluded regarded as clever—a clear allusion to the Nazis. However, within the concept of Gemeinschaft, so frequently preferred over Gesellschaft, so many heterogeneous elements are conflagrated that it is necessary to clarify the terms’ often inconsistent meanings. Tönnies had every reason to be aware of the ambiguity of the two terms. It is true that his essentialist supposition was that the true or core meaning of a word could be carved out of the crude mass of language: while Max Weber opens Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft by offering a nominalist definition of “sociology” “in the present understanding of this very ambiguously used word” (Weber 1922, 1), Tönnies writes that “all familiar, confidential and exclusive living together (we find) is understood to be life in community (Gemeinschaft),” confident that he had discovered the true meaning. However, in his earlier essay on Thomas Hobbes, he had used Gemeinschaft (Tönnies 1975) to translate Hobbes’s notion of the Commonwealth (Bond 2011b in Bond 2013b), designating the pacification of hostile human individuals driven by concupiscent and irascible passions through a covenant subjugating all to a power with a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence. Here, the basis of Gemeinschaft (within Hobbes’s understanding of Commonwealth) is neither familiarity nor love but a fear of death that conduces men, who are capable of reasoning, to abstain from mutual massacre and that allowed Hobbes to legitimize monarchical absolutism. Gesellschaft, by contrast, was Locke’s vision of a “politic” or “civil” society, based for Tönnies on a more optimistic understanding of the nature of humans, who did not need a police state to understand the benefit of peaceable social intercourse. The German regime under which Tönnies died transformed “society” into “community” through Gleichschaltung, consecrating the mixture of submission to the Führer and fear of death with the term Gemeinschaft, political communities forged in the celebration of both Eros and Thanathos. Tönnies transposes the concept of Gemeinschaft from his translation of English natural law into a new sort of political theology through the introduction of elements of romanticism and socialism as reactions to the dictates of reason and to capitalism. Tönnies is

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indebted to romanticism for a reevaluation of feeling, for its criticism of rationalism in the sciences of economics and law, for relativizing rational natural law, for differing legitimations of authority, for the notion of an original will, for an “organic” as opposed to a mechanical understanding of the foundations of society, and for a particular notion of historical understanding. He also uses the term Gemeinwesen in the tradition of Christoph Martin Wieland and Johann Gottlieb Fichte (as it was later used by Marx), although it is also found as a translation of Hobbes’s Commonwealth in 1887. Romanticism was a modern reaction to rationalism in politics and economics. Tönnies was further inspired by Adam Müller and Friedrich List and hoped to create a higher synthesis of romanticism and rationalism: his friend Friedrich Paulsen suggested that Tönnies was closest to Thomas Carlyle. Tönnies was alienated by the Romantic reaction, although he developed his own pessimistic moral philosophy of history in the wake of Rousseau and with a resonance of Fichte’s idea of an age of complete sinfulness (Bond 2011d). He ridiculed the fashion among Romantics to find their way back into the Catholic Church. While in his elucidation of the sources of the theory of Gemeinschaft Tönnies refers to Bachofen’s Mutterrecht, his theory of patriarchy draws on the natural law of Christian Wolff, the romantic “restoration of the sciences of the State” (Staatswissenschaften) by the extreme conservative from Bern, Karl Ludwig von Haller (1768–1854). The analogy of the organism in its opposition to the mechanism, which Herder had adopted from categories that go back to antiquity, took on a new meaning in the challenge to modern rationalism developed by Schlegel, and was introduced into legal theory by Savigny and into political economy by Adam Müller. Tönnies’s theory of volition goes back through Schopenhauer to Schelling, who had systematized various ideas expressed by early modern mystic Jakob Böhme, also known as the “philosopher of love.” Schelling’s idea of an original, unitary will influenced Novalis’s transfigured vision of medievalism and Catholicism and marked the connection between an organic, biologically oriented theory of the will and romantic theories of history. These romantic influences, alongside the rational natural law issuing from the tradition of Hobbes and Locke, led to the juxtaposition of two theories of the state that correspond to two legitimations of nation— the nation as contract and the nation as genius. The theory of the social contract in its modern form, the genealogy of which Tönnies sees in Hobbes and then Locke and finally Rousseau, is the point of departure for Tönnies’s theory of Gesellschaft, while the notion of nation as genius issues, on one hand, from romanticism and, on the other hand, from Hegel’s idea of the “concrete substance of the folk spirit (Volksgeist),” which Tönnies accepts as an expression of empirical reality, all the while taking distance from Hegel’s celebration of the reactionary state (Tönnies 1979). This contrast corresponds to another contrast between the nation as a political entity, on one hand, or as a cultural entity, on the other. The sense of belonging is based on an understanding of civility and contractual duties or on ethnic appurtenance. This opposition was projected on that of western European republicanism, on one hand, and the German model of the cultural nation, on the other. While the modern state (Staat) mixes heterogeneous elements of tribes who abandon their community values in the pursuit of profit, the political organization, Gemeinwesen of Gemeinschaft, is the hearth of community based on value homogeneity, which can be seen both as a requisite for Rousseauesque democracy and as the



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ideal of metaphysical unity found in Novalis. Tönnies’s tendency to see true unity only in the past is one reason that conservative and even reactionary readers read Tönnies with sympathy, however much distance Tönnies was later to take from romanticism. However, Tönnies’s use of the term Gemeinwesen was to evolve and become democratized: at the 1926 Sociological Congress, Tönnies announced that the state could come to resemble a true Gemeinwesen through a democratic constitution, democratic finances and a democratic spirit (Tönnies 1927a, 216). Romanticism was the main basis for Tönnies’s own rejection of capitalism, or more accurately, commercialism. Confessional influences of a family background of Lutheran ministers may have been mixed with a feeling that his father, who had turned from farming to banking, and his brother, who was a London trader, had betrayed values of the home in Tönnies’s own skepticism toward capitalism and the market: the skepticism developed under the influence of Karl Marx, for whom the theory of society in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is so indebted as to appear to be an homage, but was later channeled into moderate reformism at the Verein für Sozialpolitik, the Association for Social Policy, opposed to John Prince Smith’s advocacy for free trade and market fundamentalism in the Kongress deutscher Volkswirte (Congress of German Economists). The Verein promoted mainstream German state-oriented solutions for the Soziale Frage, the social issue of wealth distribution and class struggle. Most members, but not Tönnies, saw hope lying in the “social Monarchy.” In the Verein, there were differences in ­generations—between those academics with whom Tönnies had studied, such as Rudolph von Gneist, Gustav von Schmoller and Adolph Wagner, and the youngest generation, who were to go on to lay the foundations of the DGS—inter alia Tönnies, Heinrich Herkner, Werner Sombart and Max Weber. The Association’s stated aim was to act as an arbiter in the peaceful resolution of the social issues by educating the “lower classes on the basis of the existing order so as to integrate them into the social organism in a harmonic and peaceful manner.” Another socialist from Schleswig-Holstein, Lorenz von Stein, like Tönnies’s mentor, Theodor Storm, had fought for local liberties in Schleswig-Holstein prior to 1848, and defined reformist socialism as opposed to communism (Bond 2011e, in Bond 2013b). Relationships in the Association were occasions for Tönnies, for instance, to join Heinrich Herkner in defending workers’ freedom of association, but also to join Johannes Plenge, also a member, in promoting the idea of Volksgemeinschaft as presented in the Ideen von 1914 in contrast to those of the French Revolution of 1789. Other members of this trend were the Neo-Kantian philosopher from Marburg, Paul Natorp, and Tönnies. During and after the war, Tönnies devoted efforts to arguing that the guilt for the war lay outside Germany. This conflict in international politics was presented as a competition among models of society and the benefits they procured for peoples of remote parts of the world. It was Tönnies’s reception of Karl Marx that was to present the greatest problems for his professional development (Bond 2013a, in Bond 2013b). Tönnies was disgusted by the social inequality and misery he had seen in London when visiting his brother, and wrote to his friend Friedrich Paulsen on 10 May 1882 that if he were not bound to considerations for his family, he would defect to the communists (Tönnies, Paulsen 155). While Gustav von Schmoller’s critique of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, which appeared shortly

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after the book’s publication, mentions the influence of Karl Marx, Albert Schäffle decries Tönnies’s “Marxomania.” This is corroborated by long passages in Tönnies’s Theorie der Gesellschaft, which were more or less explicit quotes of Marx’s Capital. This enforced the frequent association of the educated bourgeoisie that sociology necessarily meant affinities to Social Democracy or, worse, communism. Friedrich Althoff, who ran the universities at the Ministry for Culture, feared the social agitation linked with sociology. Tönnies’s early socialism was left-wing. In his brief autobiography of 1922, Tönnies mentions four political causes he had fought for in the course of his life: the Hamburg dockworkers’ strike, the cooperative movement, land reform and the reform of the Volkshochschule. However, he tended to direct his appeals to the bourgeoisie (Tönnies 1897). When he justified his decision in 1922 not to join the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Tönnies mentioned differences between his vision and the Erfurt Platform of 1891 (Tönnies 1922, 23); Arthur Mitzman suspected that Tönnies was more in favor of paternalistic state socialism than general suffrage and mass democracy (Mitzman 1987, 54). Although Tönnies later acknowledged that when he wrote Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, his understanding of Capital was patchy, it matured prior to the appearance of his Marx. Leben und Lehre in 1920, when Tönnies was 65 years old (Tönnies 1921), a work that is available in English (Tönnies 1974). Tönnies does justice to Marx’s achievements: while the Classical School supposed that the modern economic order of the market was normal and that economic agents who concluded contracts were free, Marx saw that this was a fiction and that cultures had known other orders. Marx also recognized social change and the foundations of social movements in material needs. Nevertheless, Tönnies points to Staudinger’s observation that to equate all class struggles in the course of history means to ignore the differences in the forms of struggle. While Marx claimed to have transcended utopianism, Tönnies regards his vision of the future as the confused fantasies of a callow youth. Marx had vastly overestimated the readiness and ability of European and more particularly German workers to trigger a revolution and above all to take over political leadership after the revolution. Tönnies’s admiration for Marx’s notion of alienation is also put into perspective because Tönnies sees alienation less as the result of industrialization than as the more ubiquitous consequence of the trading spirit (Handelsgeist). Tönnies is not in entire agreement with the surplus theory of value. He is more impressed by Marx’s analysis of the social consequences of untrammeled capitalism: the concentration of populations in cities is damaging for the physical health of workers and nefarious for the intellectual potential of farm workers in the country. Tönnies regards Marx’s description of capitalism as a lasting contribution to the human sciences; but he writes that Marx had underestimated the adaptability and thus the longevity of capitalism. Tönnies may have suspected that his own predictions of the collapse of culture were based on similar premises. Tönnies notes that the political consequences Marx drew seemed to depend on his moods: Capital contains no mention of the dictatorship of the proletariat and seems to allow for democratic reform within industrial societies— but this seems of marginal importance to Marx. Although Marx was capable of selfcriticism, Marx’s own political commitments were anything but objective; here Tönnies seems to believe that political causes can be proved objectively valid (as when he espoused



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the cooperative movement in later editions of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft). Tönnies was most shocked by Marx’s bloodthirsty appeals for the revolutionary avant-garde to depose the bourgeoisie, and by Marx’s inability to imagine appealing to the conscience of the bourgeoisie; these are the reasons Marx viewed the primary duty of the worker as the conquest of political power. For although Marx was right in assuming that being determines consciousness, the contrary was also conceivable. The most important distinction between Marx and Tönnies, however, lies in their respective philosophies of history. For Tönnies, the rise of rationality among the oppressed workers as well as the ruling classes and the ensuing struggles would not end in a communist paradise, but in the death of culture. Tönnies viewed Marx’s prophecy that society is only the final chapter of a new history of humanity as entirely unfounded. These theoretical premises opened up a vast number of political references through which Tönnies could take positions and contribute to the political life of the society he lived in—from the Danish Empire of his childhood over the Second Empire and the Weimar Republic until the Third Reich. Tönnies was not just one of the deepest, but also one of the most politically committed and courageous social theoreticians of his generation. It is, however, always a great risk to expect consistency of someone whose education and theory had absorbed such a vast number of disparate sources, references and values.

Ferdinand Tönnies’s Political Development Tönnies began as a political thinker and remained one: although the Gemeinschaft– Gesellschaft dichotomy figures in Thomas Mann’s idealizing of the “apolitical” (Mann 1960), Tönnies was anything but apolitical, and was perceived of as highly political in various acceptances of the term—inasmuch as he is concerned with the distribution of power and wealth within the polis, but also, to put a Schmittian spin on it, inasmuch as his terms have had him associated with various political colors as a friend or as an enemy (Schmitt 1932). Schmitt, seen in retrospect primarily as a National Socialist, was one of Tönnies’s motley correspondents, as were (in alphabetical order) Theobold Bethmann Hollweg, the liberal Imperial Chancellor of Germany from 1909 to 1917; Heinrich Braun, the revisionist social democrat; his wife, Lily Braun, the feminist social democrat; Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi, the founder of the Pan-Europe Union; Heinrich Cunow, the anti-revisionist Social Democrat; Spencer Compton Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire, a founder of the Liberal Party who declined to become the prime minister of the United Kingdom on three occasions; Hans Freyer, an admirer and later National Socialist sociologist who posited a third category in the evolution from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft to Volk; Maximilian Harden, a homophobic denouncer of the Prussian diplomat and friend of Wilhelm II, Philipp zu Eulenburg, as a homosexual; Max Horkheimer, the founder of Kritische Theorie; Karl Kautsky, the orthodox Marxist in the SPD; Johann Plenge, the nationalist theoretician of German exceptionalism; Bertrand Russell, who oscillated between liberalism and socialism; Othmar Spann, the Austrian sociologist often regarded as a precursor to Austrian National Socialism; Herbert Spencer, the Social Darwinist, to give but a sample. Tönnies not only had improbable bedfellows,

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but was tarred as a political adversary for contrasting reasons, as a vaterlandsloser Geselle or as a jingoist on the grounds of patriotic deficiencies or excesses. In 1887, his use of the term “sociology” in the tradition of Comte and Spencer meant he was regarded as unpatriotic in an academic environment in which historiography was being defended on political and epistemological grounds as the only valid basis for the human sciences. In a sense, his cosmopolitan readiness to accept English-speaking and French-speaking philosophers as references marginalized him within the national scientific community until such time as his concept of Gemeinschaft, with its Romantic origins, became identified as specifically German. At the same time, his reception of Karl Marx and positions on behalf of the Hamburg dockworkers and later the cooperative movement meant that he was regarded with skepticism by the bourgeois academic establishment at a time at which sociology and socialism were conflagrated—notwithstanding the consciously bourgeois and urban identifications of Georg Simmel and Max Weber. Theodor Storm, who was Tönnies’s model in so many respects, declared that he was more interested in the struggle within the country than the struggle over its borders. But when Carl Schmitt observed at the beginning of the Weimar Republic that of the two myths of the age, the myth of the nation had shown itself to be more vital than the myth of class (Schmitt 1923), this could also have been a comment on Tönnies’s own political direction: at the time of the First World War, he became involved in a group of jingoist ideologists which sought out the specific virtues of Germany as lying outside the tradition of Western democracy or republicanism, and during the early Weimar Republic he devoted his energies to seeking out the culprits for the First World War outside Germany. This priority of place over class in the division of labor is consistent with Tönnies’s theory of Gemeinschaft, in which sources of emotional affinities are found in blood and soil, rather than in class interest. After the collapse of the Third Reich, the association of the term Volksgemeinschaft was seen from the vantage of liberal democracy as a reason to associate Tönnies with anti-liberalism (Dahrendorf 1965)  and from the vantage of socialism to declare, notwithstanding Tönnies’s commitment to Enlightenment, that Tönnies had contributed to the destruction of reason (Lukacs 1954). A bit more than a decade later, in the East German capital, the Realsozialist, Günther Rudolph published a Ph.D. thesis reclaiming Tönnies as a bourgeois sociologist on the path toward socialism (Rudolph 1966) (choosing to make no mention of Tönnies’s rejection of socialist revolution), while in the West German capital, the later Christian Democrat labor minister Norbert Blüm published a PhD thesis on Tönnies from the vantage of social Catholicism (Blüm 1967). Tönnies’s political attitudes can be understood only within their historical context without resorting to the reductio ad Hitleram of which Leo Strauss warned as early as the 1950s (Strauss 1956), and to which Dirk Käsler succumbed when he announced that Tönnies could not be “exculpated”—of what, one cannot know because no charge was formulated and no guilt demonstrated (Käsler 1988). Tönnies identified with politics and was identified with politics. He noted that for the broadly but superficially educated he had the reputation of being a Social Democrat; however, in 1907 and 1908, it was the Freisinnige Volkspartei that suggested he be a candidate to the Landtag. Tönnies’s association with the political group is remarkable for a number of reasons. The party had emerged in 1893 from a splitting of the Deutsche



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Freisinnige Partei, taking up the tradition of the Deutsche Fortschrittspartei, which was in favor of parliamentary, constitutional monarchies, liberal freedoms of the press, assembly and association, the separation of church and state and nondiscrimination for all confessions, the abolition of Bismarck’s protective tariff and the social security legislation inasmuch as its leader, Eugen Richter, felt this diminished workers’ inclination to help themselves. Richter had been an economic Liberal from the Volkswirtschaftlicher Kongress, but was convinced by Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch of the merits of the cooperative movement. He was an adversary of August Bebel, who remained a Social Democrat convinced of the inevitability of international class revolution and opposed the revisionism of Eduard Bernstein within the Social Democratic Party in the 1890s. In 1907, the only International Socialist Congress ever to take place in Germany was organized in Stuttgart: militarism figured prominently on the agenda, with Jean Jaurès pleading for a mass strike to prevent the outbreak of war, but with Bebel opposed because he feared government reprisals against the Social Democrats. Tönnies’s position at the time shows that he was closer to the liberals than the socialists in 1907—he accepted a position as an intern (Hospitant) (Johannsen 1908). He later distanced himself from this liberal party for reasons of incompatibility (Jacoby 1971, 244), and joined the Social Democrats shortly before the end of the Weimar Republic. Tönnies was politically aware from a young age and took the principled oppositional position of irreverence. Schleswig-Holstein was a Danish protectorate when he was born. Tönnies writes down his recollections of his life in 1922 (Tönnies 1922) and 1935 (Tönnies 1935); however, they differ according to the environment from which he delimited himself. In 1922, at the culmination of his nationalist period, in his opposition to the post-Versailles order, which he declared a “murder of justice” as late as 1932, he recalled his enthusiasm in 1871 as a 16-year-old for Prussia’s victory over France, which he expressed in the weekly he published with friends, Im neuen Reich (Tönnies 1922, 3 (205)). In 1935, after the establishment of the Third Reich, he recalls another, more rooted oppositional role to Prussian hegemony, noting the locals’ preference for the Austrian over the Prussian troops during the occupation following the Danish defeat in 1864 (Tönnies 1935). On his eighth birthday on July 26, 1863, other boys had egged him on to declare his loyalty to Duke Friedrich VIII von Augustenburg, who had laid claim to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, but following the Austro-Prussian victory withdrew his claim upon pressure from Bismarck; subsequently, the duchies became a Prussian province, and any local who had sworn an oath to Duke Friedrich became ineligible for office. His political identity was thus primarily determined by opposition—to Danish and then Prussian hegemony over Schleswig-Holstein, to capitalism, later to Versailles, and finally to National Socialism. Just as after the defeat of the liberal revolutions in 1848 in which Tönnies’s friend Theodor Storm had taken a controversial position, the founding of the Second Empire in the 1870s again posed the question of loyalty with regard to nation or to class: in the theory of Gemeinschaft, class struggle is not an issue and loyalty is local (although it is said to extend as far as the vast, imagined community of the folk community, Volksgemeinschaft). However, Tönnies’s theory of Gesellschaft is marked by the prevalence of exploitation and class struggle. However, Tönnies’s conviction that alienation was the inexorable result of rationalism meant that not just the bourgeoisie but also

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workers would be alienated through rationalism, keeping Tönnies from adopting Marx’s optimistic utopian belief that the class struggle might lead to a classless society without domination. At the same time, Tönnies’s belief that Gemeinschaft is both the order of patriarchy and is founded on understanding (Verständnis) belies the experience that communication (or achieving communicative reason) is so often easier to engage in with those who are foreign to the normative orders of our socialization or our communities.

Later Publications between Political and Social Theory As we have shown, Tönnies’s “sociology” was anchored in questions of and a reception of political theory, which both preceded and followed his thought on “sociology.” While academically employed as a Privatdozent in social economics, and parallel to his institutional role in the founding of modern sociology, Tönnies continued to write in the field of political philosophy, notably in his critique of liberalism evidenced in two shorter publications that came out when he was 53 and 57—Liberalismus und Demokratie and Bürgerliche und politische Freiheit (Tönnies 1908b; Tönnies 1912)—but also in his publications on the theory of the state in Hobbes and Hegel, Anmerkungen über die Philosophie des Hobbes, Der Staatsgedanke des Hobbes, Die Lehre von den Volksversammlungen und die Urversammlungen in Hobbes’ Leviathan, his 1896 monography on Hobbes, Hobbes Leben und Lehre and Hegels Naturrecht, Zum Gedächtnis an Hegels Tod.

Tönnies and the State Tönnies’s own writings on the state are those of an intellectual historian seeking a synthesis of the contradictory views of Hobbes, Hegel, Lorenz von Stein and Marx. This is largely due to Tönnies’s position on language, which is that essential meanings of words need to be deduced. Since Schmitt’s intuitions, from which Reinhart Koselleck, Otto Brunner and Werner Conzs developed methodological premises that have served as an example, this approach may be seen as obsolete: while Hegel’s legal philosophy was based on the idea that the state, civil society and family coexisted, Lorenz von Stein saw civil society as existing in conflict with the state. Marx, on the other hand, saw the state as an ally of the bourgeoisie because it systematically defended the interest of capital against that of labor, and thus could only be spuriously democratic (scheindemokratisch). The treatment by the state of all individuals as free and equal laid waste to the foundations of community spirit. Yet another influence on Tönnies led to yet further conceptual confusion. The process from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft appears to be a process of individualization. In the first edition, Tönnies confuses the issue by implying an identity between “communism” and Gemeinschaft, on one hand, and “socialism” and Gesellschaft, on the other, when he chooses the subtitle “Communism and Socialism as Empirical Forms of Culture,” later explaining that he wanted to show that these social forms of existence were not utopias but had existed in history. But rather than simply encompassing the move from the commons to individual ownership and from a sense of affective appurtenance to the rational calculation of self-interest, the move to Gesellschaft furthermore includes monopoly formation within the economy, the manipulation of the state by dominant economic



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interests, and finally the taking on of arbitration functions by the state as described by Adolf Wagner: this dual understanding of Gesellschaft as both the move toward privatization and individualism and the subsequent re-socialization of property and reorganization of human relations by the state is commented on in Gustav von Schmoller’s critique of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, yet it is difficult to say whether Tönnies was fully aware of the incompatibility of the heterogeneous elements he squeezed into his “fundamental” concepts. According to this Wagnerian reading of the burgeoning of the state, the state does not serve only bourgeois or capitalist interests. This initial perception of the state’s tendency to spread out—which Schmitt later summed up as the quantitatively total state—is present in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, but it remains a problem that is not truly explicitly addressed. Tönnies does mention the standoff in the ideological opposition of his day (which is as topical now as it was then): “administrative nihilism” in keeping with Herbert Spencer’s utopia or “administrative universalism” in keeping with Adolf Wagner’s prophecy. Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft is thus a complex conceptual brew concocted by an author of an impressive erudition and willingness to grasp opposed views but unable to take real decisions regarding even the nominalist prerequisites to defining his basic concepts. The work thus presents a host of irreconcilable discourses on the state and society from Hobbes to Wagner via Locke, Rousseau, Hegel, von Stein, Marx, Spencer, Nietzsche and so forth within its very concepts, which ideologists of diverse and surprising provenance can delight in.

Tönnies, the Welfare State and Democracy There is an ambiguity in Tönnies’s own positions on the rise of the welfare state, known in Germany as the Sozialstaat. In various writings on the “social question,” Tönnies indicates his satisfaction that the government was increasingly choosing to regulate social problems, moving from simple poor laws to increasingly complex decrees on the working conditions of parts of the population to acts of social redistribution and the introduction of forms of progressive taxation to the implementation of universal insurance for health care, unemployment compensation, old age pensions and so forth. Yet Tönnies’s initial ambivalence regarding the welfare state as it was created in an exemplary manner in Germany is twofold: the organization of redistribution, on one hand, from the crafty capitalist to the courageous manual worker, on the other, from the capable to the incapable by the state detracts from community, inasmuch as the underlying sympathy behind community yields to purely administrative acts that eliminate the ethos of giving and receiving within a network of personal relations. To regulate giving detracts from the readiness of those who might otherwise give of their own free accord and the readiness of those who receive to acknowledge the moral character of the redistribution and feel or express recognition for those who give. But above all, the welfare state or Sozialstaat was instituted parallel to the writing of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft by Bismarck’s authoritarian regime, which had prohibited the Social Democrats and regarded universal insurance as a flanking measure for what Tönnies resented as intellectual and political repression. Consequently, Tönnies’s attitude to Bismarck’s groundbreaking creation of the modern welfare state was one of hostility, which alienated his friends who had decided to ally

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themselves to the Wilhelminian monarchy and thus enjoyed greater recognition from the academic establishment such as philosopher Friedrich Paulsen (Bond 2006). Tönnies’s position on democracy evolved over the years: the youthful conviction he expressed in exchanges with Paulsen was that political leadership should be reserved for the philosopher prince; this coexisted uneasily with the idea that the disenfranchised poor should be given power. He observed that the working class, deprived of political expression through Bismarck’s Socialist Laws, seemed to have been appeased through material security and seemed indifferent to “republicanism.” Ultimate political values behind Tönnies’s stances on democracy are neither apparent nor heartfelt. The Greek polis is presented in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as the quintessence of Gemeinschaft; this was consistent with Tönnies’s later position against a purely parliamentary democracy and in favor of plebiscites (Schlüter-Knauer 2008). On other occasions, notably during his jingoist during and after the First World War, Tönnies fashionably intimated that he was more in favor of laws adopted by an elite in the interest of the “people”—which could be understood as the people as the whole or the lower classes—but without the participation of the masses (Tönnies 1917g; 1922). Arthur Mitzman has expressed the view that Tönnies vacillated between hopes that the monarch might be converted to social awareness and republican governance, on one hand, and his earlier vision of an aristocratic democratic rule by citizens over 30 years of age who were selected on the basis of rigorous intellectual and physical ordeals, expressed in a letter to Paulsen (Mitzman 53ff.). This ambivalence is expressed in his swing from a discussion of requisites for political “maturity” in 1902 (Tönnies 1902) to positions he took in 1904 and 1908 on behalf of universal, equal and direct suffrage (Tönnies 1904; 1908). While his positions of 1917 suggested indifference to mass democracy (Tönnies 1917), his positions on Prussian suffrage of 1918 suggested that he was in favor of universal suffrage (Tönnies 1918a). Mass democracy entailed the risk of the manipulation of democracy through plutocracy (Tönnies 1918b) and demagogy, leading Tönnies to make a later distinction between the masses, Menge, and the people, Volk (Tönnies 1920). This is also grounds for Tönnies’s arguing that a strong public opinion should be fostered through competition against the interests of media imperia, which defended the interests of private monopolists (Tönnies 1927b, 33). If we consider Tönnies’s enthusiasm for the founding of the Second Empire and his period of apologia for the German war, Tönnies held contradictory positions on the various “imagined communities” for which he expressed sympathy. He sympathized with the underdog and the working classes, yet his views on access to political rights are elitist and reserve political control for the educated and consequently bourgeois classes; this is a point that seems to have escaped Günther Rudolph in his analysis of Tönnies as a bourgeois sociologist on the path to socialism. Tönnies had sympathies for the working classes but did not see himself as part of them, but instead called for their education and enlightenment. Tönnies felt community identity with the small locality fighting the imperial power, as when he expresses sympathy for the Boers against the British Empire. He relates this to the skepticism his countrymen in Schleswig-Holstein felt toward the Hohenzollern and sees his own locality as unique within German political culture because of the freedom and autonomy it enjoyed under the Danish Crown, at least until the middle of the nineteenth century. The “genius” he expresses and venerates is as local as it is national.



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When Tönnies positioned himself on democracy in the course of the Weimar Republic, it was to express dissatisfaction with the status quo, in keeping with his temperament. This is why it is erroneous to see him as a bulwark or a champion of the Weimar Republic: when the constitution of Weimar was drafted, no one had asked him his opinion, and as a critical mind, he was wont to express reservations and criticism, however close the constitution’s driving mind, Hugo Preuss, may have been to Tönnies regarding the values of Enlightenment, a liberal balance of power and an interest in the notion of an “organic” state; both Preuss and Tönnies were influenced by Otto von Gierke. When Kurt Sontheimer discussed the problem of “anti-democratic thought in the Weimar Republic” after the war, his measuring rod for antidemocratic thought was any sort of opposition to the order of the Weimar Constitution. This analysis may be seen as symptomatic of the sort of paranoia with which postwar liberalism in the Federal Republic of Germany responded to any questioning of the freiheitlich-demokratische Grundordnung—the liberal democratic basic order of the 1949 Basic Law. In 1922, Tönnies’s understanding of “democratic” was patronizing and was marked neither by commitment to “government by consent” nor to parliamentary rule. Another striking example of Tönnies’s indifference to the Weimar Constitution was his proposal for a new constitution centered around an “Ephorat,” a sort of constitutional court modeled on Tönnies’s understanding of the Spartan regime with a minimum age requirement of 45 years, a parliament that represented particular and regional interests (and very different from Weimar’s Reichstag), and a public opinion functioning rather like a Greek chorus. Yet when he saw “democracy” as a normative order under attack during the Weimar Republic, he later rushed to its defense: in his Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus, published in 1923, Carl Schmitt famously declared democracy to be the identity of the rulers and the ruled, and he declared that given that democracy had now become a universal form of legitimacy, even in monarchies, such a fictitious identity could be established as effectively through other means, such as acclamation. The Italian Fascists’ march on Rome and Mussolini’s takeover had transpired the previous year. Schmitt’s cynicism led Tönnies to respond with an essay titled “Democracy and Parliamentarianism” (“Demokratie und Parlamentarismus”) (Tönnies 1927a), in which he rejects Schmitt’s definition. At the Fifth German Sociologists’ Congress in Vienna in 1926, Tönnies undertook to define and defend “democracy” in a way that would meet with consensus, joining hands with the Social Democrats against the extreme right, particularly against the National Socialists and monarchists in favor of the restoration of the monarchy under Wilhelm II, who was living in exile in the Netherlands. Extraordinarily, he seemed to see the National Socialist and the monarchist agendas as identical, as is implicit in the essay he wrote on Volkstum and the state for the Eiserne Front (Tönnies 1927c; 1928). Notwithstanding Tönnies’s commitment to “enlightenment,” political community in Tönnies’s thought has a more emotional than rational sense. Tönnies’s political communities were: •• the family into which he was born, which offered him recognition, the opportunity for intellectual self-fulfillment and a certain amount of capital for the financing of his education and property;

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•• the family of his Ersatzvater, Theodor Storm, which was both a school of political opposition and a forum for political positioning vis-à-vis other competitors for recognition, that is, Storm’s biological sons (Bond 1995); •• the Armina fraternity, which gave him what he recognized as Gemeinschaft, an affective order anchored in tradition, which—as Tönnies’s defense of the duel in his first publication, a defense of the fraternity, shows—was linked to patriarchal notions of virility and honor that entailed a diffuse threat of violence and death (Tönnies 1875); •• various intellectual “communities” based on Tönnies’s craft or guild (Zunft) from which, according to Tönnies’s theory of Gemeinschaft, friendships might issue, including the Association for Social Policy, in which a bourgeois rejection of market fundamentalism and readiness to submit to Wilhelminian authority prevailed (cf. supra); the German Society for Sociology, which gave him a broadly recognized patriarchal authority over an entire discipline from 1909 onward, but was rift with fraternal rivalry in his relations with Max Weber (Bond 1988; 2012) and Georg Simmel (see my chapter in this volume); more internationally, the International Institute for Sociology, founded by René Worms; the Marburg school of Neo-Kantianism, represented by Paul Natorp and Franz Staudinger, who supported the Consumer Cooperative Movement from 1896 onward, in which Tönnies set hope for the renewal of Gemeinschaft in various additions to Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft from 1912 onward; and a jingoistic intelligentsia who developed an ideology of German nationalism following the identification of Tönnies’s ideas with the German mind, in which members of the Marburg School were also involved; •• the Society for Ethical Culture; •• and finally the family he founded with his wife, Marie, with his three sons and two daughters, some of whom later described the familial order as oppressive. Paulsen observed that Tönnies became more settled and less bitter subsequent to his establishment as pater familias with patria potestas not just over a group of biological offspring but over a host of interesting minds, however marginal their academic status may have been (given that even DGS founder Max Weber referred to the German Society for Sociology as a salon des refusés). This may also explain Tönnies’s reconciliation with the German nation, his identification with Deutschtum and the identification of Deutschtum with Tönnies (for instance by Natorp, Plenge, Thomas Mann etc.). His attitudes toward the violent contestations over political power became a declared preference for evolution over revolution, an apparent hostility to the Spartacus League, which, however, led only to a clear allegiance with the Social Democrats late in the Weimar Republic. Tönnies seems to have joined the Social Democrats and left the Lutheran Church to express his opposition to the rise of the extreme right. During the nationalist period, we can see a decline in his ties to the United Kingdom. In Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, in a sense in anticipation of later German oppositions of formal democracy and substantive democracy, Tönnies had already declared that the greater or lesser formal civic liberties might



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be inconsequential in a modern society. The rupture with perfidious Albion lay in the air, so to speak: Tönnies found himself opposing Sidney and Beatrice Webb over the question of the sinking of the Lusitania. Tönnies’s comparisons of the British and German states (e.g., Tönnies 1917a; 1917b; 1917c) were marked by ambivalence regarding not just the economic liberalism of the Whigs but also the political liberalism of the United Kingdom’s intellectual class. At the end of the First World War, Tönnies only raises the issue of federalism following the downfall of the Hohenzollern monarchy in January 1919 (Tönnies 1919). Tönnies worked in and between disciplines such as “social economy,” in which he taught at the University of Kiel, or “sociology,” which he helped to found, or Staatswissenschaften, which followed Kameralwissenschaften in the German tradition, meaning the sciences of the state, which had succeeded the sciences of the prince’s chambers and would one day, after the democratization of German society, become political science, incipiently during Weimar and with enormous support after 1945. Tönnies published on political parties (Tönnies 1904; 1905; 1906) prior to Robert Michel’s famous study of 1911 (Michels 1911); these studies were followed by short polemical works on parties, the Volkskampf and the state (Tönnies 1921b; 1929). Tönnies was still concerned with a notion of a political cultural order specific to German culture expressed in the notion of the Volksstaat. For Tönnies, political parties were to be judged primarily on their ability to serve as a focus for political identity and creating Gemeinschaft, suggesting that Tönnies’s political thinking was that of an ethos of ultimate convictions rather than an ethos of responsibility. Remarkably for someone who was as familiar with Britain as was Tönnies, Tönnies did not remark on a fundamental difference between the political parties and landscape of the United Kingdom and those of Germany: the political parties of Britain had emerged in Parliament itself as factions toward the end of the seventeenth century and had become political parties after the mid-eighteenth century at the time of Edmund Burke, marked by pragmatism in the negotiation of power, whereas Germany’s political parties had been constituted as Weltanschauungsparteien—parties that expressed world views—within German civil society in the course of the nineteenth century, thereby leading to fundamentally different understandings as to the sense of a political party.

Nationalism and Internationalism in Tönnies’s Political Thought Tönnies’s 1914 article on “national feeling” shows the growing importance of nationalism for Tönnies (Tönnies 1914). He found or at any rate sought kindred spirits in a group of intellectuals seeking to develop a “type of constitution distinct from western democratic constitutions and eastern absolutist state systems and corresponded to the ‘German essence’” (Bruendel 2003, 110). The 29 academics who belonged to the group included economists and sociologists such as Edgar Jaffé, Franz Oppenheimer, Johann Plenge, Max Sering, Werner Sombart, Alfred Weber, Georg Simmel and Ernst Troeltsch. Plenge’s work titled 1789 und 1914: Die symbolischen Jahre in der Geschichte des politischen Geistes, published in 1916 (Plenge 1916), contrasts German freedom and the degenerate freedom of western Europe, contrasting a “freedom of order” with a “freedom

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of the arbitrary”—which is a clear reference to Tönnies’s dichotomy of essential will as the foundation of Gemeinschaft, arbitrary will as the driving force behind Gesellschaft (Bruendel 2003, 117). Fraternity was opposed as an ideal with Nationaler Sozialismus. From November 1917 onward, Wilhelm Heile and Walther Schotte published the journal Der deutsche Volksstaat, contrasting the Volksgemeinschaft as a network of emotional ties and the collective recognition of interests with Western constitutions. Tönnies’s contrasts between the English and German states and writings on the Volksstaat are seen in this allegiance building. During the war, he wrote a number of articles and essays that later German historians would declare embarrassing, inter alia Deutschlands Platz an der Sonne (Tönnies 1915), Weltkrieg und Völkerrecht (Tönnies 1917)  and Menschheit und Volk (Tönnies 1918). Tönnies’s writings on Naturrecht und Völkerrecht (Tönnies 1916) and the future of international law—Die Zukunft des Völkerrechts (Tönnies 1917ff.) were obscured by his polemical positions on the issue of guilt regarding the outbreak of World War I (Tönnies 1914a; 1914b; 1922) and the injustice of the Treaty of Versailles in publications as late as 1932 (Tönnies 1932). Right-wing nationalists tended to regard England as the culprit, while Tönnies, alongside other left-wing German nationalists, declared Russia guilty. Tönnies’s jingoism from 1914 until the collapse of the Third Reich needs to be relativized with a view to two facts: the first is that throughout Europe, the First World War was an occasion for enthusiasts of the Socialist International to rediscover a passion for the nation, and notably the Kriegssozialisten among the German Social Democrats; the second is that, relative to his compatriots and in fact most writers in the human sciences, Tönnies was, as Uwe Carstens has pointed out, a cosmopolitan. At a time when Hobbes was disregarded and positivists Comte and Spencer were despised in Germany, Tönnies opened German sociology to an international debate and subsequently led it into a global discussion. Prior to the First World War, Tönnies also expressed his desire for a French-German rapprochement. And although the World State is presented as a menace in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, it is also viewed as a guarantee of lasting peace: Tönnies became an advocate of multilateralism (Tönnies 1927d), however much he rejected the Treaty of Versailles, in which the foundations of the League of Nations were laid. Yet it was above all the absurdities of National Socialism that led Tönnies to distance himself clearly from the toxic mixture of nationalism and race theory, as he had discredited race and eugenic theories in earlier debates with liberal and statist Social Darwinists (Bond 2009b, in Bond 2013b).

Conclusion If the political is seen in intellectual positions, it is impossible to situate Tönnies in a political spectrum as we see it today. He can be seen in a series of adversarial positions— to Danish hegemony, to capitalism, to the trader and the commercial spirit (Bond 2006). However, civil liberties and emancipation entailed drawbacks, perhaps most of all for women, who Tönnies saw as best flourishing under patriarchy (Bond 2007b). If Tönnies accuses romanticism of presenting what was “made” as what had “become” (i.e., artificially created relationships of power as the result of natural processes), his theory of Gemeinschaft is a catalogue of conservative norms in the service of the power interests of



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patriarchs with its rationale sought out in biological doctrines. Tönnies preaches “universalism” as a political liberal and economic socialist, creating a stark contrast between himself and Friedrich Nietzsche (Bond 2007a, in Bond 2013b). While testifying to Herbert Spencer’s “humanity,” Tönnies vehemently fought the ideology of the Social Darwinists, in particular in the toxic statist forms found in Germany. Tönnies’s last stand was against the Nazis and for a return of liberalism. Here, too, Tönnies was very much at odds with his time. His political position in postwar discourse is highly ambivalent: he was one of very few academics, let alone sociologists, to have the courage to resist the National Socialist regime, and his dismissal by German sociologists and historiographers after the Second World War, in contrast to historically surely less influential but politically more compromised social thinkers such as Arnold Gehlen, may be seen as a symptom of a guilty conscience in German academia. For a social philosopher whose positive reception between 1912 and the 1930s was so indebted to romanticism, Tönnies stood out for his commitment to enlightenment, his intellectual probity and his political courage and has set the points for the development of concepts and methods in the international social sciences. It would nonetheless be an error to allow admiration for his originality or character to lead us to assume that his political values might be seen as politically correct in our present context.

References Anderson, Benedict R. 1991, Imagined Communities. London, New York: Verso. Blüm, Norbert 1967, “Willenslehre und Soziallehre von Ferdinand Tönnies. Ein Beitrag zum Verständnis von ‘Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft,’” PhD dissertation, Bonn. Bond, Niall 1988, “Tönnies und Weber.” Soziologisches Jahrbuch. Trento, II 1988. 49–72. Bond, Niall 1995, “Tönnies und Storm: eine Wahlverwandtschaft.” Tönnies Forum. Hamburg. 1995. 23–43. Bond, Niall 2006, “Tönnies und der Sozialstaat.” In Neuordnung der Sozialen Leistungen. Edited by Uwe Carstens et al., 379–404. Norderstedt: Books on Demand. Bond, Niall 2007a, “Nietzschean Practical Philosophy and Tönniesian Sociology.” In Nietzsche y la hermenéutica. Edited by Francisco Arenas-Dolz, Luca Giancristofaro and Paolo Stellino,­ 499–510. Valencia: Nau Llibres. Bond, Niall 2007b, “Tönnies und Sexus.” [email protected], La revue électronique des jeunes chercheurs du CIERA. 2007, Issue 1. 48–59. Bond, Niall 2009a, “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as a Work and as a Conceptual Dichotomy.” Contributions to the History of Concepts. Vol. 5. 162–86. Bond, Niall 2009b, “Ferdinand Tönnies and Western European Positivism.” Intellectual History Review. Vol. 19, Issue 3. 353–70. Bond, Niall 2011a, “The Grim Probity of Arthur Schopenhauer and Ferdinand Tönnies.” 92. Schopenhauer-Jahrbuch, 2011, Würzburg 2012. 87–110. Bond, Niall 2011b, “Rational Natural Law and German Sociology: Hobbes, Locke and Tönnies.” British Journal for the History of Philosophy. Vol. 19, Issue 6. 1175–1200. Bond, Niall 2011c, “The Displacement of Normative Discourse from Legal Theory to Empirical Sociology: Ferdinand Tönnies, Natural Law, the Historical School, Rudolf von Jhering and Otto von Gierke.” Forum Historiae Iuris. http://fhi.rg.mpg.de/articles/pdf-files/1109bond.pdf, 1–36. Bond, Niall 2011d, “Ferdinand Tönnies’ Romanticism.” The European Legacy, ELEG. Vol. 16, Issue 4. 487–504.

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Bond, Niall 2011e, “Ferdinand Tönnies and Academic ‘socialism.’” History of the Human Sciences. Vol. 24, Issue 3. 23–46. Bond, Niall 2012, “Ferdinand Tönnies and Max Weber.” Max Weber Studies. Vol. 12, Issue 1. 25–57. Bond, Niall 2013a, “Ferdinand Tönnies’ Appraisal of Karl Marx, Debts and Distance.’ Journal of Classical Sociology. Vol. 13, Issue 1. 136–62. Bond, Niall 2013b, Understanding Ferdinand Tönnies’ Community and Society: Social Theory and Political Philosophy between Enlightened Liberal Individualism and Transfigured Community. Berlin, London: Lit Verlag. Bond, Niall 2014, “Citizenship in Community and Citizenship in Society: Applications of Ferdinand Tönnies’ Gemeinschaft–Gesellschaft Dichotomy to Appurtenance to a Polity.” Athenian Legacies: European Debates on Citizenship, Congress of the European Society for the History of Political Thought. Florence: Olschki. Bruendel, Steffen 2003, Volksgemeinschaft oder Volksstaat. Die ‚Ideen von 1914’ und die Neuordnung Deutschlands im Ersten Weltkrieg. Berlin: Akademie Verlag. Brunner, Otto, Conze, Werner and Koselleck, Reinhart 1972–92, Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe: historisches Lexikon zur politisch-sozialen Sprache in Deutschland. Stuttgart: Klett. Carstens, Uwe 2005, Ferdinand Tönnies. Friese und Weltbürger. Eine Biografie. Norderstedt: Books on Demand. Dahrendorf, Ralf 1965, Gesellschaft und Demokratie in Deutschland. Munich: R. Piper & Co. Verlag. Dahrendorf, Ralf 1971, Gesellschaft und Demokratie in Deutschland. Munich: Piper. Deutsch, Karl Wolfgang 1954, Political Community at the International Level: Problems of Definition and Measurement. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Dilthey, Wilhelm 1883, Einleitung in die Geisteswissenschaften. Versuch einer Grundlegung für das Studium der Gesellschaft und der Geschichte. Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot. Duchesne, Sophie 1997, La citoyenneté à la française. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. Heile, Wilhelm and Schotte, Walther 1917, Der deutsche Volksstaat, Schriftenreihe zur inneren Politik. Berlin: Fortschritt Verlag. Johannsen, Albert [28.4.1908]. [Letter to Ferdinand Tönnies]. Ferdinand Tönnies Estate at Schleswig-Holstein State Library, Kiel (SHLB): Cb54.56. In Jacoby (1971), 306. Käsler, Dirk 1988, “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Erfolg eines Mißverständnisses?” Annali di Sociologia. Trento, 4, 1988 – I. Lehnert, Detlef. Editor. 2013, Gemeinschaftsdenken in Europa, Das Gesellschaftskonezpt “Volksheim”im Vergleich 1900–1938. Köln: Böhlau Verlag. Lukacs, Georg 1954, Die Zerstörung der Vernunft. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag. Mann, Thomas 1960, “Betrachtungen eines Unpolitischen” (1918), Reden und Aufsätze, Gesammelte Werke in Dreizehn Bänden, Bd. XII. Stuttgart: Deutscher Bücherbund. Michels, Robert 1911, Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie. Untersuchungen über die oligarchischen Tendenzen des Gruppenlebens. Leipzig: Klinkhardt. Mitzman, Arthur 1987, Sociology and Estrangement: Three Sociologists of Imperial Germany. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. Plenge, Johann 1916, 1789 und 1914: Die symbolischen Jahre in der Geschichte des politischen Geistes. Berlin: Springer. Rudolph, Günther 1966, Die philosophisch-soziologischen Grundpositionen von Ferdinand Tönnies (1855– 1936). Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte und Kritik der bürgerlichen Soziologie, Berlin (Diss.) Schlüter-Knauer, Carsten 2008, “Die Kontroverse Demokratie: Der Disput in Staatsrechtslehre und Soziologie der Weimar Republik am Beispiel von Carl Scmitt, Hans Kelsen und Ferdinand Tönnies.” Uwe Carstens, Lars Clausen, Alexander Escudier, Ingeburg Lachaussee, ed. In Verfassung, Verfassheit, Konstitution. Norderstedt: Books on Demand. 41–86. Schlüter-Knauer, Carsten 2013, “Theorie, Empirie, Demokratie. Impulse von Ferdinand Tönnies für die Politische Wissenschaft.” In Die Geschichte der Politikwissenschaft an der Universität Kiel. Edited by Wilhelm Knielangen and Tine Stein, 257–91. Essen: Klartext Verlag. Schmitt, Carl 1923, Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus. Munich: Duncker & Humblot.



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Schmitt, Carl 1932, Der Begriff des Politischen. Hamburg: Hanseatische Verlags-Anstalt. Schmitt, Carl 1991, Die geistesgeschichtliche Lage des heutigen Parlamentarismus. Seventh edition. Munich: Duncker und Humblot. Schnapper, Dominique 1994, La Communauté des citoyens, sur l’idée moderne de nation (Paris: Gallimard, “NRF Essais”). Sontheimer, Kurt 1978, Antidemokratisches Denken in der Weimarer Republik—Die politischen Ideen des deutschen Nationalismus zwischen 1918 und 1933. Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuchverlag. Strauss, Leo 1956, Naturrecht und Geschichte. Koehler: Stuttgart. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1875 (Pseudonym: Julius Tönnies). Eine höchst nötige Antwort auf die höchst unnötige Frage: “Was ist studentische Reform?” Jena: Verlag von Carl Döbereiner. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1880–1, “Anmerkungen über die Philosophie des Hobbes.” Vierteljahresschrift für wissenschaftliche Philosophie. 4. Jg. und 5. Jg. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1893, Der Nietzsche-Kultus. Berlin: Dümmler. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1896, Hobbes Leben und Lehre. Stuttgart: Friedrich Frommann Verlag. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1897, “Hafenarbeiter und Seeleute in Hamburg vor dem Streik 1896 / 1897.” Archiv für soziale Gesetzgebung. Vol. 10. 173–238, 673–720. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1902, “Politische Reife.” Neue Rundschau. Freie Bühne für modernes Leben. 161–4. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1904, “Das allgemeine, gleiche und direkte Wahlrecht.” Ethische Kultur. 12. Jg., 49–51. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1904a, “Political Parties in Germany.” The Independent Review. Vol. 3. 365–81. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1905, “Die politischen Parteien im deutschen Reiche.” Deutschland. Monatschrift für die gesamte Kultur. 4. Jg., Heft 50, 127–48. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1906, “Zum Verständnis des politischen Parteiwesens.” Das freie Wort. Issue 19. 752–9. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1906b, “Politische Stimmungen und Richtungen in England.” Das freie Wort. Issue 9. 337–43. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1907, Die Entwicklung der sozialen Frage. Leipzig: Goeschen’ sch Verlagshandlung. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1908a, “Die Gleichheit des Wahlrechts.” Das freie Wort. Issue 5, 165–9. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1908b, “Liberalismus und Demokratie.” Das freie Wort, Nr. 19, S. 727–32. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1908c, “Ethik und Sozialismus.” Teil 1, Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik. Bd. 26, 56–95. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1912, “Bürgerliche und politische Freiheit.” Handbuch der Politik. Berlin, 240–6. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1913 (Normannus) “August Bebel.” Das Freie Wort, 13. Jg., Nr. 11, S. 398–403. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1914, “Nationalgefühl.” Der Staatsbürger, Nr. 7, July, 305–12. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1915, “Deutschlands Platz an der Sonne.” Ein Briefwechsel englischer Politiker aus dem Jahre. Edited by Ferdinand Tönnies. Berlin: Springer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1916, “Naturrecht und Völkerrecht.” Die neue Rundschau. Freie Bühne für modernes Leben, 577–87. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917a, Der englische Staat und der deutsche Staat. Eine Studie. Berlin, 211. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917b, Entwurf einer englischen Wahlreform. Deutsche Politik Wochenschrift für Weltund Kulturpolitik, Heft 22, 689–94. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917c, “Der deutsche Staat in englischem Urteil.” Europäische Staats- und Wirtschaftszeitung. Nr. 33, 807–12. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917d, “Der gegenwärtige Zustand der Konsumgenossenschaften in den nordischen Ländern. Die Entwicklung in Schweden.” Konsumgenossenschaftliche Rundschau. 14. Jg., 481–5. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917e, Weltkrieg und Völkerrecht. Berlin: Fischer. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917f, “Die Zukunft des Völkerrechts.” Die neue Rundschau. Freie Bühne für modernes Leben, 1–20. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1917g, Theodor Storm zum 14. September 1917. Gedenkblätter. Berlin: Curtius Verlag. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1918a, “Das Wahlrecht zum preussischen Abgeordnetenhaus.” Königsberger Hartungsche Zeitung. 18.9.1918, Nr. 438, 1. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1918b, “Demokratie und Plutokratie.” Die Neue Zeit. Wochenschrift der deutschen Sozialdemokratie. Vol. 1, Issue 19. 433–41.

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Tönnies, Ferdinand 1918c, “Der Staatsgedanke des Hobbes.” Die Neue Zeit. Wochenschrift der deutschen Sozialdemokratie. Vol 1, Issue 19. 416–22 and 439–43. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1918d, Menschheit und Volk. Graz: Verlag Leuschner & Lubensky. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1919a, “Einheitsstaat oder Bundesstaat?” Weltecho. Politische Wochenchronik. January 31, 1919, Issue 4. 52–4. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1919b, Der Gang der Revolution. Königsberg: Teleman. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1919c, Die Schuldfrage. Russlands Urheberschaft nach Zeugnissen aus dem Jahre 1914. Berlin: Stilke. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1920, “Die grosse Menge und das Volk.” Schmollers Jahrbuch, Heft 2, 317–45. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1921a, Marx Leben und Lehre. Jena: Lichtenstein Verlag. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1921b, “Parteikampf und Volkskampf.” Der Firn. Sozialistische Rundschau über das politische, wirtschaftliche und kulturelle Leben. Berlin, 499–500. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1922a, “Ferdinand Tönnies, Eutin (Holstein).” In Raymund Schmidt (Hrsg.): Die Philosophie der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellung, Bd. 3, Leipzig, 199–234. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1922b, Der Zarismus und seine Bundesgenossen 1914. Neue Beiträge zur Kriegsschuldfrage. Berlin: Deutsche Verlagsgesellschaft für Politik und Geschichte. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1927a, “Demokratie und Parlamentarismus.” Schmollers Jahrbuch. 173–216. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1927b, “Über die Demokratie.” Verhandlungen des 5. Deutschen Soziologentages vom 26.-29.9. 1926 in Wien, 1sr Series, Vol. 5. 12–36, Tübingen: Mohr. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1927c, “Volkstum und Staat.” Der Reichsbanner. Wochenzeitung der Eisernen Front. February 15, 1927. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1927d, “Halten Sie die Schaffung / das Zustandekommen der Vereinigten Staaten von Europa für notwendig / möglich.” Paneuropa. Heft 6/7, 51. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1928, “Volkstum und Staat.” Jahrbuch des Zentralverbandes deutscher Kriegsbeschädigter u. Kriegshinterbliebenen, 73–81. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1929, “Partei und Staat.” Die Gesellschaft. Internationale Revue für Sozialismus und Politik. (Edited by R. Hilferding.), Vol. 2, Issue 9, 195–7. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1932, “Der Justizmord von Versailles.” Magdeburgische Zeitung. January 3, 1932. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1934, “An den Vorbereitungsausschuss des 8. Internationalen Philosophiekongresses in Prag.” In Ferdinand Tönnies Gesamtausgabe, Band 23, 2, Nachgelassene Schriften 1919–1936. Edited by Brigitte Zander-Lüllwitz and Jürgen Zander, 480–81. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2005. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1935, “Ferdinand Tönnies–– Lebenserinnerungen aus dem Jahre 1935 an Kindheit, Schulzeit, Studium und erste Dozententätigkeit (1855–1894).” In Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, Band 105. Edited by Wolfgang Prange and R. Polley. Neumünster: Karl Wachholtz Verlag, 1980, 187–227. Reprinted in Ferdinand Tönnies Gesamtausgabe, Band 23, 2, Nachgelassene Schriften 1919–1936. Edited by Brigitte ZanderLüllwitz and Jürgen Zander, 507–50. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 2005. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1974, Karl Marx: His Life and Teachings. Translated by C. P. Loomis and I. Paulus. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1975, “Anmerkungen über die Philosophie des Hobbes.” Vierteljahresheft für wissenschaftliche Philosophie, hg. Avenarius, wieder abgedruckt in: Studien zur Philosophie und Gesellschaftslehre im 17. [siebzehnten] Jahrhundert. Edited by E. G. Jacoby. Stuttgart- Bad Cannstatt: Frommann-Holzboog. Tönnies, Ferdinand 1979, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundbegriffe der reinen Soziologie [1887]. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft. Tönnies, Ferdinand 2001, Community and Civil Society. Translated by Jose Harris and Margaret Hollis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Treitschke, Heinrich von. 1875, “Der Socialismus und seine Gönner. Nebst einem Sendschreiben an Gustav Schmoller.” Preussische Jahrbücher. Vol. 34. 67–110 and 248–301. Weber, Max 1922, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Tübingen: Mohr.

Chapter Ten Crime and Law in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft Mathieu Deflem

Introduction As late as the 1990s, an effort in an American theory journal aimed at reviving some of the neglected classics in sociology included a paper on the work of Ferdinand Tönnies (Adair-Toteff 1995). Not only has Tönnies’s oeuvre been relatively neglected, most available discussions have concentrated almost exclusively on his perspective of Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society). While the theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft is indeed central to Tönnies’s sociology, the sheer volume of Tönnies’s work, containing some 900 published writings (Fechner 1992), indicates that his thought cannot be justifiably restricted to these concepts. Next to theoretical contributions, Tönnies’s work also includes many empirical and methodological investigations, a considerable part of which dealt with the sociological study of crime. Tönnies published no fewer than 34 works on crime (22 papers, 3 books and 9 review articles), as well as 17 related methodological papers on criminal statistics (Deflem 1999, 105–10). But modern sociology and criminology have almost completely ignored Tönnies’s contribution to the study of crime. This chapter will review this aspect of Tönnies’s work and analyze the conditions of its neglect. This discussion of Tönnies’s work on crime will suggest its relevance within Tönnies’s general sociological project and its distinct characteristics as an approach in criminological sociology. It will be shown that Tönnies’s crime studies should be taken into account to challenge some often held simplistic interpretations and unfounded criticisms of his work. To develop this argument, it will prove useful to situate Tönnies’s criminological work in the context of his theory of society.

Tönnies on Society and Law Tönnies’s theoretical perspective on the transformation of society from premodern to modern—which in some form or another occupied all classical scholars in sociology—is based on a specific conception of the human will on which social formations are based. The human will Tönnies argued to be either of the type of essential will (Wesenwille) or arbitrary will (Kürwille) (Tönnies 1935a [translation 1935b]). The essential will is the spontaneous manifestation of a person’s nature inasmuch as it readily springs forth from

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one’s temper and character. The arbitrary will allows actors to choose the most efficient means for a given end. Gemeinschaft societies Tönnies conceived as expressions of the essential will, organically organized around family, village or town. Gesellschaft societies, on the other hand, are based on arbitrary will orientations, typically found in the modern metropolis and state. Tönnies conceived of the concepts of essential will, arbitrary will and Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft as directional concepts (Richtungsbegriffe) or normal concepts (Normalbegriffe) representing ideal types (ideelle Typen) or things purely of thought (reine Gedankendinge) that must be assumed in order to grasp society (Tönnies 1922a, 18–19; 1925a, 65–74 [translation 1925c]). Importantly, Tönnies perceived of all social formations as always both, but in varying degrees, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, and thus rejected a unilinear evolutionary perspective (Tönnies 1932a [translation 1932b]). The peculiar status of the concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft intimately relates to Tönnies’s perspective of sociology (Tönnies 1926a, 431–42 [translation 1926b]; 1931a, 313–21). Tönnies differentiated between pure, applied and empirical sociology. Pure (or theoretical) sociology specifies the fundamental concepts with which society can statically be understood in abstraction. Applied sociology seeks to deductively understand the dynamics of social events and historical patterns of stability and change. Empirical sociology, finally, relies on an inductive or empirical approach to study the concrete features of social conditions. Tönnies emphasized that these three branches of sociology should always mutually inform each other. The model of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft entails a sociology of law that is important for a proper understanding of Tönnies’s work on crime. Broadly defining law as the totality of rules whose proclamation and enforcement are the function of a formal court, Tönnies suggested a transformation from common or customary law to contract or statutory law (Tönnies 1922a, 66–77, 239–45; 1931a, 187–258 [translation 1931b]; 1935a, 169–238). Again rejecting a unilinear evolutionism, Tönnies proposed a perspective of law that considered the persistence of the commanding and compulsory norms of (ancient) custom as well as the rise of legislation proclaimed by the (modern) state (Tönnies 1912b [translation 1912c]). Tönnies argued that the evolution of law revealed that while all law was to some extent both natural and artificial, the artificial element in law had become dominant in the course of history. This process is manifested in a gradual evolution from common to contract law (Tönnies 1935a, 205–15). The essential element of common law is that it had unleashed the capacity to trade and form relationships in freedom (Willkür), enabling a gradual elaboration, universalization and codification of law. Whereas customary law (Gewohnheitsrecht) was a function of tradition, modern legislation-law (Gesetzesrecht) was sanctioned by its purpose outside and possibly even against tradition. The resulting state of this evolution in modern Gesellschaft-type societies, Tönnies argued, was that law had largely but not totally been monopolized by the state (Tönnies 1931a, 272–9). The relative weight of Gesellschaft-like state law (by means of formal legislation) in comparison to other types of law (based on custom) must, according to Tönnies, remain a matter of empirical inquiry, thus bringing out the special relation between custom and law in modern societies (Deflem 2014).



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Crime in the Transformation of Society Tönnies’s sociological studies on crime, which occupied him for a period of nearly four decades, involves the following issues: a theoretical conceptualization of crime; methodological contributions to the study of crime, including a measure of association of Tönnies’s own invention; empirical investigations of crime in Germany; and a policyoriented perspective on criminal law and the prevention of crime. Crime as a social phenomenon At the most general level, Tönnies (1895) distinguished conceptually between crimes and infractions as the two categories of punishable acts (strafbare Handlungen). Crimes (Verbrechen) are defined as deliberate violations of political and social rules. Violations of political rules refer to infringements on the constitution and the institutions and rights of the state. Violations of social rules are directed against persons, personal property or personal dignity. Infractions (Vergehen) are deliberate or non-deliberate violations of rules that state legislators determine to be the necessary conditions for the functioning of social life. Such conditions concern people’s interests and motivations, not their rights. Tönnies further differentiated between types of crime on the basis of their relationship to the social environment. First, some crimes Tönnies argued to be the unmediated expressions of certain social conditions, such as the inequality of economic and moral classes, unemployment, illness, widowhood, orphanhood or psycho-moral degeneration. The typical case for the relatively stable phenomenon of unmediated crime, Tönnies most often referred to with the term roguery (Gaunertum), typically referring to property crimes. Second, other crimes are conceived of as a more complex and mediated expression of social conditions. As an example of the latter case, Tönnies discussed the crimes that had increased with the proletarianization of the masses and the disintegration of folk-life (Volksgemeinschaft), while other crimes, such as vagrancy, had decreased (Tönnies 1906). It can be noted then that Tönnies distinguished among various types of crime in terms of the psychological state of the criminal (profit-driven or not) and the social conditions of crime as a social reality (mediated or unmediated). In his empirical studies, Tönnies usually employed somewhat different terms to nonetheless describe the same basic notion of crime. By example, he distinguished between serious, mediocre and petty crime, whereby serious crime is defined as criminality proper, the objective measure of which was that a person of 18 years or older, who is legally considered an adult (strafmündige), had been convicted of such crimes and sentenced to death or imprisonment (Tönnies 1924, 762). Most often in his writings, Tönnies distinguished rogues (Gauner) from offenders (Frevler), a classification that corresponds to the difference between crime as the unmediated and crime as the mediated expression of social conditions (Tönnies 1924; 1927; 1929a; Tönnies and Jurkat 1929). The category of rogues includes thieves, swindlers and robbers. Offenders are criminals convicted for murder and other acts of violence, perjury, arson and ethical offenses (Sittenverbrechen). The distinction is important from Tönnies’s perspective because rogues are conscious, arbitrary will-acting criminals (Tönnies and Jurkat 1929, 27). Rogues have a clear conception of the material goal of their crimes and

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they conceive of the illegal acts as a means to attain that goal. Offenders, on the other hand, act out of brutal, unmediated egoism, often in a violent way, and with a cruder, less refined manner of essential-will thinking. Whereas roguery characteristically involves crimes against property, offenses are typically crimes against the person. In sum, as a matter of pure sociology, Tönnies distinguished between crimes and infractions and between rogues and offenders. Infraction and crime, on one hand, and rogues and offenders, on the other, relate to each other as do Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. In his empirical studies Tönnies most often used the categories of rogues and offenders, the terms most clearly connected with his general theoretical perspective. Rogues are profit-driven and seek to enhance their wealth by means of criminal acts. Because they can differentiate between means and ends on the basis of their arbitrary will, rogues perform a typical Gesellschaft-like type of crime. Offenders, on the other hand, perform their crimes in a passionate way on the basis of their essential will, characteristic of Gemeinschaft-like behavior. Criminal Statistics: Science and Method Tönnies’s methodological approach to the study of crime was situated within an important contemporary controversy in his days concerning the status and objectives of statistics, especially the German tradition of Moralstatistik (moral statistics). Tönnies defended the position that statistics is both a method and a science (Tönnies 1899a; 1901b; 1919–20; 1925b; 1929c [translation 1929e]; 1930b). Whereas some scholars delineated statistics to the collection and systematic arrangement of enumerable social phenomena, Tönnies asserted that a scientific theory cannot be based on a collection of numbers, because not the mass (Menge) but only the essence (Wesen) of a phenomenon can be an object of science (Tönnies 1925b, 122–5; 1931a, 321–7). Because numbers could only describe and compare but not explain, statistics should, according to Tönnies, be restored to its original meaning as the science of the state (Staatskunde). As such, statistics encompasses the study of the natural and social features and populations of a country, comprising all the curiosities of the state (Staatsmerckwürdigkeiten). The use of numbers was thereby a possible, but not a necessary method (Deflem 1997). Although Tönnies insisted that statistics should not be conceived of exclusively as a method of quantification or table-statistics (Tabellenstatistik), he acknowledged that statistics was also a method (Tönnies 1900, 58). This method Tönnies typically referred to as sociography or criminal statistics. In Tönnies’s conception, sociography unites various, both quantitative and qualitative, methods that can empirically describe, draw comparisons between and uncover the regularity of moral and social conditions. But the determination of these conditions, according to Tönnies, was always a matter of pure sociology. Tönnies’s Measure of Association Tönnies invented a measure of association in the course of his empirical studies on crime and other empirical issues (Tönnies 1909). He referred to his technique as a method of



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correlation, but, it will be shown, it is a measure of association based on rank order, not a coefficient of correlation. Tönnies developed his association measure in a study of the demographic features of 20 counties in the German province of Schleswig-Holstein. He decided to divide these counties into equal categories in terms of the stages (Stufen) of magnitude of the scores on the demographic variables for each county. Four counties per group of variable-score were identified because Tönnies determined the magnitude of the scores, from high to low, in terms of the relative positions of all 20 counties on a five-point scale. He then considered the different possibilities of how the results of scores on one variable, for groups of counties, corresponded with the scores on another variable (see Figures 10.1 and 10.2). In Figure 10.1, the letters A, B, C, D and E indicate whether the scores on a variable were high or low in terms of their ranking for all counties. The diagonals represent the most extreme cases: perfect correlation (vollkommene Korrelation) is represented on the left, while anti-correlation (Anti-Korrelation) or reciprocity (Reziprozität) is visualized on the right. Between these extreme cases are a range of possibilities that Tönnies defined in terms of the degree of approximation to correlation and anti-correlation, respectively. The different points that make up the correlation line he called coincidence-places (Koinzidenzstellen). The cases that approximate the perfect correlation and perfect anticorrelation lines, that is, the cases located on the next diagonals to the left and to the right

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of the diagonals representing perfect correlation and anti-correlation, were labeled the contact-places (Kontaktstellen). The distribution of coincidence-places and contact-places is visualized in Figure 10.2. The positions of the letters in bold (x and z) on the left and on the right Tönnies considered the most important cases. In the left diagram they represent correlation and in the right diagram they reflect anti-correlation after subtraction of all correlation with all anti-correlation cases. Tönnies indeed subtracted the total number of cases located in the left diagram with the total number of cases located in the right diagram for the coincidence-places (x) and the contact-places (z), respectively. Thereby the middle cases, Tönnies observed, cancel each other out. To compute the association measure, Tönnies subtracted the summation of correlation cases from the summation of anti-correlation cases, multiplied that number by two, and subtracted the summation of contact cases with the summation of anti-contact cases. The subtraction of the summations of correlation and anti-correlation cases was multiplied by two, because, Tönnies explained, of the 25 places where cases can be located, the perfect correlation line takes up 5 places (25/5 = 5), while the contact-places can take up 8 of the remaining 20 places (20/8 = 2.5; and 5:2.5 = 2:1). The two subtractions Tönnies added together, the result of which can be 0 (no correlation) or a number ranging from -32 to +32, indicating anti-correlation and perfect correlation, respectively. Empirical Studies of Crime Tönnies’s empirical investigations on crime include a brief analysis of crimes during a dock strike in Hamburg and an elaborate study of criminals imprisoned in the German province of Schleswig-Holstein. Crimes during the Dock Strike in Hamburg, 1896–1897 Tönnies’s first contribution to the study of crime is presented in a series of polemical, but empirically substantiated, writings on a dock strike in Hamburg in the years 1896–7 (Tönnies 1896b; 1897a; 1897b; 1897c; 1897d; 1897e; 1897f; 1897g; 1899a). The strike lasted some 12 weeks, involving as many as 17,000 workers, and greatly impacted the economy, but was ultimately unsuccessful and led to various attempts to control workers’ rights. Among the formal government attempts to repress the strike, Hamburg authorities contended that the strikers had massively violated Article 153 of the labor law for the so-called protection of personal freedom of workers against coalition force (the right not to be forced to strike). Tönnies contested the findings with which the Hamburg authorities substantiated their claims. He argued that of the 290 individuals convicted during the strike, only 60 had been involved in acts of violence, a number roughly the same as the monthly number of young people convicted for similar acts in the years prior to the strike. According to Tönnies, the violent acts were indeed not to be attributed to the strike but to the young age of the dock workers. In addition, the authorities had unjustly founded their claims on the contention that crimes against the coalition law had increased during the time of the



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Hamburg strike. However, when a longer period of time was taken into account, Tönnies discovered, these crimes increased over the years between 1892 and 1897, but the relative increase from year to year was the highest between 1892 and 1893, years of economic depression (without strikes). Finally, Tönnies demonstrated that crimes against the labor law before, during and after the strike had developed parallel with all other working-class crimes. From this finding, Tönnies concluded that the crimes committed during the strike were due to the (unmediated) social and economic conditions of the working classes. Criminals Convicted in Schleswig-Holstein, 1874–1914 Tönnies’s empirical sociology of crime fully matured, especially in methodological respects, in a two-part study of convicted criminals in Schleswig-Holstein (Tönnies 1924; 1927; 1929a; 1929b [translation 1929d]; 1930a; Tönnies and Jurkat 1929). For this study, Tönnies slightly modified his association measure to compare associations between percentages, not summations, in terms of two, not five, variable scores (high and low). Tönnies collected the majority of his data by means of interviews he personally conducted in two prisons, additionally relying on official reports and crime statistics from other prisons in the Schleswig-Holstein province. In total, Tönnies gathered data on some 3,500 convicted male criminals in Schleswig-Holstein during the period 1874–98 for the first study, in addition to data on about 2,500 male criminals convicted in the period 1899–1914 for a follow-up investigation. Tönnies’s central objective was to investigate how different types of crime related to criminals’ place of origin (defined in terms of rural versus urban background), implicitly corresponding to the transformation from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. Tönnies also considered how this relationship applied to the different criminal types of rogues and offenders, respectively. Tönnies also divided his research subjects between natives (Heimbürtige), born in Schleswig-Holstein, and nonnatives (Fremdbürtige), born outside the region. All subjects were assigned to 1 of 20 smaller counties within their respective regions, so that in terms of the convicted criminals’ rural or urban background, 20 rural counties could be compared with 20 urban counties for both regions. Analyzing the data, Tönnies first calculated the number of native thieves relative to the total male population for the region. The results showed that the “productivity of thieves” (Tönnies’s term for the aggregate numbers) was higher in the urban counties than in the rural counties. Tönnies also measured four other variables for the region: (1) Wealth (Reichtum), measured in terms of the average income based on income tax; (2) Housing conditions (Wohnungszustand), measured in terms of the number of inhabitants relative to the size of houses; (3) Educational conditions (Bildungszustand), measured in terms of the relative number of illiterates; and 4)  Ethical conditions (Sittenzustand), measured in terms of the relative number of children born out of wedlock. In terms of these variables’ relationships with the productivity of native thieves, the results showed that in the urban counties, wealth and educational condition were not, and all other variables negatively, related with thief-productivity. For the rural counties, these results were confirmed but they were always stronger, except for educational condition, which was related negatively with thief-productivity.

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Tönnies subsequently compared the productivity of native thieves with the native productivity of moral and violent crimes, a comparison based on the distinction between rogues and offenders. The results showed that rogues formed the larger part of all criminal types and that urban natives were more likely to belong to the category of rogues. Tönnies therefore concluded that the more a crime reflected a conscious will, the more likely it was to be attributed to urban criminals, while rural natives were more likely to commit crimes that exhibited a passion that did not serve a specific material purpose. Next, Tönnies related these findings to an analogous investigation of nonnative criminals. He first observed that most crimes were serious crimes (roguery) and that exogenous (nonnative) criminality was higher than endogenous (native) criminality. Of the 3,500 male convicts, 1,545 were born in Schleswig-Holstein and 1,955 were born outside the region. Tönnies found that the higher crime rates for nonnatives was to be attributed to the fact that nonnatives were largely of urban origin. Criminals were more likely to be nonnatives because rogues made up the larger part of all criminals and because nonnatives were more likely to be rogues because they were more likely to be urban. The second part of Tönnies’s investigation concerned 2,483 male criminals convicted in the period 1899–1914 (Tönnies 1929b [translation 1929d]; Tönnies and Jurkat 1929). The results of the second study confirmed the findings of the first: both native and nonnative rogues were more likely to be of urban origin, and because rogues were more represented among all criminal types, nonnatives were more represented in the criminal class than natives. This relationship, Tönnies observed, also varied with the size of town or village: the higher the number of inhabitants in a town or village, the higher the productivity of rogues. In sum, Tönnies concluded, native criminals relate to nonnative criminals like offenders relate to rogues, like the rural-born relate to the urban-born, and like rogues from smaller towns and smaller villages relate to rogues from larger towns and larger villages. Criminal Law and the Prevention of Crime On matters of criminal law, crime prevention and punishment, Tönnies essentially contended that punishment should fit the gravity of the crime, the determination of which could be established by the objective findings of criminological science (Tönnies 1891a [translation 1891b]; 1901a; 1905). The state and the courts, Tönnies argued, unjustly considered the infliction of punishment a deterrent against crime, because criminal law operated under the false presupposition that every citizen had a contractual obligation to the state, based on the assumption that the human will would be a matter of pure intellect. Instead, the human will is always passionate as well as conditioned by “education, surroundings, fortunate and unfortunate accidents, health and illness” (Tönnies 1891b, 57). Tönnies therefore insisted that criminal policy should be freed from morality because it could not be “right and proper” to punish a criminal when his wrongdoings were the “necessary result of all his antecedents” (58). Tönnies’s ideas on criminal policy correspond to his theoretical perspective that under conditions of Gesellschaft, law is appropriated by the state to efficiently (not morally) steer diverse interests in society (Tönnies 1904; 1931a, 244–7). Tönnies therefore also proposed



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that criminal law should be reformed in such a way that it would contribute to rehabilitate criminals (Tönnies 1904; 1907; 1912a). Actual conditions of imprisonment, Tönnies claimed, often caused a moral and physical decay of prisoners and created more refined criminals who could evade punishment. Furthermore, Tönnies (1891b, 66) argued, the prison could not offer anything useful to those criminals whose acts were “appearing among masses of people, as a kind of activity towards which the characters of certain groups of men or of individual men are directed permanently, or at least with a tendency that often reappears” (Tönnies 1891b, 68). Based on this viewpoint, Tönnies (1902–3) proposed that a change of social and economic conditions should always accompany confinement and that juvenile crime should become a matter of public pedagogy to be decided on in special institutes or “moral hospitals” (Tönnies 1902–3, 213).

Retrieving Tönnies’s Criminological Sociology Tönnies’s writings on crime received only minimal references during his days and have gone almost completely unnoticed in the history of sociology and criminology. I will explore the reasons for this neglect and its significance for an adequate understanding of his sociological theory. The lack of attention devoted to Tönnies’s sociology I attribute, first of all, to the ambiguous reception of his work in the canon of sociology. A Classic in Isolation Tönnies’s career in the academic world was mainly shaped by his disdain for teaching obligations associated with a formal university position (Deflem 2001; Samples 1987; Tönnies 1922b). In 1881 Tönnies was promoted to Privatdozent in philosophy at the University of Kiel, and only in 1913 did he become full professor in economics and statistics, a post he retired from as early as 1916. In 1921 Tönnies returned to the University of Kiel as professor emeritus in sociology. He stayed there until 1933 when he was dismissed after the Nazi seizure of power. In addition to his preference to work independently, Tönnies’s commitment to social reform and his socialist ideas delayed his career. At the same time, Tönnies’s position of relative isolation did not prevent him from becoming a respected sociologist during his days. With Georg Simmel and Max Weber, he founded the German Society for Sociology in 1909, serving as its president from 1922 until 1933, when he disbanded the association in protest against the rise of National Socialism. As a classic in sociology, Tönnies’s status is not undisputed. Christopher Adair-Toteff (1995) lists among the reasons for the relative neglect of Tönnies’s work his old-fashioned, Germanic style of writing, the complexity of his ideas and the accusations against his perspective that criticize its pessimism and intrinsic theoretical shortcomings. Adair-Toteff aptly adds that most of these accusations are misconceptions, but they have effectively prevented Tönnies’s work from attaining the same status as some of his contemporaries. Contingencies play an important role in Tönnies’s intellectual history. Tönnies published Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as early as 1887, when sociology in Germany was not yet an institutionalized academic discipline. The work was not widely read and hardly known outside a

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small group of academic scholars (Heberle 1968, 102; Salomon 1936, 349). The second edition of Tönnies’s book, published in 1912, did gain prominence but was received by a generation of young intellectuals who thought to defend a romanticist return to a Gemeinschaft society on Tönnies’s writings, a view Tönnies explicitly rejected (Heberle 1968, 102; Salomon 1936, 351; Samples 1987; Tönnies 1935a, 203). Tönnies’s next important works were published in the 1930s when the rise of Nazism did much to hinder the reception of German sociology on the international scene. To be sure, some journal articles had by that time introduced Tönnies’s writings in American sociology (e.g., Heberle 1937; Salomon 1936; Wirth 1926) and his work was discussed in some of the most influential writings in American sociology of that period (e.g., Barnes and Becker 1938, 777, 784; Park and Burgess 1924, 103–5; Sorokin 1928, 489–96). However, these discussions were restricted to brief expositions on Tönnies’s concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Cahnman 1977). Some commentaries, furthermore, led to misunderstandings of Tönnies’s work. The influential works by Sorokin (1928) and Parsons (1937), in particular, contributed to establishing the mistaken idea that Tönnies’s theories were a manifestation of romantic-idealism. The romanticism attributed to Tönnies and the revival of romantic thought during the Nazi era adversely affected the reception of his work. The unfounded association is perhaps most tragically revealed in a paper published in the American Sociological Review in 1937 wherein German sociologist Rudolf Heberle wrote that Tönnies’s ideas on law “have today a high degree of actuality with regard to the reforms in German law proposed by the national-socialist government” (Heberle 1937, 19; my emphasis). A decade later, a republication of the paper was revised to read that Tönnies’s ideas “have attained a high degree of actuality in spite of their perversion by the National Socialist regime” (Heberle 1948, 155; my emphasis). Moreover, Tönnies’s empirical sociology, including the larger part of his criminology, is almost entirely excluded from the influence of his theoretical writings. This may have been due to its complexity in style and heavy reliance on statistical methods as well as because Tönnies’s empirical writings were scattered over many, often little known journals (Oberschall 1973, 174). An indication that Tönnies’s crime studies were not entirely excluded from international recognition is suggested by the fact that his conceptual paper on crime was delivered at the second congress of the International Institute of Sociology in Paris on 3 October 1895 and published in the Institute’s journal (Tönnies 1896a). At the meeting, Tönnies discussed his perspective in a session with contributions by, among others, renowned Italian criminologists Enrico Ferri (1896) and Raffaele Garofalo (1896). In consequence, to this day, Tönnies’s sociology is generally not well known. Moreover, Tönnies’s work has often been subjected to criticisms on the basis of a limited inspection of a small fragment of his theoretical writings. Aside from its values and limitations as an approach in criminological sociology, Tönnies’s work on crime is useful to consider in order to avoid a one-sided reading of his work. Tönnies’s Sociological Project: Ambition and Reality Tönnies’s aspiration that theory and research cannot stand alone should of course not prevent an independent judgment of the actual achievements of his work. In this respect,



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two difficulties of Tönnies’s sociology can be straightforwardly mentioned. Whereas in his early works, the distinction between pure and applied sociology was not always clearly drawn and the historical application of the theory not always convincing, Tönnies’s later writings were sharply split into pure, applied or empirical sociology. Rarely did he offer theoretical elaborations in his empirical work, nor much systematic empirical findings to support his theoretical expositions. Also, Tönnies’s ambition to combine different schools of thought (exemplified, for instance, in his concept of crime that considered both psychological and sociological determinants) did little to enhance the reception of his work. As such, Tönnies’s career exemplified that the search for public recognition by an innovative scholar can only be successfully achieved in a polarized controversy, whereby the third position remains usually “caught in the cross-fire between hostile camps” (Merton 1961, 57). As a result, also, the relationship between Tönnies’s perspective and the sociologies of the likes of Simmel, Weber and Durkheim has remained a matter of some debate (Mitzman 1973). One influential aspect in the reception of Tönnies’s work is the criticism that he would have romantically defended Gemeinschaft-like societies, while pessimistically criticizing industrial Gesellschaft. As a complement to this objection, it is often suggested that Tönnies failed to capture negative or conflictual social relationships and defended an unjustifiably harmonious picture of social life (e.g., Abel 1970, 135; Bellebaum 1966, 113–15; König 1955, 408–10; Oberschall 1973, 165). Other scholars, however, have rejected these criticisms to emphasize that Tönnies’s concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, as abstract conceptual constructs, do not imply a value judgment and are strictly analytical (e.g., Cahnman and Heberle 1971, x; Freyer 1926, 8; Heberle 1937, 21).The interpretation that Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are analytical tools is founded on the fact that Tönnies explicitly wrote that a society can only to a certain degree be called Gemeinschaft or Gesellschaft. Still, this defense of Tönnies’s approach clarifies the aspiration of his sociology without inquiring into its effective usefulness. Based on this analysis of Tönnies’s criminological sociology, a stronger claim can be made that such objections against Tönnies’s work are without rational foundation. Sociology and Statistics An evaluation of Tönnies’s criminological sociology cannot overlook his extensive use of quantitative data and statistical methods of analysis, which has also been of some debate in the contemporary methodological literature (Bellebaum 1966; Terwey 1981; Tönnies 1929f; Zimmermann 2011). Tönnies recognized several methodological difficulties in the use of available crime statistics (Tönnies 1895, 331–8). He realized that official statistics did usually not present an accurate picture of all crimes, for instance, because they did not register manipulations in commerce and crimes that had not been reported to the authorities. Also, the seriousness of crimes, Tönnies argued, could statistically not be studied in terms of a comparison between professional and occasional thieves because the professional thieves often failed to appear in statistics, specifically because of such factors as that imprisonment blocked their criminal careers, that they became less criminal when they got older, and because they often fled abroad. In light of such methodological

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limitations, Tönnies claimed, an empirical sociological study with public statistics alone could never suffice as official statistics served purposes that did not necessarily coincide with the aims of the sociologist. Hence, Tönnies relied on multiple measures of observation in his work. Tönnies’s methods of statistical analysis cannot technically live up to the standards of contemporary research tools. More surprising is the fact that in Tönnies’s days more advanced statistical techniques were already available, leading to criticisms of his association measure (Stoltenberg 1919; Striefler 1931). Tönnies was well aware of the progress made in statistical correlation and, in the paper in which he introduced his association measure, he acknowledged that during his research he had found out that famous mathematician Karl Pearson had developed a similar method (Tönnies 1909, 709–10). For his research on criminals in Schleswig-Holstein, Tönnies (1924, 804–5) had one of his students compute the Pearson correlation coefficient for his data, noting that the results were nearly identical with his. The reasons for Tönnies’s refusal to adopt a technically more sophisticated method of analysis are related to his position on the value and limitations of statistics. Tönnies argued that statistical techniques could serve sociology in accurately expressing the features of social forms, but they could not form the basis of sociological inquiry. Tönnies refused to employ a method based on probability calculus (such as Pearson’s correlation measure) because he did not conceive of the social world as a world of chance. Only concepts of pure sociology, he argued, could determine what was relevant to be studied and what relationships could theoretically be expected between, but not randomly assigned to, variables. Probability statistics for Tönnies unacceptably substituted pure sociology with mathematics (Tönnies 1931a, 327). This critique of probability statistics may also explain Tönnies’s obvious mistake in assigning the correlation cases a value twice as high as the contact-places in the computation of his measure of association. The Forgotten Criminologist Tönnies’s approach to the study of crime reveals both similarities and differences with the prevailing theories of his days. Tönnies’s criminological perspective is intimately related to the important nineteenth-century discussion on the causality of crime. Specifically, it is to be noted that Tönnies, while predominantly interested in the social causes of crime, did not entirely neglect certain biological or, more generally, individual-level causes. Biological analyses, Tönnies (1895) asserted, were only useful when comparative studies of races and nations would be undertaken to relate the physionomics of criminals to the specific social conditions in which they appear. Tönnies was opposed to biological theories, notably the eugenics movement (Tönnies 1898, 237–42), because they failed to take into account that crime was but a conspicuous symptom of certain conditions of the social and economic order. In particular, as Tönnies already remarked in his very first published writing on crime, “the influences of big-city life and big industry on the artisan and family life of the working class” should be taken into account to explain crime as a social phenomenon (Tönnies 1890, 375).



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For Tönnies, more crucial than the debate on sociological versus biological explanations of crime was his aspiration to remove crime from legal theory and subject it to scientific analysis. Rejecting a classic notion of deterrence based on free-will conceptions, Tönnies defended a causal perspective (sociological or otherwise). Revealing the hope of the Positivist School of criminology to tackle the root causes of crime, Tönnies argued that crime should become an objective matter to be studied through biological, psychological or sociological scientific analysis (Tönnies 1912a). This approach clashed with the justice-oriented conceptions of crime in the Classical School of criminology, which held that crime had to be looked at from the perspective of its consequences and the sense of justice that had been violated and had to be restored through punishment (Beirne 1993). Rather than arguing for or against certain very particular root causes of crime (for instance, biological versus social conditions), this early form of scientific criminology was preoccupied with arguing that crime should at all be subjected to the principles of scientific inquiry through causal analysis. Individual and Society from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft As mentioned earlier in this chapter, the criticisms most often raised against Tönnies included that he would unjustly have posited a necessary relationship between human will and society and that his ideal-typical concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft would have prevented him from uncovering negative social relationships. On theoretical grounds and especially in light of Tönnies’s criminological sociology, these criticisms cannot be maintained. From a theoretical viewpoint, the critique that the human will would not always be engrossed in social relationships misunderstands Tönnies’s concept of will. Tönnies contended that the human will is always involved in the formation of society, but not that this will is thereby necessarily the willed (in the sense of the freely chosen) expression of people’s attitudes toward their social surroundings. The concept of the human will, as a matter of pure sociology, merely implies that people’s psychological makeup, whether resistant or obedient, is always positioned in relation to societal constellations. Tönnies’s thesis on the mutual implication of human will and social formations, ideal-typically conceived, actually enables a critique of the actualized specific relationships between individual and society. Tönnies expressed this viewpoint well in his discussion of Durkheim’s (1895a) Rules of Sociological Method and the debate between Durkheim (1895b) and Gabriel Tarde (1895) that followed the publication of the book (Tönnies 1898, 495–7). On one hand, Tönnies concurred with Durkheim that “social facts”—a term that Tönnies considered identical to his own concept of “social wills” (Tönnies 1898, 496)—are somehow independent from, and have a certain force over, individual consciousness. But, on the other hand, Tönnies maintained, Tarde “is absolutely right when he calls sociological concepts which are released from all psychological foundation, frivolous and fantastic. In Durkheim, indeed, the psychological foundation is entirely missing” (ibid., 496). In addition, Tönnies argued that the force of social life over individuals, emphasized by Durkheim, is only a special case: “the general is the reciprocity (Wechselwirkung) between,

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on one hand, the individuals, and, on the other hand, a social will which is looked upon by them, conceived as substantially, and, therefore precisely, created” (ibid., 497). Thus, Tönnies’s position was located between Tarde’s and Durkheim’s, refuting both psychological reductionism and sociologism. Tönnies’s claim on the relationship between human will and social formations should therefore be understood to indicate the abstractly conceived and empirically variable mutual dependencies of individual and society. The critique that Tönnies did not or could not unravel negative social relationships especially appears without substance in light of his crime studies. The fact that Tönnies viewed crime as caused primarily by the social, particularly economic, contradictions of society demonstrates that he clearly acknowledged that social relationships could be negative. The rise of property crimes, for instance, Tönnies attributed to the social and economic conditions of a society in transition to Gesellschaft. Tönnies expressed this viewpoint explicitly in his review of Durkheim’s Rules, where he was surprised to observe that Durkheim’s perspective led to the “curious result, that criminality would be a normal phenomenon of social life” (Tönnies 1898, 496). Acknowledging that Tönnies’s sociology did not unjustifiably assume social order and harmony, there is disagreement on how to interpret the negativity of social problems within Tönnies’s overall theoretical framework. Some authors have suggested that Tönnies’s theoretical perspective of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft remains problematically related to the negative relationships he recognized in his empirical studies (Bellebaum 1966, 188; Terwey 1981, 167). Other scholars have argued that Tönnies’s dual perspective of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft has to be expanded to include a third category of “pathology,” analogous to Max Weber’s ideal-typical distinction between the positive relationships of sociation in community and society (Vergemeinschaftung and Vergesellschaftung) and the negative relationship of conflict (Kampf) (Cahnman and Heberle 1971, xiii; Heberle 1973, 66). Neither of these interpretations does justice to Tönnies’s work. The social problems Tönnies investigated should not be conceived as problematic with, nor as a third category next to, but as implied within the framework of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Much like Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are meant to ideal-typically separate two societal forms, social relationships in either one of these formations can be distinguished in terms of relative degrees of “pathology” or “normalcy.” Therefore, for instance, does it make sense that Tönnies differentiated between criminals from urban and rural backgrounds, referring to the negative, criminogenic effects of Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft, respectively. Likewise, with the distinction between rogues and offenders, Tönnies indicated negative relationships produced under conditions of either type of society. Additionally, as Parsons (1973) has suggested, Tönnies conceived of negative relationships in terms of the strains of change and transition associated with the evolution of society from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. This aspect of Tönnies’s sociology of crime is exemplified, for instance, in his discussion on the rise of certain (profit-driven) crimes and the decline of other (expressive and violent) criminal activities. Tönnies’s perspective, then, implies that certain social dynamics, conceived in terms of the development from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft, as well as certain social states within these societal forms, could produce particular forms of



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crime. From this perspective it makes sense that Tönnies discussed the changing nature of crime from offense to roguery, the relationship between types and rates of crime and changes in size of town or village, and the relative rise and decline of certain forms of crime over time.

Conclusion This chapter has reviewed the criminological sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies in the context of his sociology and theory of society and law. The neglect of this aspect of Tönnies’s work has led some to overlook an important contribution to the study of crime and has also contributed to prevent a proper understanding of Tönnies’s sociological project. Of course, this analysis cannot specifically influence sociological work on crime today other than by sensitizing researchers to certain historical antecedents in formulating a theoretically sound sociological framework within which empirical crime studies need to be take place. The historical fact remains that Tönnies’s writings in general, and particularly his crime studies, have been neglected and that criminological sociology has developed without Tönnies. The fact, for instance, that the volume of Tönnies’s writings on crime by far surpasses Durkheim’s brief discussions on the theme will not alter the situation that Durkheim’s work is more relevant for theory and research in criminological sociology. As a contribution to the history of sociology, this chapter has revealed the distinctive characteristics of Tönnies’s sociology of crime and contributed to reevaluate the intent and scope of his sociological project. Tönnies’s theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft should be conceived as essentially serving the sociological study of society. As much as Tönnies’s empirical research was theoretically substantiated, his social theory informed the examination of some crucial and problematic conditions of his society. Tönnies’s sociological theory did not entail a simplistic reduction of societal complexities but was instead intended to uncover society in its varied forms and the social problems it produced. As such, Tönnies was fundamentally engaged in theoretical as well as empirical work on the social conditions and problems he regarded as important. With the danger of sociology tilting either toward sterile theoretical reflections or toward uninformed empirical research, not least of all in the study of crime, Tönnies’s work may continue to serve as a strong reminder to develop a sociology that is both theoretically sound and capable of empirical examination.

Note This chapter is revised from an article that first appeared in History of the Human Sciences (Deflem 1999).

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Barnes, Harry E. and Becker, Howard 1938, Social Thought from Lore to Science. Boston, MA: D.C. Heath and Company. Bellebaum, Alfred 1966, Das soziologische System von Ferdinand Tönnies unter besonderer Berücksichtigung seiner soziographischen Untersuchungen. Meisenheim am Glan: Verlag Anton Hain. Cahnman, Werner J. 1968, “Toennies and Social Change.” Social Forces. Vol. 47. 136–44. Cahnman, Werner J. and Heberle, Rudolf 1971, “Introduction.” In Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied, and Empirical. Edited by Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle, vii–xxii. Chicago: University of Chicago. Deflem, Mathieu 1997, “Surveillance and Criminal Statistics: Historical Foundations of Governmentality.” Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Volume 17. Edited by Austin Sarat and Susan Silbey, 149–84. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press. Deflem, Mathieu 1999, “Ferdinand Tönnies on Crime and Society: An Unexplored Contribution to Criminological Sociology.” History of the Human Sciences. Vol. 12, Issue 3. 87–116. Deflem, Mathieu 2001, “Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–1936).” In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online. Edited by Edward Craig. London: Routledge. Deflem, Mathieu 2014, “Introduction to the Transaction Edition.” In Custom: An Essay on Social Codes, by Ferdinand Tönnies, ix–xvii. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction. Durkheim, Émile (1895a) 1982, The Rules of Sociological Method. Translated by W. D. Halls. New York: The Free Press. Durkheim, Émile 1895b, “Crime et Santé Sociale.” Revue Philosophique. Vol. 20. 518–23. Fechner, Rolf 1992, Ferdinand Tönnies: Werkverzeichnis. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Ferri, Enrico 1896, “Le Crime comme Phénomène Sociale.” Annales de l’Institut International de Sociologie. Vol. 2. 411–34. Freyer, Hans 1936, “Ferdinand Tönnies und seine Stellung in der deutschen Soziologie.” Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv. Vol. 44. 1–9. Garofalo, Raffaele 1896, “Le Crime comme Phénomène Sociale.” Annales de l’Institut International de Sociologie. Vol. 2. 435–46. Heberle, Rudolf 1937, “The Sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies.” American Sociological Review. Vol. 2. 9–25. Heberle, Rudolf (1948) 1966, “The Sociological System of Ferdinand Tönnies: ‘Community’ and ‘Society.’” In An Introduction to the History of Sociology, 2nd abridged edition. Edited by Harry Barnes, 144–65. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Heberle, Rudolf 1968, “Tönnies, Ferdinand.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Volume 16. Edited by David L. Sills, 98–103. New York: MacMillan & The Free Press. Heberle, Rudolf 1973, “The Sociological System of Ferdinand Tönnies: An Introduction.” In Ferdinand Tönnies: A New Evaluation. Edited by Werner J. Cahnman, 47–69. Leiden: E.J. Brill. König, René 1955, “Die Begriffe Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft bei Ferdinand Tönnies.” Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie Vol. 7. 348–420. Merton, Robert K. (1961) 1973, “Social Conflict over Styles of Sociological Work.” In his The Sociology of Science, 47–69. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mitzman, Arthur 1973, Sociology and Estrangement: Three Sociologists of Imperial Germany. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Oberschall, Anthony 1973, “The Empirical Sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies.” In Ferdinand Tönnies: A New Evaluation. Edited by Werner J. Cahnman, 160–80. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Park, Robert E. and Burgess, Ernest W. 1924, Introduction to the Science of Sociology, 2nd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Parsons, Talcott 1937, The Structure of Social Action. Glencoe, IL: The Free Press. Parsons, Talcott 1973, “Some Afterthoughts on Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.” In Ferdinand Tönnies: A New Evaluation. Edited by Werner J. Cahnman, 151–9. Leiden: E.J. Brill. Salomon, Albert 1936, “In Memoriam Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–1936).” Social Research. Vol. 3. 348–63.



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Contributors Christopher Adair-Toteff is fellow, Center for Social and Political Thought, University of South Florida and senior research fellow (hon), School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent. He has a PhD in philosophy but for the past two decades he has focused primarily on classical German sociology. He is the author of Sociological Beginnings: The First Conference of the German Society for Sociology (2005), Fundamental Concepts in Max Weber’s Sociology of Religion (2015) and Max Weber’s Sociology of Religion (2016). His articles have appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Classical Sociology, History of the Social Sciences, Max Weber Studies and the European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology. He is a contributor to the Anthem Companion to Max Weber (forthcoming) and to the Anthem Companion to Karl Mannheim (forthcoming), and is the editor of the Anthem Companion to Troeltsch (forthcoming). Stefan Bertschi holds a PhD in sociology and is an independent sociologist and change management consultant. Before joining Pcubed, he was responsible for process transformation, IT launch and business change projects at Ford Motor Company. Prior to this, he worked for various companies (including telecoms, financial services and media) in delivering strategy and improvements through disciplined delivery and communication. Kenneth C. Bessant is associate professor of rural development at Brandon University, Canada. His research interests include community change dynamics, collective action, social field theory, authentic community, and the relational self. Some of his work on community has appeared in the Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, Sociological Inquiry, and the Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. Niall Bond is associate professor at the University Lyon 2 and researcher at the Institut d’Histoire des Représentations et des Idées dans les Modernités in the national laboratoire d’excellence, Constitution de la Modernité. He has a PhD in politics and German. He is currently working, among other things, on the importation of German social theory to the United States with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. He has also worked extensively as a translator and conference interpreter between English, German and French. Mathieu Deflem is professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina. His teaching and research specialties include law and social control, policing, popular culture, and sociological theory. He has authored dozens of articles and three books, including The Policing of Terrorism: Organizational and Global Perspectives (2010) and Sociology of Law: Visions of a Scholarly Tradition (2008).

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David Inglis is professor of sociology in the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter. He writes in the areas of social theory, historical sociology, cultural sociology, and the sociology of food and drink. He is the founding editor of the journal Cultural Sociology. Efraim Podoksik is senior lecturer, Department of Political Science, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He received his PhD in 2002 from the University of Cambridge. His fields of research are British intellectual history and German intellectual history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and history of political thought. He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Oakeshott (2012), and the author of In Defence of Modernity: Vision and Philosophy in Michael Oakeshott (2003) and many journal articles. His current research deals with Georg Simmel’s philosophy. Slavko Splichal is professor of communication and public opinion at the University of Ljubljana’s Faculty of Social Sciences, and fellow of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. He is founder and director of the European Institute for Communication and Culture and editor of its journal Javnost––The Public. He was a member of the International Council and Deputy Secretary General of the International Association for Media and Communication Research and has been on the editorial boards of several journals including the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Journal of Communication, Journalism Studies, Gazette and New Media and Society. Since 2011 he has been chair of the advisory board of the European Communication Research and Education Association. His English-language books include Public Opinion: Developments and Controversies in the Twentieth Century (1999), Principles of Publicity and Press Freedom (2002), Ferdinand Tonnies on Public Opinion: Selections and Analyses (with H. Hardt, 2004) and Transnationalization of the Public Sphere and the Fate of the Public (2012). William Stafford, emeritus professor, formerly of the School of Music and Humanities, University of Huddersfield, is a historian of ideas. A pupil of Sir Isaiah Berlin, he has published on British radical thinkers between 1775 and 1830, conceptions of gender in the late eighteenth century, John Stuart Mill, narratives of Mozart’s life and death, and Ferdinand Tönnies.

Index Abel, Theodore 215, 219 academy 79–80, 182 action 3, 39, 43 Adair-Toteff, Christopher 1, 7, 9, 11, 13, 18, 27, 29, 61, 63, 74, 79, 91, 96, 103, 109, 112, 117, 137, 205, 213, 219 Adorno, Theodor 183 adversaries 3 Africa 100 aggregate states 167–68 Agyemang, Felix S.K. 106, 117 airports 113–15 Albion 199 Aldous, Joan 60, 62, 65, 82, 96, 106, 108, 117 alienation 4 Allan, Graham 79, 96 Alter, Theodore R. 73, 75 Althoff, Friedrich 190 America 14, 92, 148 analyses 2, 7, 45, 80, 95, 165, 177, 216 Anderson, Benedict R. 185, 201 Anokye, Prince Aboagye 100 antifeminists 150 antisemitism 91 appropriation 47 architecture 4, 99, 104–5, 109–12, 114 areotropolis 113 arson 207 artificiality 2 Augé, Marc 94, 96, 99, 109–10, 113–17 Austria 19–20 authority 17, 91, 129, 132, 134–36, 138, 159, 162, 170, 177, 188, 198 authors 1, 16, 21, 34–35, 64, 119, 162, 170, 218 autobiography 54 Bachofen, Joseph 14, 188 Bacon, Francis 4, 122–23, 125, 137, 139 Bahktin, Michael 74 Baldwin, James 169 Bardsley, Nicholas 71, 75 Barnes, Harry 214, 220

Bauer, Wilhelm 159 Bauman, Zygmunt 64, 72, 75 beaches 100 Bebel, August 150, 193, 203 Beck, Ulrich 18, 80 Becker, Howard 214, 220 Behemoth 4, 120, 131, 139 Beirne, Piers 217 Bellebaum, Alfred 215, 218, 220 Bensman, Joseph 63, 77 Bentham, Jerem 161, 169, 174, 178 Bergey, James 111–12, 117 Bergner, John T. 85, 96 Bernstein, Edward 29, 193 Bernstein, Karl 16 Bertschi, Stefan 4, 99–117 Bessant, Kenneth 3, 59–77 Bethmann Hollweg 191 Binkley, Robert C. 160, 178 Bismarck, Otto von 33, 138, 185, 193, 195–96 Blakely, Edward J. 100–1, 103, 117 Blandy, Sarah 100–1, 117 blood 8, 19, 37, 108, 144, 192 Blüm, Norbert 192, 201 Blumer, Herbert 167 Boak, H.L. 148, 157 Boers 196 Bond, Niall 2–3, 5–6, 9, 11, 28–29, 33–57, 60, 64, 75, 99, 101, 106–7, 109–12, 117, 119–20, 129, 156–57, 137–38, 141, 181–202 Boomburbs 100 Bouglé, Celestine 35 bourgeois 15, 25, 30, 34, 37, 52, 54, 84, 90, 130–33, 141, 143, 149, 157, 160, 173–74, 178, 184–85, 190, 196, 198 Brandt, Frithjof 120, 130 Braun, Heinrich and Lily 149, 191 Brennan, Mark A. 102, 117 Brentano, Franz 15 Bridger, Jeffrey C. 73, 75 Brint, Steven 63, 75 British Museum 119

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Bruendel, Steffen 199–200, 202 Bruhn, John G. 106, 108, 117 Brunner, Otto 194, 202 Bryce, James 162, 162 Buber, Martin 14, 16, 29, 70, 74–75 Bücher, Karl 175 Burgess, Ernst W. 214, 220 Burj Khalifa 113 Burke, Edmund 199 Burrow, John W. 107, 117 bus interchange 113 business park 113 Caesarism 130, 133 Cahnman, Werner 27, 29, 62, 66–69, 73, 75–77, 81, 91, 96, 165, 169, 178–79, 214–15, 218, 220, 222–23 Cairo 113 Calhoun, Craig 95–96 capital 4, 23–24, 39, 49, 64, 73–74, 85–88, 90–91, 143, 170, 175–77, 186, 190, 192, 194, 197 capitalism 14, 23, 25, 29, 49, 52, 72, 80, 84–87, 93–94, 96–97, 143, 154, 177, 186–87, 189–90, 193 caricature 79, 155 Carlyle, Thomas 188 Carpenter, James O. 109, 115, 117 Carstens, Uwe 91, 96, 120, 137–38, 143, 145, 149, 156–57, 200–2 Castells, Manuel 96 cathedrals 112 Chamberlain, Kerry 64, 76 cities in the air 113, 118 clerics 37 clichés 5, 79 cohabitation 38, 47 coincidence–places 209 Coleman, James S. 65, 71, 75 Collier, Peter 121, 139 commerce 3, 39, 44, 87, 89, 114, 215 common law 15, 46, 206 common people 7, 86, 143, 152, 155 communism 14, 189–90, 194 communitarianism 103 Compton Cavendish 191 conference center 113 confusion 14, 151, 194 Connor, Stuart 71, 75 conservatism 2, 176 constellations 43, 82, 111, 217 contact-places 210

Contagious Diseases Acts 150 contributions 1–3, 48, 55, 59, 73–74, 79–80, 120, 149, 159, 183, 201, 205, 207, 214 Conze, Werner 202 Cooley, Charles Horton 169 Copernicus 26 correlation 44, 151, 164, 209–10, 216 corruption 50, 155, 176 Coser, Louis 107, 111, 117 cosmopolitanism 95 costumes 17 Coudenhove-Kalergi 191 craftsman 15 criminal statistics 6, 205, 208, 220 criminality 4 Cromwell, Oliver 130 Cronick, Karen 71, 75 Crow, Graham 79, 96 culture 3, 5, 12–14, 17–18, 35, 37, 47–48, 50–56, 61, 63, 89–90, 92, 94–97, 100, 111, 142, 153, 157, 174, 178, 185, 187, 190–91, 194, 196, 198–99 Cunow, Heinrich 131, 139, 191 custom 12, 16 customary law 206 Dahrendorf, Ralf 182, 192, 202 Danish Empire 191 Davis, Mike 101–2, 113, 115, 117 de Beauvoir, Simone 149 Deflem, Matthieu 6, 96–97, 109, 117, 205–20 Deichsel, Alexander 34 democracy 6, 20, 130, 132, 134, 136, 157, 179, 188, 190, 192, 195–98 demographics 21 demons 114 Descartes, René 4, 123 Deutsch, Karl 183 Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Soziologie (DGS) (German Society for Sociology) 2, 4, 8–9, 11, 18–21, 25–26, 29–30, 33, 41, 97, 139, 181, 189, 198–99, 213 Dewey, John 64, 71, 75, 159, 161, 174 dialectical womb 46 Dilthey, Wilhelm 3, 35–39, 41–42, 47, 56, 181–82, 202 directional concepts 206 discipline 1–2, 5, 11, 17–18, 21–25, 33–34, 41, 76, 80, 122–23, 169, 182–83, 198–99, 213 disenchantment 113 Disneyland 114



Index

distance 2, 29, 34, 45–46, 53, 55–56, 83, 87, 102, 107, 110, 114, 116, 182, 188–89, 202 dock strike 210 dominance 17, 59, 82, 111 Dresden 50 Dubai 113, 117 Duchesne, Sophie 182, 202 Duke Friedrich VIII von Augustenburg 193 Durkheim, Émile 3, 5, 60, 68, 75, 82, 91–92, 96–97, 106, 108, 116–17, 183, 215, 217–20 Eberle, Thomas S. 118 economics 6, 29, 52, 75, 188, 194, 213 Elbe 33 elders 17, 170 emotiveness 33, 186 empirical scientist 2 empirical theory 6 Engels, Friedrich 15, 84, 174 England 4–5, 14, 119, 138, 200, 203 English Garden City 100 entities 3, 42, 59–62, 65–70, 72–74, 104, 133 epistemology 36–37, 81, 124 equality 5, 63, 129, 149, 156 Erfurt Platform 190 errors 41, 120 establishment 3, 18, 20, 50, 85, 136, 143, 192–93, 196, 198 ethical offenses 207 ethos 34 Euclid 39 eudemonism 52 Europe 14, 81, 86–87, 94, 128, 148, 154, 199–201 Evans, R. J. 149–50, 157 evolution 12, 44–45, 49–50, 119–20, 130, 191, 198, 206, 208 evolution of law 206 evolutionary perspective 206 Factor, Regis 17, 31 factory owners 15 family 4, 15–16, 22–23, 43, 50, 60–61, 66, 106, 141–45, 147, 149–51, 153, 155, 157, 184, 187, 189, 194, 197–98, 208, 216 fashion 17 Fechner, Rolf 205, 220 feminine spirit 155 Ferguson, Adam 49, 56, 145 Fernback, Jan 64, 75 Ferri, Enrico 214, 220 Fichte, J. G. 8, 15, 138, 188

229

financial gain 4 Fischer, Kuno 122–23, 137, 139 folk-life 207 formal court 206 France 15 Francke, Kuno 20 Frankfurt School 95, 183 free press 5, 174 Freiburg 48 Freyer, Hans 181, 191, 215, 220 Friedrichs, Jürgen 102, 117 Frisby, David 34 Frischesein-Kohler, Max 122 future 3–4, 12–14, 36, 38, 80, 82, 87, 91, 93, 96, 99, 112, 115–17, 119, 126, 144, 155, 176, 190, 200 Galileo 123 Garofalo, Raffaele 214, 220–21 Gaskin, J. C. A. 120, 139 Gassendi, Pierre 123 gated communities 4, 100–3, 106, 113–15, 117–18 Gautier, Théophile 112 Geiger, Theodore 21 gender 5–6, 22, 76, 141–57, 184 German culture 5, 52, 185, 199 German intelligentsia 91 German Romanticism 34 ghosts 114 Giddens, Anthony 64, 56, 75 Gierke, Otto von 135–36, 139, 197, 201 Gilbert, Margaret 65, 71, 75 Gleicher, David 71, 75 globalization 4, 52, 64, 79–97, 174, 182 globe 82, 88, 92, 95 Gneist, Rudolf von 131, 189 Goethe, Wolfgang von 7, 18, 51, 125, 139, 150 Goldsmith, M. M. 120 Gollin, Albert E. 61, 75 Gollin, Gillian L. 61, 75 Great War 14 Greven, M. T. 141–42, 157 Grimm, Jakob und Wilhelm 7–9 Grotius, Hugo 132 Grundmann, Reiner 91, 96 Habermas, Jürgen 5, 72, 75, 93, 96, 159–60, 178 Hannerz, Ulf 92, 96 Hansen, Ferdinand 176 Harden, Maxmilian 191

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Hardt, Hanno 93, 97, 176, 178 Harms, Bernhard 27–28 Harris, Jose 1, 7, 9, 31, 91, 156–57, 178, 181–82, 204 Hart, James G. 70, 76 Harvard 20 Heberle, Rudolf 62, 75–77, 97, 143, 148–49, 157, 165, 179, 214–15, 218, 220, 222–23 Hegel, G. W. F. 5, 14, 16, 29, 35, 122, 143–45, 148, 161–64, 178, 188, 194–95 Heidelberg 19, 22, 181 Heile, Wilhelm 200, 202 hell on earth 15 Hellpach, Willy 16 Hennig, Marina 59, 76 Herford College 121 Herkner, Heinrich 189 Hesse, Hermann 7 heteroptia 115 Heuss, Theodor 185 historicism 36–37, 39, 111 history 6–9, 11–13, 16, 24–26, 29, 33–39, 45–46, 49, 53, 55–56, 76, 81, 83, 96–97, 100, 113–14, 121–24, 137–40, 150, 156–57, 159, 181–82, 185–86, 188, 190–92, 194, 201–2, 206, 213, 219–12 Hobbes, Thomas 2, 4, 11, 15, 33, 36, 39, 119–40, 142, 145, 183, 187–88, 194–95, 200–4 Hobsbawm, Eric 90, 97 Hodgetts, Darrin 64, 76 Hohenzollern monarchy 196, 199 Hollis, Margaret 1, 7, 9, 31, 178, 181, 204 homeowners assosiations 100 Honigsheim, Paul 20 hotels 112–13 Holton, Robert J. 97 housing 15, 100, 116–18, 150, 211 housing conditions 211 Howard, Ebenezer 100, 117 human beings 8, 12, 18, 41, 65, 69, 83, 102–3, 107–8, 144, 146 human causality 13 Humboldt University 110 Hume, David 13 Husserl, Edmund 70, 76, 136 ideal types 21, 28, 62, 93, 111, 141, 165–66, 206 Imhof, Kurt 118 Ilting, Karl-Heinz 119, 138–39 industrial estate 113

industrialists 15 industry 3, 89, 97, 150, 154, 160, 186, 216 infractions 207, 208 Inglis, David 3–4, 9, 62, 76, 79–97 intersection 37, 43, 61, 105, 109, 114, 193, 202 Jacobins 131 Jacoby, E. G. 60, 61, 74, 76, 138, 204 Jaffé, Edgar 199 Jenkins, Richard 114 Jews 91 jingoism 35, 200 Johannesson, Jürg 121, 139 judgments 3, 12, 18, 20, 28, 47, 51–52, 123–24, 153, 156, 173, 182 Jurkat, Ernst 207, 211–12, 223 Käsler, Dirk 7–8, 13, 16 Kant, Immanuel 2, 5, 16, 27, 29, 33, 35, 40, 42, 48, 52–53, 56, 92, 122–23, 125, 137–38, 153, 157, 161–63, 166, 174, 180 Kasarda, John D. 113 Kaufmann, Harold F. 63, 76 Kautsky, Karl 191 Keane, John 95, 97 Kelsen, Hans 20, 202 Kelly, Duncan 20, 138–39 Kepler, Johannes 26 Kiel 21, 27, 36, 38, 56, 121, 181–82, 189, 202, 213, 221 knights 8 Köhnke, Klaus Christian 107, 109, 119 König, René 33, 182, 215, 220 Koselleck, Reinhart 194, 202 Kutz, Christopher 71, 76 La Montagne 131 labor laws 15 land 8, 15, 17, 33, 115, 190 Landauer, Gustav 16 Lang, Robert E. 100, 112, 115, 117 Lange, Friedrich Albert 15, 124, 139 Lash, Scott 95, 97 Lassalle, Ferdinand 15, 131 Lasswell, Harold D. 177–78 “last people” 52 Le Goix, Renaud 101, 118 Lee, David 63–64, 76 Lehnert, Detlef 185, 202 Leibniz, G. W. 4, 123 Lepenies, Wolf 122, 139



Index

Lepsius, M. Rainer 30–31, 99, 110, 118 Levine, Donald 34, 118 Lichtblau, Klaus 11, 30–31, 34, 56, 118 Liebersohn, Harry 12, 30 Lindner, Rolf 110–12, 118 Lindsay, Greg 113, 117 Lippmann, Walter 159, 176–78 Lister, Diane 100–1, 117 little people 7 local government 5, 150 locality 60, 62, 84, 86–87, 100, 107, 196 Locke, John 7, 9, 76–77, 97, 129–39, 138, 169, 178, 183, 187–88, 195, 201, 204, 223 Loomis, Charles 1, 62 Löw, Martina 101, 118 Lury, Celia 95, 97 Luther, Martin 8 Lutheran Church 198 machines 15, 50 Macpherson, C. B. 133 Maine, Henry 14 Malcolm, Noel 120, 139 Mann, Thomas 52, 191, 198 Mannheim, Karl 20 Marburg School 13, 198 Marcuse, Herbert 101, 118 marriage 16, 22, 143, 149, 151 Marx, Karl 3–6, 11, 15, 22, 26, 29, 33, 35–36, 48–49, 56–57, 76, 80, 84–86, 91, 93–97, 145, 148, 152, 154–55, 174, 184, 188–92, 194–95, 202, 204 Marxomania 190 mass suffrage 6 masses 6, 108, 131, 170, 173, 177, 196, 207, 213 Massey, Doreen 64, 76 master 15, 85, 117, 157 materialism 3, 26, 48, 52, 123–24, 139 McKinney, John C. 62, 76 Mead, George Herbert 169 mechanism 12, 38, 90, 94, 101, 107, 188 media barons 92 members 3–5, 7–8, 19–20, 22, 44, 47, 67–72, 83, 87, 102, 129, 170–72, 175, 181, 189, 198 mental life 104, 110, 112, 178 mental space 103, 107 mentalities 85 Merle, Wilhelm August 119, 133, 139 Mersenne 123, 140 Merton, Robert K. 215, 220 Merz-Benz, Peter-Ulrich 11, 30, 103–7, 118 metaphors 40, 142, 167

231

metaphysics 41, 142, 167 methodology 6, 20, 26 metropolis 3, 49–50, 54, 87–90, 92, 99, 101–17, 206 Meurer, Barbel 141–42, 157 Mexico City 116 Miami 100 Michels, Robert 21, 199, 202 military service 90, 150 Mill, John Stuart 34, 39, 150, 152, 162, 169, 178 Millar, John 145 Miller, Bryon 72, 76 Mills, C. Wright 167 minefield 43 Miner, Horace 62, 76 Mitzman, Arthur 81, 91, 97, 109, 118, 132, 138–39, 190, 196, 202, 215, 220 modernity 3–5, 29, 36, 38, 48, 52, 55–57, 63, 72, 75–76, 79, 81–82, 91, 93, 103, 109, 111–16, 123, 125 Mommsen, Theodor 33 monasteries 112 money 2 Montesquieu 138–39 moral statements 2 moral statistics 208 Moritz Hartmann, Ludo 19 Morris, William 154 motherhood 149 Mumbai 116 Munters, Q . J. 50, 56 murder 193, 207 mutuality 61, 66, 71 misogynist 5, 148 mysticism 26, 114 National Socialism 6, 82, 191, 193, 200, 213 nationalism 35, 80, 198–201, 203 Natorp, Paul 53, 189, 198 natural law 18, 26, 42, 46, 53, 119, 121, 128, 130, 132–38, 181–84, 186–88, 201 natural sciences 14, 36, 41 Nazi 6, 79, 121, 148, 151, 182, 185, 187, 201, 213–14 Nelson, Arthur C. 100, 112, 117 Neo-Kantianism 13, 29, 198 Nestor 33 Newby, Howard 63–64, 76 Newton, Issac 26 Nietzsche, Friedrich 2, 5, 11, 17, 20, 26–27, 29–30, 34–37, 51–54, 56–57, 137, 148, 154, 157, 195, 201, 203

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Nisbet, Robert A. 59, 63 nobles 23 Noelle-Neumann, Elisabeth 161, 177–78 nomothetic sociology 38, 47 normal concepts 21, 61, 73, 153, 166, 206 Oakeshott, Michael 133, 137, 139 Oberschall, Anthony 214–15, 220 observations 25, 45, 52, 62, 110, 112 offenders 207 Oppenheimer, Franz 20, 199 Ossietzky, Carl von 121 Otto-Peters, Lousie 149 Pahl, Raymond Edward 52, 56, 76 Pahl, Robert 62, 76 Palmer, Paul A. 160 Pan-Europe Union 191 paradox 13, 45, 101 Park, Robert 167, 214, 220 parks 100, 113–14 patriarchy 17, 37, 52, 145, 148, 151, 185, 188, 194, 200 Paulsen, Friedrich 39, 50, 53, 56, 107, 119–20, 188–89, 196 Payne, Robert 120, 139 Pearson, Karl 216 perjury 207 Pettit, Philip 70–71, 76 phantasmagoria 90 phenomenalism 124, 134 philologist 122 philology 123 philosophers 4, 11–12, 39, 68, 122–24, 148, 181, 184, 192 philosophy of culture 35 philosophy of history 12, 35–36, 38, 45, 55, 182, 188 Phnom Penh 113 pipedream 38 playgrounds 100 Plenge, Johanne 189, 191, 198–99, 202 Podoksik, Efraim 4, 119–40 political animal 127 political beliefs 5 political sociology 5 political theory 5 political views 5, 25, 128–29 politics 5, 23, 28, 36, 48, 79, 102, 117, 121–22, 127–30, 133–34, 137, 139, 146, 150, 157, 181–203, 220 Potsdamer Platz 115

Potter, Stephanie 64, 77 poverty 5, 23, 49, 101, 115 practices 16, 62, 72, 81, 85, 87–88, 94, 114, 160–61 progressivism 2 proletariat 14–15, 23, 30, 91, 117, 136, 180 proto-Nazi 79 prudence 126 psychology 34, 37, 40–42, 44, 54, 75–77, 126, 181, 186, 221 public judgment 161, 169, 179 public opinion 4–5, 61, 75, 80, 88, 92–93, 97, 159–79 Pufendorf 132 pure sociology 36, 55, 61, 73, 104, 111, 141, 208, 216–17 Quataert, J. H. 149–50, 157 Quetelet, Adolphe 40 radio 160 railway stations 112, 114 Rammstedt, Otto 34, 56 Ranger, Terence 90, 97 rationalism 4, 13, 36–37, 62–63, 122, 139, 154, 166, 184–85, 188, 193 rationality 2, 20, 28, 33, 36, 42, 71–72, 75, 82, 87, 93, 105, 125, 153–54, 159, 163, 165, 191 Raylor, Timothy 120, 137, 139 reciprocal effects 37, 42, 46, 55 regeneration 113 religion 17, 19, 28, 50, 53, 77, 128, 161, 163–64, 166–67, 169–70, 172–77 renewal 113 repulsion 40 reputation 79 Rickert, Heinrich 26, 38–39, 181 Ringer, Fritz 91, 97 Ritzer, George 94, 97 rivers 100 robbers 207 Rodin 52 roguery 207–8, 212, 219 Roman Empire 81 rootlootness 91 Roscher, Wilhelm 130, 139 Ross, Edward A. 169–70, 178 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques 118, 131, 136–37, 164 Rudolph,Günther 178, 192, 196, 202 rule 15–17, 39, 41–42, 44, 75, 130, 145–46, 172, 185, 196–97, 206–7, 217–18, 220



Index

Runciman, David 135, 139 Ruskin, John 51 Russell, Bertrand 191 Russia 14, 200 safety 4, 75 Salomon, Albert 214, 220 Samples, John 9, 153, 152, 213–14, 221 Sassen, Saskia 95, 97 Schäffle, Albert 33, 55, 180 Schelling, F. W. J. 185, 188 Schiller, Friedrich 36, 51–52, 57, 113, 145, 148 Schleiermacher, Friedrich 8 Schleswig-Holstein 50, 189, 193, 196, 202, 209–12, 216, 222–23 Schluchter, Wolfgang 27–28, 30 Schmid, Robert 60, 76 Schmitt, Carl 159, 191–92, 194–95, 197, 203 Schmoller, Gustav 26, 50, 179, 189, 195, 204, 222 Schnapper, Dominique 182–83, 203 Schofield, Barry 101, 118 Schönberg, Gustav 27–28 Schopenhauer, Arthur 5, 8, 34–36, 38, 40, 45, 48, 56, 148, 152, 155, 185–86, 188, 201 Schotte, Walter 200, 202 Schulze-Delitzsch, Franz Hermann 193 Schumpeter, Joseph 83, 97 Schweikard, David 70–71, 76 Searle, John R. 71, 76 Seaward, Paul 120, 139 Secomb, Linnell 64, 76 Second Empire 181, 193, 196 security 2, 52, 54, 64, 90, 96, 100–3, 111, 183, 193, 196 Sering, Max 199 servant 15, 149 shopping center 113 sidewalks 100 Siebeck, Paul 27–28 Sighele, Scipo 169 Simmel, Georg 2–4, 7, 11, 16–19, 24–31, 33–57, 99, 102–12, 115–18, 125, 139, 181–82, 192, 198–99, 213, 215 sketch 12–13, 121 Skinner, Quentin 120, 137, 139, 181 Smith, Adam 15, 83, 87 Smith, Greg 64, 76 Smith, P.D. 112, 115–18 Snyder, Mary Gail 100–1, 103, 117 “social atomism” 81 social Caesarist 129

233

Socrates 18 Sombart, Werner 2, 11, 14, 16, 18, 20–21, 23–25, 30, 41, 50, 91, 96, 110, 182, 189, 199 Sontheimer, Kurt 197, 203 Sorokin, Pitirim 1–2, 214, 221 Spann, Othmar 191 Spartacus League 198 Spencer, Herbert 34–35, 39, 46, 122, 137, 184, 192–93, 195, 200–1 Spinoza 4, 11, 35, 38–39, 48, 121, 123–24, 137, 140 spiritual matters 173 Splichal, Slavko 5, 93, 97, 159–78 St. John’s College 119 St. Louis 100 Stafford, William 4–5, 141–57 Stammler, Rudolf 28 Stehr, Nico 91, 96 Stein, Maurice R. 63, 73 sterotype 3, 79, 156 Stoltenberg 216, 221 Strauss, Leo 133, 137, 140, 187, 192, 203 streets 90, 100–1 Striefler, Heinrich 216, 221 Sudjic, Deyan 113, 118 supermodernity 96, 114–15, 117 supernatural sources 13 Swedberg, Richard 83, 97 swindlers 207 Sydie, R. A. 141, 153, 157 symbols 61, 80, 95 system 3, 15, 26, 36, 43, 54, 61–62, 75–76, 81–82, 86, 90, 96, 108, 123–26, 130, 132–33, 137, 143, 176, 220 Tanyeh, John Paul 100, 117 Tarde, Gabriele 159, 161, 167, 174, 217–18, 221 Tarlton, Charles D. 122, 140 tavern 23 Taylor, Charles 63, 76 Terwey, Micael 215, 218, 221 the city 48–49, 53, 57, 59, 61, 100–1, 105–7, 109–11, 115–16, 145 thieves 207, 211–12, 215 things purely of thought 206 Third Reich 182, 191–92, 200 thirteenth century 112 Thurnwald, Richard 20, 223 Tilman, Rich 61, 76 Tönnies, Carola 149

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Tönnies, Franziska 149 Tönnies, Marie 143, 148–49, 151, 198 trade 50, 84–87, 91, 105, 145, 152–53 trading spirit 190 tradition 13, 28, 33–34, 36, 38–40, 42, 47, 60, 87, 89–90, 96–97, 147, 159, 162, 164, 181, 183, 188, 192–93, 198–99, 206, 208 trails 100 trajectory 42 transgressions 6 Tregenza, Ian 137 Treitschke, Heinrich von 181, 204 tribe 7, 188 Troeltsch, Ernst 2, 11, 14, 18–19, 25–26, 30–31, 37, 57, 199 trust 8, 22, 27, 163, 169, 185 Tuck, Richard 120 Turner, Stephen 17, 31 twenty-first century 4, 79, 97, 100, 109, 112, 161 unilinear evolutionism 206 universality 13 universities 14, 21, 129, 190 urban space 99 urbanity 99, 101, 110, 115 urbanization 2, 6, 48, 61, 63, 185 Urry, John 64, 77, 95, 97 Vidich, Arthur J. 63, 77 Vienna 19, 197 Vierkandt, Arthur 18, 21–24, 31, 35, 157 violence 96, 169, 186–87, 198, 207, 210 volition 38 von Jhering, Rudolf 16, 24, 201 von Stein, Laurence 131, 189, 194–95 von Weise, Leopold 19, 21

Wagner, Adolph 131 war 11–12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 23, 35, 37, 79, 92, 128–30, 137, 142, 150, 183–85, 189, 192–93, 196–97, 199–201 Warren, Roland 63, 77 wealth 3, 23, 34, 49, 53, 183, 185, 189, 191, 208, 211 Webb, Charles and Beatrice 199 Weber, Max 2, 3, 7, 9, 11, 17–21, 24–25, 27–31, 33–35, 38–39, 41, 43, 47–48, 50–51, 54–58, 66–68, 75, 77–79, 81–82, 91, 93–94, 108, 110, 113–14, 117–18, 166, 181–83, 186–87, 189, 192, 198, 201–2, 204, 213, 215–18 Weimar 51, 134, 149, 156–57, 183, 185, 191–93, 197–99, 202–3 Wellman, Barry 59, 64 Wiesenfeld, Esther 71, 77 Wilkinson, Kenneth P. 72, 77 Williams, Raymond 48, 57 Willms, Bernard 121, 139 Wilson, Francis, G. 161, 179 Windelband, Wilhelm 26, 122, 128, 140 Wirth, Louis 52, 57, 65, 74, 111–12, 118, 214 Wollstonecraft, Mary 149 women 5, 17, 145–50, 152–57, 173, 200, 214, 223 workers 15 working class 3, 14, 23, 81, 90, 96, 196, 211, 216 world market 85–86, 88, 92, 175 world view 12, 95, 123, 135, 199 Yankelovich 161, 179 Zetkin, Clara 149 Zimmermann, Bénédicte 215, 223 Zurich 20