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Community and Society

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  5 reviews
A classic in its field, Community and Society was not the first book to explore the composition of, and relationship between, these two types of social groups. Confucius spoke of fundamental social relationships between friends, family members, and rulers and subjects. Similarly, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and other great thinkers produced clear-cut classical ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 30th 2011 by Dover Publications (first published 1887)
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May 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adam, Shane, Jared
After years of getting him secondhand, I thought it was high time to read Tönnies directly. This book, first published in 1887, presents a simple and elegant model. Tönnies contrasts "community" (Gemeinschaft) with "society" (Gesellschaft) as modes of human existence -- the former being characteristic of premodern humanity, and the latter being characteristic of modern civilization.

In "community," according to Tönnies, human lives are bound together by kinship, proximity, custom, and religion.
Luke Echo
A central text in the history of Sociology. Reading against the debates between the anti-revolutionaries, such as Burke, de Maistre, Donoso Cortes, and the radicals like Prooudhon, Marx etc.. Tönnies offers a kind of theoretical framework that attempts to subsume both stances to a totalising historicised picture of social orders.
Jun 10, 2019 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition

Only read Book 1, on the theories of Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (civil society).

Tönnies holds "community" as the natural state of association which (d)evolves into civil society as exchange and commerce gain in power. I understood Gesellschaft to be nearly synonymous to a capitalist society.

Tönnies more or less acknowledges that community is held together by benevolent authoritarianism. Is equality incompatible with community?

The writing is expectedly academic.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it liked it
It is evident to see how influential Tonnies original views from 1887 have been on sociologists, anthropologists, etc... over the past 130 years. This book is based on two concepts to explain human mentality and behavior - Gemenischaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society). Foundational sociological work, but obviously a bit antiquated in views on male/female roles.
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Ferdinand Tönnies was a German philosopher and sociologist.