Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are sociological categories introduced by the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies for two normal types of human association. (A normal type as coined by Tönnies is a purely conceptual tool to be built up logically, whereas an ideal type, as coined by Max Weber, is a concept formed by accentuating main elements of a historic/social change.) Tönnies' concepts of both Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, strictly separated from each other conceptually, are fully discussed in his work “Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft” (1887), seven more German editions). Only the second edition of 1912 turned out to be a success, and the antagonism of these two terms belonged to the general stock of concepts German pre-1933 intellectuals were quite familiar with and quite often misunderstood.

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