Summary of Tonnies, F. work on the Gemeinschaft  

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Ferdinand Toennies was a German sociologist who coined the terms gemeinschaft and gesellschaft to describe the socialization patterns in rural and urban areas respectively. With gemeinschaft people have close personal ties to each other and are governed largely by tradition. Thus in a rural village everyone knows everyone else and there is a sense of kinship in the community. The word gemeinschaft is actually German for community. In the deep south in the USA people have a strong religious background and all members of the community belong to the community church. Thus with gemeinschaft there is a high degree of social cohesion. With gesellschaft - the kind of social organization seen in more complex societies, communication is largely impersonal and people often lack a sense of belonging or identity and are often isolated and lonely.


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