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Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft

Gemeinschaft and Gesselschaft are two abstract concepts developed by Ferdinand Tönnies to encapsulate the characteristics of society as it shifted from a rural base and reliance on agriculture to dependence on commerce within an urban setting. Gemeinschaft highlights community relations based on kinship in a preindustrial, agrarian society; many of these associations are extolled. Conversely, Gesellschaft is presented on the whole as a critique to modernity, with relationships based on economic transactions.

The concept is highly significant to urban studies as it warns against some of the threats of modernity that are more typically found in an urban setting. Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft denote relations between individuals within social structures while paying attention to the importance of human will. The ascent of Gesellschaft-type relations denotes an enhanced ...

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