Society as a system
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In his dichotomy suggested in 1887 Ferdinandt Toennis (1855-1936) introduced Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft to differentiate between traditional and modern societies. American researcher Neil Smelser found out five distinctions between the concepts: 1. Gemeinschaft which is based on a feeling of togetherness, stimulates people's desire to live according to the communal principles, for instance, at harvester peasants help each other free of charge.
Gesellschaft is based on people's rational realization of individual interests, its example is a state where individuals interact in impersonal situations and pay money for particular goods and services. 2. In the sphere of social control Gemeinschaft gives priority to traditional beliefs, customs and non-written laws while Gesellschaft is a society based on formal law.
3. As for division of labour, Gemeinschaft is characterized by limited specialization based on kinship ties, i. e.
husbands, wives and children perform particular jobs in the household. Gesellschaft is characterized by specialization of professional roles and their separation from family roles. 4.
In Gemeinschaft culture is formed on religious values while in Gesellschaft - on secular ones. 5. In Gemeinschaft the main institutions are the family, neighborhood and community while in Gesellschaft such are large groupings and associations, for example business circles, government, political parties etc.
Both dichotomies were criticized for their oversimplification. First, societies like Gemeinschaft also differ from each other, for instance, Japanese feudalism differs from German feudalism and they both differ from other non-industrial societies. Besides, in every modern society the elements of Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft are mixed up, it means that the latter cannot disappear to anywhere.Скачать