How is labeling defined in sociology

Society / social structure

1. Society

1.1 Concept and concept history

Society (G.) is a complex term derived from the Tischg. to Reiseg., from G. der Musikfreunde to Aktieng. enough. The connectedness of often very heterogeneous people for a specific purpose, whether short or long term, is crucial.

According to the word's origin, G. means the union or a gathering of several companions. In the development of the German language, G. is linked to community and cooperative society. The Greek and Latin history of concepts was more important. Since Plato (428-348) and Aristotle (384-322) the term (Latin societas civilis) has a meaning that has been retained until today: G. includes a larger group of people (e.g. in the polis, the city-state of the Greeks), who are related to mutually contributed interests and abilities, live in a clearly defined territory, see themselves as a political and social unit and are perceived as such outside of their borders. The anthropologically founded statement "that man is by nature a being striving for the state community" (zoón politikón) has to be added (Aristotle, Politik, 1278b).

In all stages of the European-Occidental state and theory of the state, the ancient core idea of ​​the bourgeois state and the protective state was retained (overview in Riedel 1975). He continued to live in the middle classes of medieval cities and city republics. Under the conditions of early capitalism, the Enlightenment and the bourgeois revolutions, the specific form of the bourgeois G. of modern times emerged as a market society shaped by liberalism, as a political-national unit and as a legal act that enforces the freedom of all people and secures.

The theory of state and theory of G. F. W. Hegel (1770-1831) conceived on the basis of v. a. Aristotelian philosophy, now under the sign of the industrial and French revolution 1789 ff., a concept that is still effective today: family, bourgeois group and state are the basic institutions of a law-based formation, like Hegel in his "basic lines of the Philosophy of Law "(first in 1821). According to his "G. contract" (J.-J. Rousseau 1762), D as the state and G. system can be assigned to the bourgeois type. The separation of G. and state is constitutive. While the state is responsible for internal, legal, social and external security, G. can be described as the sphere of action of free citizens; They can associate themselves in associations and cooperatives according to their ideas and join together in the institutions (such as family) and legal entities under civil law (BGB) by means of contracts. Developments towards a "nationalization of the G." and a "socialization of the state", which have intensified in recent decades, blur the difference between the state and G.

In the → GDR (1949-1990), as in all socialist groups, this difference, theoretically and practically, was eliminated. The state of the bourgeois G. is only an "agency for capital interests", under whose dominance the bourgeois sphere as a whole falls.

1.2 G in sociological understanding

The development of sociology is closely linked to the development of the bourgeois G. Apart from important precursors to which L. v. Stein (1815-1890) and W. H. Riehl (1823-1890), who both started from Hegel's philosophy of law, it was only F. Tönnies (1855-1936) who developed a specifically sociological term. In "Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft" (community and society) (first in 1887) he analyzed the development from the feudal, agrarian estate to a modern industrialist. with their trends of anonymization in the growing cities and the independence of the individual. Thus, according to Tönnies G., one can think "as if it actually consisted of separate individuals who, as a whole, are active for the general G., in that they seem to be active for themselves". If the "age of community [...] was designated by the social will as unity, custom, religion", it is that of G. "by the social will as convention, politics, public opinion" (Tönnies 1963: 251).

The basics of industrial-bourgeois G. include: the release of the individual to self-chosen family formation, free choice of training and job and membership in associations and social groups; Replacement of previous, corporate and urban forms of health and social care by society as a whole (or state) institutions. The prerequisite for these trends to take effect was the differentiation and extensive autonomy of all sub-areas of society: law and politics, market and production, religion and church, culture and education, work and leisure.

G. is thematized with different emphases in all sociological macro-theories: structural functionalism (T. Parsons, R. K. Merton), systems theory (N. Luhmann), theory of the Frankfurt School (T. W. Adorno, J. Habermas), modernization theory (Zapf 1970). For Luhmann (1927-1998) G. is "the comprehensive social system that includes all other social systems" (1998: 78).

2. Social structure (p.)

2.1 Tasks / areas of the S. analysis

With the term G. there is the danger of hastily objectifying it and understanding it as easily verifiable in real terms. Georg Simmel (1858-1918) had already warned of this. In the introductory contribution to his "Sociology" (first 1908) on the topic: "How is society possible?" he emphasized that G. is not only the sum of the socialized individuals, but also the sum of all possible interactions that can result from it. The analysis of S. a G., which is not least oriented towards structural functionalism, is the empirical basis for illustrating forms of communalization and socialization and identifying the causes and consequences of social change in individual areas and for the overall system.

Definition: S. is the entirety of permanent norms and values, legal bases, economic structures and cultural patterns of action, social structures such as groups, institutions and organizations that characterize the integration of a G. and ensure continuity.

From the multitude of relevant elements and interactions, the S.analysis highlights those that are central to the characteristics of a social system and its integration:
  • Population structure, including migration flows;
  • Forms of families, unions and households;
  • economic system and the forms of work and production, occupations and employment structure;
  • political system: state, government, parliament, legislation and the law as a control instrument for social and cultural change;
  • Settlement forms of villages, cities, metropolitan areas and metropolitan regions;
  • cultural system with education, training and science, the cultural institutions (museums, theaters etc.), the differentiated "media landscape", the churches and religious communities;
  • Information and communication system that has developed into a "network society" (Castells 2004) through digitization and the expansion of networks at all levels of social action, institutions and organizations.
2.2 Change in the German S.

The "Sociology of Social Change" (Zapf 1970) developed a differentiated set of theoretical and methodological instruments in order to examine the interactions between the individual areas of the S. B. technology and economy on the one hand, population, culture and politics on the other hand - to analyze. Through the "digital revolution" since 1970, the change in values, through processes of individualization and the pluralization of lifestyles beyond previous class and stratification, there was considerable change in the foundations of the German S. Reunification in 1990 did not only result in the new Federal states, but also in the previous FRG (here articulated less clearly) to change basic institutions (Geißler 2008).

Cornerstones of the S. development: While life expectancy has risen relatively continuously and is currently 82.4 years for women and 77.2 years for men at the age of one, the fertility rate of 15-44 year olds fell just 30 years later Women from 2.02 in 1970 (GDR 2.19) to 1.38 in the old and 1.23 in the new federal states (Geißler 2008: 44). The current fertility rate is only enough to replace about two-thirds of the population. The number of elderly people is increasing in relation to the total population and has a significant impact on families, working life, health, social security, etc.

Source: Andersen, Uwe / Wichard Woyke (ed.): Concise dictionary of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. 7th, updated Aufl. Heidelberg: Springer VS 2013. Author of the article: Bernhard Schäfers