Gemeinschaft and gesellschaft are german words that mean community and society respectively introduced in classical social theory they are used to discuss the different kinds of social ties that exist in small rural traditional societies versus large scale modern industrial ones gemeinschaft and gesellschaft in sociology. Gemeinschaft german pronunciation gmainaft and gesellschaft gzelaft generally translated as community and society are categories which were used by the german sociologist ferdinand tonnies in order to categorize social ties into two dichotomous sociological types which define each other. Tonniess conception of the nature of social systems is based on his distinction between the gemeinschaft communal society and the gesellschaft associational society in the rural peasant societies that typify the gemeinschaft personal relationships are defined and regulated on the basis of traditional social rules. A major contribution to the discussion of community was made in the 1920s by ferdinand tonnies who used the german words gemeinschaft community and gesellschaft society with special meanings
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