Normativity in Ferdinand Tönnies’ Conception of Community | 27.04.2021

We would hereby like to cordially invite you to an upcoming online event in our Forum series “Law as Culture” with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niall Bond on the subject of “Normativity in Ferdinand Tönnies’ Conception of Community” on Tuesday, April 27th, at 6:00pm (CEST). 

Datum: 27.04.2021

Uhrzeit: 6pm (CEST)

Veranstaltungstitel: Normativity in Ferdinand Tönnies’ Conception of Community

Veranstaltungstyp: Konferenz

Veranstalterkategorie: Sonstige

Veranstalter: Käte Hamburger Kolleg

Ort: Online (Zoom)

Niall Bond is Associate Professor at Lumière Lyon 2 University and currently Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”. In his lecture, he will give insight into his research project, that fits perfectly into the current research framework of the center “Law and Community”.


“My both biographical and introspective exploration of the conceptual dichotomy Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft bequeathed by a seminal thinker on human community, Ferdinand Tönnies, wrestles with issues that are at the heart of the KHK’s programme from 2020 to 2022, in which Tönnies is cited: Law and Community: On the diversity (Vielfalt) of global cultures of family law and forms of community. We shall commence with explaining a controversial position among Tönnies researchers, which is that the scientifically fruitful work of Tönnies’ youth was inter alia an exercise in norms legislation, although Tönnies had fought alongside Max Weber to defend value neutrality in the human and social sciences at the beginning of the twentieth century. Tönnies saw in late retrospect that he had as a lad been predestined to become a teacher of ethics, which we have explored in his relations to Hobbes, Locke, Smith, Kant, Bentham, Schelling, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.

Tönnies’ contemporaries commented upon the “metaphysical pathos” (Theodor Geiger) of the “value judgments” (Max Weber) which inspired Tönnies’ thinking. It is not to diminish the work of a thinker to point out that conclusions drawn regarding the development of human bonds from past to present, or the categories of human beings we find in social life and their respective propensity to what may be termed “Gemeinschaft” or “Gesellschaft” – may be the fruit of experience, “Erfahrungswerte”, and need not be binding as either “cultural optimism” or “pessimism”. This exploration is important in political history as commitment to community has led down diverse ideological paths taken by liberals, National Socialists and Communists. Tönnies also had a scientific following, the global impact of which has been understated, since sociology emerged in Germany as a counter-hegemony to doctrinaire economic liberalism. In this respect, Tönnies’ importance as a forebear of the discipline is understated. Largely ignored, on the other hand, has Tönnies’ place in debates among legal scholars emerging from Maine, Gierke and Jhering and continued by Radbruch and Schmitt.”

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niall Bond

We look forward to welcoming you to the event. Please note that the event will be recorded for public relations purposes.

Zoom Link:
Meeting-ID: 934 0607 1041
Kenncode: 334161

Werner Gephart, Nina Dethloff, and Clemens Albrecht

Prof. Dr. jur. Dr. h.c. Werner Gephart
Director at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”

Prof. Dr. jur. Nina Dethloff
Director at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”

Prof. Dr. Clemens Albrecht
Director at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”

The “Forum Law as Culture” offers a space for interdisciplinary and intercultural exchange with international guests and fellows at the Center. The Forum regards itself as a place where the Center’s focal topics can be critically examined. Such topics, which consider the dimensions of law as a cultural fact, include symbolic cultures, ritual dynamics, normativity and normative pluralism, and issues of the force of law and of organizational culture.

Future Forum events can be found here. The events will take place online.