Urbanization – Ferdinand Tönnies

Ferdinand Tönnies distinguishes between Organic will (Wesenwille), which is the will of the being, authenticity, and reflected will (Kürwille).

This allows him to define urbanization as the transition from a community that identifies itself through blood ties (Gemeinschaft) to a society (Gesellschaft).

The community of blood ties is the product of the organic will.

Whereas the contractual society is the product of the reflected will.

In the community of blood ties, the village, all roles were well assigned. All individuals controlled what each other did.

In the society, the city, relationships become impersonal. No one controls what others do. The thought is unique to each individual, each one thinks in his own way. It is individualism that reigns. “Life becomes more diverse and nuanced.

Gesellschaft implies, “a circle of men who, as in Gemeinschaft, life and dwell in peace next to each other but, instead of being essentially united, are on the contrary essentially separated, and while in Gemeinschaft they remain united in spite of all distinctions; here they remain distinct in spite of all ties. Consequently, there are no activities here that can be deduced from an a priori and necessarily existing unity and that express the will and spirit of this unity… But each one is here for himself and in a state of hostility towards the others. The various fields of activity and power are strongly determined in relation to each other so that each one forbids the others any contact and interference… No one will do anything for another unless it is in exchange for a similar service or for a reward which he judges to be the equivalent of what he gives… Only the prospect of profit can induce him to dispose of something he owns.

Emile,” Sociology

General Knowledge: the city