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(586 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
1. In ordinary speech, “anonymity” refers to the concealing of one’s name, to remaining nameless, thus avoiding being questioned as a person. Anonymity is both a protection and a threat. By it individuals escape the control of a group or society and protect themselves against attack by a collective. Anonymity is also a mark of individualizing, a loss of the social relations that belong to the wholeness of the person, a loss of rootage in society. The consequences might be loneliness, substance abuse, the threat of suicide, or crime. 2. Sociology seldom deals with anonymity. The word …


(2,004 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
1. Custom as a Social Phenomenon “Custom” is the general term for regular forms of social practice that are recognized by a society and may be expected in it. It embodies social norms with sanctions to enforce observance. For the most part, customs are less obligatory than laws. Laws are what one must do, customs what one must do or ought to do or may do. The dominant morality of a society finds expression in custom as a collection of social norms. Even in older tradition, the conduct conforming to custom is viewed as moral conduct. Yet custom covers more than…

Foreigners, Aliens

(2,149 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz | Frado, Dennis W.
1. Modern Problems and Issues The term “foreigners” defines individuals or social groups in relation to a particular state. People become foreigners when they stay in a country other than their own. Depending on the circumstances in the host country, their presence may or may not be welcome. The social problem involved in the concept is twofold: foreigners live as aliens, as those who do not belong; and they are seen by residents to be aliens, not to belong. Different situations give rise to specific…

Social Science

(1,519 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
1. Historical Development The beginnings of empirical social science lie in the field of statistics of the 17th and 18th centuries. Under the influence of the Belgian Adolphe Quetelet (1796–1874), “moral statistics,” already common in Germany, was developed as an attempt to show the causal dependency of the individual on general social factors. In addition, under Quetelet among others, official governmental statistics began to be gathered in the second half of the 19th century. The first scientific…

Sociology of Churches

(1,350 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
1. Definition The sociology of churches is part of the sociology of religion. It deals with the social forms of Christianity, its influence on society in general, and the way in which it is affected by social factors. Compared with the sociology of religion, it has its own essentially narrower themes. It differs from pastoral sociology inasmuch as, like the sociology of religion, it is value-free. But the distinction is fluid. In general, pastoral sociology is the scholarly social analysis of the …


(516 words)

Author(s): Krüggeler, Michael | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. The Concept – II. Sociology of Religion – III. Practical Theology I. The Concept Present-day sociology considers individualization a central feature of modern societies (Society: I, II). It is rooted in the process of social differentiation or, more precisely, in the development of functional subsystems that for the most part have their own organizational structures. Individuals no longer necessarily belong to every subsystem. Commonly – though not always – membership in subsystems comes t…

Dialogue Preaching,

(349 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] taken in the narrow sense of the term, refers to worship proclamation by two preachers engaged in dialogue with one another. Used in a broader sense, however, it may also denote an agenda of fundamental criticism that is dissatisfied with the monological character of the sermon from the pulpit and seeks alternatives that would seem less authority-dependent and more efficient in terms of communication theory. German discussion in homiletics has been debating the issue since the 1960s. The discussion was most intense betwe…


(1,873 words)

Author(s): Meixner, Uwe | Mühling-Schlapkohl, Markus | Herms, Eilert | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Philosophy – II. Theology – III. Ethics – IV. Practical Theology I. Philosophy The concept of action is of central importance for philosophical ethics and anthropology. It is closely related to the concept of person, since persons are the subjects of action and cognition (the latter always itself an action, since it necessarily involves judgment). We may distinguish …


(363 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] In everyday language, a neighbor is someone who lives “next door” to us, whom we see (or at least know by sight), whom we hear, and in whose life we involuntarily participate. As a rule, we cannot choose our neighbors. They are simply there, and we must ¶ behave toward them with interest, disinterest, or hostility. Neighbors are part of a residential environment, which can vary a great deal in structure and spatial extent. In one case, a building may accommodate several families; in another, there may be a more extensive reside…

Masses, The

(951 words)

Author(s): Heesch, Matthias | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Social Sciences and Ethics – II. Practical Theology I. Social Sciences and Ethics The term the masses (or the crowd) is a peculiarly modern, strongly normative designation for a great number of human beings thought of as an amorphous whole. Since antiquity there have been references to disorganized groups of people, uneducated and hence susceptible to demagoguery ( óchlos, plebs), but the modern use of the term presupposes specific processes of deracination in industrial societies along with the concomitant obsolescence – real or supp…


(2,906 words)

Author(s): Stolz, Fritz | Dörfler-Dierken, Angelika | Oswalt, Julia | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Church History – III. Current Situation I. History of Religions Brotherhoods are a special form of community, not constituted by traditional forms of relationship (Covenant). They are mono-gendered groupings (also “sisterhoods”) distinguished by certain homogeneous characteristics. Initiation groups are often the origin of brotherhoods in cultural histo…


(1,909 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz | Huxel, Kirsten
[German Version] I. Phenomenology and Social Sciences – II. Ethics – III. Mores and Church Life – IV. Ecclesiastical Mores I. Phenomenology and Social Sciences The term “mores” (cf. Ger. Sitte) refers to regular forms of common living that are relatively binding and provided by tradition. Behavior oriented to mores relates to cultural patterns that have been valid for “a long time,” and were often practiced by previous generations. M. Weber thus speaks of “embeddedness” ( Eingelebtheit). In German, the term Sitte (“mores”) competes with Brauch (Custom). There is no sharp dis…

Action, Science of (Handlungswissenschaft)

(884 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Terminology – II. Social Sciences – III. Practical Theology I. Terminology From the 18th century on, the German term Handlungswissenschaft denoted the study of trade ( Handel). It thus came to represent one of the precursors of modern economics. Nowadays it has this meaning only in historical contexts. Its present-day usage refers to the disciplines that deal with action in the broadest sense, from trade through pedagogy …

Sociology of the Church

(1,158 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz | Feige, Andreas
[German Version] I. Practical Theology The systematic study of the church as a social entity (Churched) began with A. v. Oettingen in the 19th century. In the context of practical theology, the church studies published by P. Drews beginning in 1902 produced accurate descriptions of the life of the church. These were joined in subsequent decades by smaller individual studies, especially of the religiosity of industrial workers. Pastoral sociology began to take shape in France and the Netherlands, buil…


(5,942 words)

Author(s): Schulz, Hermann | Wenning, Robert | Kuhnen, Hans-Peter | Hachlili, Rachel | Köpf, Ulrich | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies – II. Archaeology – III. Old Testament – IV. Judaism – V. Christianity – VI. Missiology – VII. Funerary Art I. Religious Studies A burial manifests and represents the culture-bound nature of personality and religious traditions that shape community; consequently, it …


(892 words)

Author(s): Schoberth, Ingrid | Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Social History, Sociology, Social Ethics – II. Practical Theology I. Social History, Sociology, Social Ethics The concept of home (or home country, Ger. Heimat) stirs ambivalent emotions: Heimat stands for the longing for security and rest, but, misused as propaganda, also for ideological resistance to the new and the foreign. In contrast to the customary connotation of connections to origins and the imprint of tradition (cf. Education/Formation: II), E. Bloch understands home as an expression of unfulfilled hope: “that which radiates into everybody's childhood and where no one has yet been: home (Ger. Heimat)” (Bloch, 1628). Reducing home to…


(5,842 words)

Author(s): Kehrer, Günter | Rüterswörden, Udo | Banks, Robert J. | Hauschild, Wolf-Dieter | Marquardt, Manfred | Et al.
[German Version] I. History of Religion – II. Old Testament – III. New Testament – IV. Church History – V. Dogmatics – VI. Ethics – VII. Practical Theology – VIII. Church Law – IX. Judaism – X. Islam I. History of Religion In the following comments the term community will refer exclusively to a religiously motivated association of people. From the standpoint of the history of religion, the formation of communities is more the exception than the rule. The fact that associations such as t…

Village (in Germany)

(1,075 words)

Author(s): Daiber, Karl-Fritz
[German Version] I. Sociology and Social Ethics Instead of the …

Sociology of Religion

(3,710 words)

Author(s): Knoblauch, Hubert | Mürmel, Heinz | Otto, Eckart | Ebertz, Michael N. | Stuckrad, Kocku v. | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The sociology of religion studies religion’s social aspects and manifestations, clearly including religious institutions, organizations, and social groups. It also studies more situational forms, less clearly defined, such as gatherings, ceremonies, and collective rituals (e.g. processions [Rite and ritual]). In an extended sense, characteristic of the German-language tradition since M. Weber, religious…