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Estate-based Society

(494 words)

Author(s): Münch, Richard
[German Version] From the early Middle Ages to the modern period, hierarchical European society was based on distinct estates (Ger. Stände). An estate-based society differs from modern society based on class or strata, which arose in the 19th century, in the extreme closure of the estates: membership in an estate passed from one generation to the next, there was relatively little mobility between the estates (though some…

Elias, Norbert

(245 words)

Author(s): Münch, Richard
[German Version] (Jun 22, 1897, Breslau – Aug 1, 1990, Amsterdam). In 1939 Elias published his most significant work, Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation (ET: The Civilizing Process: The History of Manners, 1978), though the work remained virtually unnoticed until a new edition was published in 1969. Elias was concerned with developing an interdisciplinary “humane science” combining psychogenesis and sociogenesis in an investigation o…


(1,367 words)

Author(s): Münch, Richard | Jödicke, Ansgar | Herms, Eilert
[German Version] I. Sociology – II. Comparative Study of Religions – III. Ethics I. Sociology “Elite” – from Lat. eligere “to elect” – designates a select group of persons who stand out from the crowd by virtue of distinctive features such as consanguinity, age (Old age), power, wealth, knowledge, technical, organizational or artistic skills (Competence), …


(1,134 words)

Author(s): Neu, Rainer | Volkmann, Stefan | Münch, Richard
[German Version] I. History of Religions – II. Dogmatics – III. Sociology and Social History I. History of Religions Estates are socially and juridically closed groups that occupy a specific niche in society – defined by birth, social function, way of life, and frequently cultic observance. They develop in a society that is already stratified. Those who exercise political and religious control (Domini…


(3,401 words)

Author(s): Pollack, Detlef | Ludwig, Frieder | Münch, Richard | Gräb, Wilhelm | Hock, Klaus
[German Version] I. Study of Religion – II. History – III. Sociology – IV. Practical Theology – V. Missiology I. Study of Religion The term modernization usually refers to mutually reinforcing structural changes in various social sectors: nation building and democratization in the political sector; industrialization and tertiarization (i.e. the development of services) in the economic sector; urbanization, educational expansion, and mobilization in the social sector; diversification and individualization in the c…


(6,607 words)

Author(s): Herms, Eilert | Kippenberg, Hans G. | Thiel, Winfried | Wehr, Lothar | Münch, Richard | Et al.
[German Version] I. Terminology The word society ( societas, société) has changed from a term denoting particular forms and modes of human coexistence to a term (in both sg. and pl.) denoting the totality of human coexistence; it has thus become the basic term of the theoretical sciences that deal with human coexistence. The German equivalent, Gesellschaft (from OHG sal, “room,” and selida, “dwelling place”), suggests ties that arise from sharing the same room (cf. Geselle, “apprentice,” etymologically “someone ¶ sharing accommodations” with a master) or belonging to the sa…