[German Version] refers to the process of constituting or preserving a whole and is employed in the humanities primarily as a sociological and educational-psychological category. Consequently, in the field of theology, integration is a term with primary relevance for practical theology.
Conceptually, in particular the third of the meanings of the Latin adjective
integer (1. sound, incorrupt, 2. new, 3. whole) has come to dominate the current notion of integration, while the Latin substantive,
integratio, primarily connoted “renovation.” The modern concept of integration can be understood as a counterpart of the modern differentiation of society and became current in the 19th and 20th century. Programmatically in the thought of H. Spencer, integration stands for the typical 19th-century notion of development: the contrast between integration and differentiation describes ¶ the progress from unrelated similarity to related dissimilarity, a phenomenon that relates to both social and biological-psychological processes. The opposite of integration is denoted by the term disintegration, which demonstrates the almost exclusively positive content of integration.
Sociologically, a distinction is made between the integration of the individual into society (through socialization and especially through education [VII]) from the integration of society itself through common interpretations of reality and norms o…