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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 …