Sociological BeginningsThe First Conference of the German Society for Sociology

Sociological BeginningsThe First Conference of the German Society for Sociology

Christopher Adair-Toteff

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9780853237990

Publisher: Liverpool University Press


This is a translated edition of five of the nine papers and the responses presented at the first conference of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS) that was held in 1910. These are seminal contributions by some of the founders of classical German sociology and social theory, including Max Weber, Georg Simmel, Ferdinand Tönnies, Ernst Troeltsch and Werner Sombart. A substantial introduction discusses the lives and works of the five thinkers, placing them in the context of Germany in the early twentieth century and discussing their personal and societal connections. The works are a testament to the developing thought of key scholars. The year 1910 was a defining year for German sociology. There were still no sociology schools, departments or even professorships, but a significant number of important thinkers had published crucial sociological works. Through such publications Tönnies, Simmel, Weber, Troeltsch and Sombart had founded considerable reputations, and by 1909 the first three had banded together with other scholars to form the DGS. The works show German sociology at a decisive moment, when these thinkers were at their prime and were engaged in building a new society devoted to investigation of social reality based upon sound scholarly principles and free from biased social dogmatics. The topics continue to have relevance and the exchanges provide a lively dimension, one that is not found simply by reading the books of these five founders of sociological thinking.