Ferdinand Tönnies on Crime and Society: An Unexplored Contribution to Criminological Sociology

Mathieu Deflem
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This is a copy of a publication in History of the Human Sciences 12(3), 1999.
Also available in PDF format.

Please cite as: Deflem, Mathieu. 1999. “Ferdinand Tönnies on Crime and Society: An Unexplored Contribution to Criminological Sociology.” History of the Human Sciences 12(3):87-116.

A previous version was presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, 1998. I thank Lewis Coser, John Maguire, Gary Marx, Kirk Williams, Gianfranco Poggi, and Jere Cohen for helpful comments on a previous draft. I am grateful to the staffs of the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago and the Bibliothek Sozialwissenschaften at the University of Hamburg for assistance with locating Tönnies’ writings. I thank Detlef Nogala who retrieved additional materials. Translations from the German and French are mine.


I offer a discussion of the criminological sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies (1855-1936). While Tönnies is generally well known for his theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, his elaborate contributions to the sociological study of crime have been almost entirely neglected in the history of sociology. Situated within Tönnies’ general theoretical perspective, I present the central themes of Tönnies’ study of crime and discuss its conceptual and methodological characteristics as a distinct approach in criminological sociology. I additionally center on the importance of Tönnies’ criminological work for the reception and status of his sociological theory. I argue that the neglect of Tönnies’ crime studies has led to overlook Tönnies’ aspiration to integrate sociological theory and empirical inquiry, which has contributed to misconstrue his unique conception of social order.

Key words:
Ferdinand Tönnies; Criminology; Penology; Social Theory; History of Sociological Thought.


It may cause little surprise that a recent effort in an American theory journal aimed at reviving some neglected classical theories in sociology also included a paper on the work of Ferdinand Tönnies (Adair-Toteff 1995). Indeed, relatively few writings have devoted in-depth attention to Tönnies’ oeuvre and the discussions that are available have concentrated almost exclusively on his perspective of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. While the theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft is indeed central to Tönnies’ sociology, the sheer volume of Tönnies’ writings alone indicates that his thought cannot be justifiably restricted to these two terms. A recent bibliography contains almost 900 writings attributed to Tönnies (Fechner 1992). Next to theoretical contributions, Tönnies’ work also includes many empirical and methodological investigations, a considerable part of which dealt with the sociological study of crime. Tönnies published no less than 34 works on crime (22 papers, three books, and nine review articles) and 17 related methodological papers on criminal statistics (see Appendix). To date, however, Tönnies’ sociology of crime has not been systematically reviewed. In fact, modern sociology and criminology have almost completely ignored Tönnies’ contribution to the study of crime. This paper will analyze this neglect and so add a long overdue chapter to the history of sociology.

My analysis of Tönnies’ work on crime will particularly suggest its theoretical relevance within Tönnies’ general sociological project and its distinct characteristics as an approach in criminological sociology. I particularly wish to demonstrate that Tönnies’ crime studies should be taken into account to challenge some often held simplistic interpretations and unfounded criticisms of his work. In order to develop my argument, it will prove useful to first concentrate briefly on the theoretical status of the concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft and their relevance for Tönnies’ approach to law, within which I situate Tönnies’ criminological writings.


The Transformation of Society

Tönnies conceived of any social formation --or what he occasionally called ‘social will’ (e.g., Tönnies 1899b:301, 1925a:66)-- as creations of the human will. The human will Tönnies argued to be either of the type of essential-will (Wesenwille) or arbitrary-will (Kürwille) (Tönnies 1931b, translation [1935b] 1940:3-29, [1935a] 1963, translation [1935b] 1940). The essential-will is the spontaneous manifestation of a person’s nature inasmuch it readily springs forth from one’s temper and character. The arbitrary-will allows actors to choose the most efficient means for a given end. Gemeinschaft societies Tönnies conceived as expressions of the essential-will, organically organized around family, village, or town. Gesellschaft societies, on the other hand, are based on arbitrary-will orientations, typically found in the modern metropolis and state.

The concepts of essential-will, arbitrary-will, and Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are not categories of classification, but directional concepts (‘Richtungsbegriffe’) or normal concepts (‘Normalbegriffe’) representing ideal types (‘ideelle Typen’) or things purely of thought (‘reine Gedankendinge’) which must be assumed in order to grasp society (Tönnies 1931b:186, [1887b] 1963:XX, 1922a:18-19, 1925a:65-74, translation [1925c]). Unlike the dominant viewpoints of the 19th century, Tönnies’ concepts did not suggest an evolution of society in simple unilinear terms (Tönnies [1887b] 1963:XV-XXV, translation [1887c] 1971, 1932a, translation [1932b] 1971, 1931b:191). Instead, Tönnies perceived all social formations as always both, but in varying degrees, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.

The peculiar status of the concepts of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft intimately relates to Tönnies’ perspective of sociology (Tönnies 1905c, 1926a:431-442, translation [1926b] 1971, 1931a:313-321). Tönnies differentiated between pure, applied, and empirical sociology. Pure (or theoretical) sociology specifies the fundamental concepts with which society can statically be understood in abstraction. Applied sociology seeks to deductively understand the dynamics of social events and historical patterns of stability and change. Empirical sociology, finally, relies on an inductive or empirical approach to study the concrete features of social conditions. Tönnies emphasized that while each of these perspectives can be analytically distinguished, they should always mutually inform each other.

Customary and Statutory Law

Broadly defining law as the totality of rules whose proclamation and enforcement are the function of a formal court, Tönnies suggested a transformation from common or customary law to contract or statutory law (Tönnies 1922a:66-77, 239-245, 1931a:187-258, translation [1931f] 1971, [1935a] 1963:169-238, 205-215). Again rejecting a unilinear evolutionism, Tönnies proposed a perspective of law which considered the persistence of the commanding and compulsory norms of (ancient) custom as well as the rise of legislation proclaimed by the (modern) state (Tönnies 1910-1911, [1912b] 1963, translation [1912c] 1971, [?] 1955).

Tönnies argued that the evolution of law revealed that while all law was natural and artificial, the artificial element in law had become dominant in the course of history, involving a gradual evolution from common to contract law (Tönnies [1935a] 1963:205-215). For Tönnies, the essential element of common law was that it had unleashed the capacity to trade and form relationships in freedom (Willkür), enabling a gradual elaboration, universalization, and codification of law. Whereas customary law (Gewohnheitsrecht) was a function of tradition, modern legislation-law (Gesetzesrecht) was sanctioned by its purpose outside and even against tradition. The resulting state of this evolution in modern Gesellschaft-type societies, Tönnies argued, was that law had largely but not totally been monopolized by the state (Tönnies 1931a:272-279). For Tönnies, the relative weight of Gesellschaft-like state legislation in comparison to other types of law remained a matter of empirical inquiry.


Tönnies’ sociology of crime, which occupied him for a period of nearly four decades, covers the following issues: a theoretical conceptualization of crime; methodological issues in the study of crime, including a measure of association of Tönnies’ own invention; a series of empirical investigations of crime in Germany; and a policy-oriented perspective on criminal law and the prevention of crime.

Crime as a Social Phenomenon

Tönnies (1895a) conceptually distinguished between crimes and infractions as the two categories of punishable acts (strafbare Handlungen). Crimes (Verbrechen) he defined as deliberate violations of political and social rules. Violations of political rules refer to infringements on the constitution and the institutions and rights of the state. Violations of social rules are directed against persons, personal property, or personal dignity. Infractions (Vergehen) are deliberate or non-deliberate violations of rules determined by the state legislator to be the necessary conditions for the functioning of social life. These conditions concern people’s interests and motivations, not their rights.

Tönnies furthermore differentiated between types of crime on the basis of their relationship to the social environment. First, some crimes Tönnies argued to be the unmediated expression of certain social conditions, such as the inequality of economic and moral classes, unemployment, illness, widowhood, orphanhood, or psycho-moral degeneration. The typical case for unmediated crime, a relatively stable phenomenon, Tönnies most often referred to with the somewhat unusual term roguery (Gaunertum), referring typically to property crimes. Second, other crimes are conceived as a more complex and mediated expression of social conditions. As an example of the latter case, some crimes, Tönnies suggested, had increased with the proletarianization of the masses and the disintegration of folk-life (Volksgemeinschaft), while vagrancy, for instance, had decreased (Tönnies 1906).

Thus, Tönnies distinguished between types of crime in terms of the psychological state of the criminal (profit-driven or not) and the social conditions of crime (mediated or unmediated). In his empirical studies, Tönnies usually employed different terms to nonetheless describe the same basic notion of crime. He distinguished, for instance, between serious, mediocre, and petty crime, whereby serious crime was defined as criminality proper, the objective measure of which was that a person legally considered an adult (Strafmündige) --that is, a person older than 18 years-- had been convicted to death or to imprisonment (Tönnies 1924:762). Most often, Tönnies distinguished rogues (Gauner) from offenders (Frevler), a classification which corresponds to the difference between crime as the unmediated and crime as the mediated expression of social conditions (Tönnies 1924, 1927, 1929a; Tönnies and Jurkat 1929). The category of rogues includes thieves, swindlers, and robbers. Offenders are criminals convicted for murder and other acts of violence, perjury, arson and ethical offenses (Sittenverbrechen). The distinction is important from Tönnies’ perspective because rogues are conscious, arbitrary-will acting criminals (Tönnies and Jurkat 1929:27). Rogues have a clear conception of the material goal of their crime and they conceive of the illegal act as the means to attain it. Offenders, on the other hand, act out of brutal, unmediated egoism, often in a violent way, and with a cruder, less refined manner of essential-will thinking. Whereas roguery characteristically involves crimes against property, offenses are typically crimes against the person.

In sum, as a matter of pure sociology Tönnies distinguished between crimes and infractions and between rogues and offenders. Infraction and crime, on the one hand, and rogues and offenders, on the other, relate to each other as doGemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. In his empirical studies Tönnies most often used the categories of rogues and offenders, the terms most clearly related to his general theoretical perspective. Rogues are profit-driven and seek to enhance their wealth by means of a criminal act. Because they can differentiate between means and ends on the basis of their arbitrary-will, rogues perform a typical Gesellschaft-like type of crime. Offenders, on the other hand, perform their crimes in a passionate way on the basis of their essential-will, characteristic of Gemeinschaft-like behavior.

Criminal Statistics: Science and Method

Tönnies’ methodological approach to the study of crime was situated within an important contemporary controversy on the science and/or method of statistics, especially the German tradition of Moralstatistik (Tönnies 1899a, 1901b, 1919-1920, 1925b, 1928a, 1928b, 1928c, 1929c, translation [1929e] 1971, 1930b, 1930c, 1931c, 1931d, 1931e). Especially in confrontation with the German statistician Georg von Mayr, Tönnies defended the position that statistics is both a method and a science. Whereas Von Mayr had delineated statistics to the collection and systematic arrangement of enumerable social phenomena, Tönnies asserted that a scientific theory cannot be based on a collection of numbers, because not the mass (Menge) but only the essence (Wesen) of a phenomenon can be an object of science (Tönnies 1900c:510-515, 1925b:122-125, 1931a:321-327). Because, Tönnies argued, numbers could only describe and compare but not explain, statistics should be restored to its old meaning as the science of the state (Staatskunde). As such, statistics encompasses the study of the natural and social features and populations of a country, comprising all the curiosities of the state (Staatsmerckwürdigkeiten). The use of numbers was thereby possible but not necessary (Deflem 1997).

Although Tönnies insisted that statistics should not be conceived exclusively a method of quantification, i.e. as table-statistics (Tabellenstatistik), he acknowledged that statistics was also a method (Tönnies 1900a:58). This method Tönnies called sociography or criminal statistics. Sociography unites various, quantitative and qualitative, methods which can empirically describe, draw comparisons between, and uncover the regularity of moral and social conditions. However, the determination of these conditions had to remain a matter of pure sociology.

Tönnies’ Measure of Association

In the course of his empirical work Tönnies invented a measure of association (Tönnies 1909a, 1909b, 1909c, 1910). He referred to his technique as a method of correlation, but, it will be shown, it is a measure of association based on rank order, not a coefficient of correlation.

Tönnies developed the association measure in a study on demographic features of 20 counties in the German province of Schleswig-Holstein. He decided to divide these counties into equal categories in terms of the stages (Stufen) of magnitude of the scores on the demographic variables for each county. Four counties per group of variable-score were identified since Tönnies determined the magnitude of the scores, from high to low, in terms of the relative positions of all 20 counties on a 5-point scale. He then considered the different possibilities of how the results of scores on one variable, for groups of counties, corresponded with the scores on another variable (see Figures 1 and 2). In Figure 1, the letters A, B, C, D, and E indicate whether the scores on a variable were high or low in terms of their ranking for all counties. The diagonals represent the most extreme cases: perfect correlation (vollkommene Korrelation) is represented on the left, while anti-correlation or reciprocity (Anti-Korrelation or Reziprozität) is visualized on the right. Between these extreme cases are a range of possibilities which Tönnies defined in terms of the degree of approximation to correlation and anti-correlation. The different points that make up the correlation line he called coincidence-places (Koinzidenzstellen). The cases that approximate the perfect correlation and perfect anti-correlation lines, i.e. the cases located on the next diagonals to the left and to the right of the diagonals representing perfect correlation and anti-correlation, were labeled the contact-places (Kontaktstellen).

Figure 1: Perfect Correlation and Anti-Correlation. Source: Tönnies (1909a:711).

The distribution of coincidence-places and contact-places is visualized in Figure 2. The positions of the letters in bold (x and z) on the left and on the right Tönnies considered the most important cases. In the left diagram they represent correlation and in the right diagram they reflect anti-correlation after subtraction of all correlation with all anti-correlation cases. Tönnies indeed subtracted the total number of cases located in the left diagram with the total number of cases located in the right diagram for the coincidence-places (x) and the contact-places (z) respectively. Thereby the middle cases, Tönnies observed, cancel each other out. To compute the association measure Tönnies subtracted the summation of correlation cases from the summation of anti-correlation cases, multiplied that number by two, and subtracted the summation of contact cases with the summation of anti-contact cases. The subtraction of the summations of correlation and anti-correlation cases was multiplied by two, because, Tönnies explained, of the 25 places where cases can be located, the perfect correlation line takes up 5 places (25/5 = 5), while the contact-places can take up 8 of the remaining 20 places (20/8 = 2.5; and 5:2.5 = 2:1). The two subtractions Tönnies added together, the result of which can be 0 (no correlation) or a number ranging from -32 to +32, indicating anti-correlation and perfect correlation respectively.

Figure 2: Coincidence-places and Contact-places. Source: Tönnies (1909a:284).

Criminality in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein

Tönnies’ empirical investigations on crime include an elaborate study of criminals imprisoned in the German province of Schleswig-Holstein and an older but briefer analysis of crimes during the 1896-1897 dock strike in Hamburg. It is practically impossible to give a complete picture of these investigations because Tönnies papers, especially those on criminals in Schleswig-Holstein, are very lengthy and full of tabulations and computations. Suffice it to say that Tönnies’ methodology can in contemporary terms be described as table elaboration (measurements of the association between two variables in terms of a third).

Crimes During the Dock Strike in Hamburg, 1896-1897: Tönnies’ first contribution to the study of crime is presented in a series of polemical, but empirically substantiated, writings on the 1896-1897 dock strike in Hamburg (Tönnies 1896e, 1897a, 1897b, 1897c, 1897d, 1897e, 1897f, 1897g, 1899a). Hamburg authorities had contended that the strikers had massively violated Article 153 of the labor law for the ‘protection of personal freedom of workers against coalition-force’ (the right not to be forced to strike). Tönnies contested the findings with which the authorities substantiated their claims. He argued that of the 290 individuals convicted during the strike, only 60 had been involved in acts of violence, a number roughly the same as the monthly number of young people convicted for similar acts in the years prior to the strike. According to Tönnies, the violent acts were indeed not to be attributed to the strike but to the young age of the dock workers. In addition, the authorities unjustly founded their claims on the contention that crimes against the coalition-law had increased in the year of the Hamburg strike. When a longer period of time was taken into account, Tönnies detected, these crimes did indeed increase in the years between 1892 and 1897, but the relative increase from year to year was the highest between 1892 and 1893, the years of economic depression (without strikes). Finally, Tönnies demonstrated that crimes against the labor law before, during, and after the strike had developed parallel with all other working-class crimes, from which he concluded that the crimes committed during the strike were due to the (unmediated) social and economic conditions of the working classes.

Criminals Convicted in Schleswig-Holstein, 1874--1914: Tönnies’ empirical sociology of crime fully matured, especially in methodological respects, in a two-part study of convicted criminals in Schleswig-Holstein (Tönnies 1924, 1927, 1929a, 1929b, translation [1929d] 1971, 1930a; Tönnies and Jurkat 1929). For this study, Tönnies slightly modified his association measure to compare associations between percentages, not summations, in terms of two, not five, variable scores (high and low). Tönnies collected the majority of his data through interviews he personally conducted in two prisons, additionally relying on official reports and crime statistics from other prisons in the Schleswig-Holstein province. In total, he gathered data on 3,500 convicted male criminals in Schleswig-Holstein during the period 1874-1898 for the first study, in addition to data on some 2,500 male criminals convicted in the period 1899-1914 for a follow-up investigation.

The key objective of Tönnies’ study was to investigate how different types of crime related to the criminal’s place of origin (defined in terms of rural versus urban background), implicitly corresponding to the transformation from Gemeinschaft toGesellschaft. Tönnies also considered how this relationship applied to different types of criminals --rogues and offenders, respectively. Tönnies divided his research subjects between natives (Heimbürtige), born in Schleswig-Holstein, and non-natives (Fremdbürtige), born outside the region. All subjects were assigned to one of 20 smaller counties within their respective region, so that in terms of the criminals’ rural or urban background, 20 rural counties could be compared with 20 urban counties for both regions.

Analyzing his data, Tönnies first calculated the number of native thieves relative to the total male population for the region. The results of this computation showed that the ‘productivity of thieves’ (Tönnies’ term for the aggregate numbers) was higher in the urban counties than in the rural counties. Tönnies also measured four other variables for the region: 1) Wealth (Reichtum), measured in terms of the average income based on income tax; 2) Housing conditions (Wohnungszustand), measured in terms of the number of inhabitants relative to the size of houses; 3) Educational conditions (Bildungszustand), measured in terms of the relative number of illiterates; and 4) Ethical conditions (Sittenzustand), measured in terms of the relative number of children born out of wedlock. In terms of these variables’ relationships with the productivity of native thieves, the results showed that in the urban counties, wealth and educational condition were not, and all other variables negatively, related with thief-productivity. For the rural counties, these results were confirmed but they were always stronger, except for educational condition which was related negatively with thief-productivity.

Next, Tönnies compared the productivity of native thieves with the native productivity of moral and violent crimes, a comparison based on the distinction between rogues and offenders. The results showed that rogues formed the larger part of all criminal types and that urban natives were more likely to belong to the category of rogues. Thus, Tönnies concluded that the more a crime reflected a conscious will, the more likely it was to be attributed to urban criminals, while rural natives were more likely to commit crimes that exhibited a passion which did not serve a specific material purpose.

Tönnies next related these findings to an analogous investigation of non-native criminals. He first observed that most crimes were serious crimes (roguery) and that exogenous (non-native) criminality was higher than endogenous (native) criminality. Of the 3,500 male convicts, 1,545 were born in Schleswig-Holstein and 1,955 were born outside the region. Tönnies found that the higher crime rates for non-natives was to be attributed to the fact that non-natives were largely of urban origin. Criminals were more likely to be non-natives because rogues made up the larger part of all criminals and because non-natives were more likely to be rogues because they were more likely to be urban.

The second part of Tönnies’ investigation concerned 2,483 male criminals convicted in the period 1899-1914 (Tönnies 1929b, translation [1929d] 1971; Tönnies and Jurkat 1929). The results of the study confirmed the findings of the first: both native and non-native rogues were more likely to be of urban origin, and because rogues were more represented among all criminal types, non-natives were more represented in the criminal class than natives. This relationship, Tönnies observed, also varied with the size of town or village: the higher the number of inhabitants in town or village, the higher the productivity of rogues. In sum, Tönnies concluded, native criminals relate to non-native criminals like offenders relate to rogues, like the rural-born relate to the urban-born, and like rogues from smaller towns and smaller villages relate to rogues from larger towns and larger villages.

Criminal Law and the Prevention of Crime

On matters of prevention and punishment, Tönnies essentially contended that punishment should fit the gravity of the crime, the determination of which could be established by the objective findings of criminological science (Tönnies 1891a, translation 1891b, 1901a, 1905a). The state and the courts, Tönnies argued, unjustly considered the infliction of punishment as a deterrent against crime, because criminal law operated under the false presupposition that every citizen had a contractual obligation to the state, based on the assumption that the human will would be a matter of pure intellect. Instead, Tönnies claimed, the human will is always passionate as well as conditioned by ‘education, surroundings, fortunate and unfortunate accidents, health and illness’ (Tönnies 1891b:57). Thus, Tönnies insisted that criminal policy should be freed from morality because it could not be ‘right and proper’ to punish a criminal when his wrongdoings were the ‘necessary result of all his antecedents’ (p. 58).

Tönnies’ ideas on criminal policy correspond to his theoretical perspective that under conditions of Gesellschaft, law is appropriated by the state to efficiently (not morally) steer diverse interests in society (Tönnies 1904, 1931a:244-247). Tönnies therefore also proposed that criminal law should be reformed in such a way that it would contribute to rehabilitate criminals (Tönnies 1904, 1907, 1912a). Actual conditions of imprisonment, Tönnies claimed, often caused a moral and physical decay of the prisoner and created more refined criminals who could evade punishment. Furthermore, Tönnies (1891b:66) argued, the prison could not offer anything useful to those criminals whose acts were ‘appearing among masses of people, as a kind of activity towards which the characters of certain groups of men or of individual men are directed permanently, or at least with a tendency that often reappears’ (Tönnies 1891b:68). Based on this viewpoint, Tönnies (1902-1903, 1913) proposed that a change of social and economic conditions should always accompany confinement and that juvenile crime should become a matter of public pedagogy to be decided upon in special institutes or ‘moral hospitals’ (Tönnies 1902-1903:213).


Tönnies’ writings on crime have gone almost completely unnoticed in the history of sociology and criminology. In contemporary German criminology, few works refer to Tönnies’ writings and at best mention but one of his crime studies (e.g., Göppinger 1971:450; Kaiser 1988:46). Among an older generation of German scholars, Hans von Hentig, Franz Exner, and Hans Burchardt, criminologists of considerable prestige in their days, cited some findings from one or two of Tönnies’ empirical crime studies (Burchardt 1936:42; Exner 1949:229; Hentig 1962:334, 342, 358, 359). Although Tönnies’ criminological sociology is occasionally mentioned (but not discussed) in papers dealing specifically with his work (e.g., Freyer 1936:6; Leemans 1933:107; Heberle 1937:11, 1973:47-48; Salomon 1936:350), Tönnies’ sociology of crime has not been explored in the international field of sociology and criminology. And although the number of writings inspired by, or critical towards, Tönnies’ sociology surely runs well into the hundreds, I have discovered only six works that have dealt explicitly with his empirical studies, such as those on custom, agriculture, suicide, and demography (Bellebaum 1966; Jacoby 1971:200-225; Oberschall 1965, 1973; Schunck 1981; Terwey 1981). While these contributions adequately situate Tönnies’ empirical research within his broader sociological enterprise, they focus only minimally on his criminological work. Of Tönnies’ 34 writings on crime, Bellebaum (1966) cites 11, Oberschall (1965, 1973) six, Jacoby (1971) and Terwey (1981) three, and Schunck (1981) none. In the remainder of this paper, I explore the reasons for the neglect of Tönnies criminological work and its significance for an adequate understanding of his sociological theory. The lack of attention devoted to Tönnies’ sociology I attribute, first of all, to the rather ambiguous reception of his work in the canon of sociology.

A Classic in Isolation

Tönnies’ career in the academic world was mainly shaped by his disdain for teaching obligations associated with a formal university position (on Tönnies’ life, see Atoji 1984:10-12; Cahnman and Heberle 1971:xiv-xviii; Heberle 1968; Samples 1987; Schnabel 1985; Tönnies 1922b). In 1881 Tönnies was promoted to Privatdozent in philosophy at the University of Kiel, and only in 1913 did he become full professor in economics and statistics, a post he retired from as early as 1916. In 1921 Tönnies returned to the University of Kiel as professor emeritus in sociology. He stayed there until 1933 when he was dismissed after the Nazi seizure of power. In addition to his preference to work independently, Tönnies’ commitment to social reform and his socialist ideas also delayed his career. Nonetheless, Tönnies’ isolation did not prevent him from becoming a respected sociologist during his days. With Georg Simmel and Max Weber, he founded the German Society for Sociology in 1909, serving as its president [...] until 1933 when he disbanded the association in protest against the rise of National-Socialism.

As a classic in sociology, Tönnies’ status is not undisputed. While undoubtedly well known to the founders of American sociology, Tönnies’ work has never come to enjoy the generous reception bestowed on the likes of Weber, Durkheim, or Simmel. Christopher Adair-Toteff (1995) lists among the reasons for the relative neglect of Tönnies’ work, his old-fashioned Germanic style of writing, the complexity of his ideas, and the accusations against his perspective that criticize its pessimism and intrinsic theoretical shortcomings. Adair-Toteff rightly adds that most of these accusations are misconceptions, but they have effectively prevented Tönnies’ work from attaining the same status as some of his contemporaries. This adds to the notion that the reception of intellectual work is not only a matter of intrinsically judged merit but also related to the cultural environment, social conditions, and national traditions in which work is produced and oriented at an audience (Lamont 1987; McLaughlin 1998).

Contingencies play an important role in Tönnies’ intellectual history. Tönnies published Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft as early as 1887, when sociology in Germany was not yet an institutionalized academic discipline. The work was not widely read and hardly known to anybody outside a small group of academic scholars (Heberle 1968:102; Salomon 1936:349). The second edition of Tönnies’ book, published in 1912, did gain prominence but was received by a generation of young intellectuals that thought to defend a romanticist return to a Gemeinschaft society on Tönnies’ writings, a view which Tönnies explicitly rejected (Tönnies [1935a] 1963:203; Heberle 1968:102; Plessner 1955:344; Salomon 1936:351; Samples 1987). Tönnies’ next important works were published in the 1930s when the rise of Nazism did much to hinder the reception of German sociology on the international scene. To be sure, some journal articles had by that time introduced Tönnies’ writings in American sociology (e.g., Heberle 1937; Salomon 1936; Wirth 1926) and his work was discussed in some of the most influential writings in American sociology of that period (e.g., Park and Burgess 1924:103-105; Sorokin 1928:489-496; Barnes and Becker 1938:777, 784). However, these discussions were restricted to brief expositions on Tönnies’ concepts ofGemeinschaft and Gesellschaft (Cahnman 1977). Some comments, furthermore, led to misconceptions of Tönnies’ work. Sorokin’s (1928) and Parsons’ (1937) treatments of Tönnies, in particular, contributed to establishing the mistaken idea that Tönnies’ work was a manifestation of romantic-idealism. Moreover, the empirical sociology of Tönnies, and thus also the larger part of his criminology, is almost entirely excluded from the influence of his theoretical writings. This may have been due to its complexity in style and heavy reliance on statistical methods and because Tönnies’ empirical writings were scattered over many, often little known journals (Oberschall 1973:174). An indication that Tönnies’ crime studies were not entirely excluded from international recognition is suggested by the fact that his conceptual paper on crime was delivered at the second congress of the International Institute of Sociology in Paris on 3 October 1895 and published in the Institute’s journal (Tönnies 1896a). At the meeting, Tönnies discussed his perspective in a session with contributions by, amongst others, the renowned Italian criminologists Enrico Ferri (1896) and Raffaele Garofalo (1896).

In consequence, to this day, Tönnies’ sociology is generally not well known. Moreover, Tönnies’ work has often been subjected to criticisms on the basis of a limited inspection of his theoretical writings. Aside from its values and limitations as an approach in criminological sociology, I argue that Tönnies’ studies on crime are crucial to avoid a one-sided reading of his work.

The Theory of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft: Goals and Consequences

Tönnies’ aspiration that theory and research cannot stand alone should of course not prevent an independent judgment of its actual achievement in his work. In this respect, two difficulties of Tönnies’ sociology can be straightforwardly mentioned. Whereas in his early works, the distinction between pure and applied sociology was not always clearly drawn and the historical application of the theory not always convincing, Tönnies’ later writings were sharply split into pure, applied, or empirical sociology. Rarely did he offer theoretical clarifications in his empirical work, nor much systematic empirical findings to support his theoretical expositions. Also, Tönnies’ ambition to combine different schools of thought (exemplified, for instance, in his concept of crime which considered both psychological and sociological determinants) did little to enhance the reception of his work. As such, Tönnies’ career exemplified that the search for public recognition by an innovative scholar can only be successfully achieved in a polarized controversy, whereby the third position remains usually ‘caught in the cross-fire between hostile camps’ (Merton [1961] 1973:57).

One influential element in the reception of Tönnies’ work is the criticism that Tönnies would have romantically defendedGemeinschaft-like societies, while pessimistically criticizing industrial Gesellschaft. As a complement to this objection, it is often suggested that Tönnies failed to capture negative or conflictual social relationships and defended an unjustifiably harmonious picture of social life (e.g., Abel 1970:135; Bellebaum 1966:113-115; König 1955:408-410; Oberschall 1973:165). Other scholars, however, have rejected these criticisms to emphasize that Tönnies’ concepts of Gemeinschaft andGesellschaft, as abstract conceptual constructs, do not imply a value judgment and are strictly analytical (e.g., Cahnman and Heberle 1971:x; Freyer 1926:8; Heberle 1937:21).The interpretation that Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are analytical tools is founded on the fact that Tönnies indeed explicitly wrote that any society can only to a certain degree be calledGemeinschaft or Gesellschaft (Tönnies 1931b:191). Yet, this defense of Tönnies’ approach clarifies the aspiration of his sociology without inquiring into its effective usefulness. Based on my analysis, I advance a stronger claim and argue that the objections raised against Tönnies’ work can be questioned in light of his crime studies.

Tönnies as Methodologist

An evaluation of Tönnies’ criminological sociology can not overlook his extensive use of quantitative data and statistical methods of analysis. Tönnies recognized several methodological difficulties in the use of available crime statistics (Tönnies 1895a:331-338). He realized that official statistics did usually not present a complete picture of all crimes, for instance, because they did not register manipulations in commerce and crimes that had not been reported to the authorities. Also, the seriousness of crimes, Tönnies argued, could statistically not be studied in terms of a comparison between professional and occasional thieves, because the professional thieves often failed to appear in statistics, specifically because imprisonment blocked their criminal career, because they became less criminal when they got older, and because they often fled abroad. In light of these methodological limitations, Tönnies claimed that an empirical-sociological study with public statistics alone could not be sufficient, for official statistics served purposes which did not necessarily coincide with the aims of the sociologist. Hence, Tönnies used of multiple measures of observation, quantitative as well as qualitative.

Tönnies’ methods of statistical analysis cannot technically live up to the standards of contemporary research tools. But more surprising is the fact that in Tönnies’ days more advanced statistical techniques were already available and were, in fact, used to criticize his association measure (Stoltenberg 1919; Striefler 1931). Tönnies was well aware of the progress made in statistical correlation analysis by statisticians like Karl Pearson. In the paper in which he introduced his association measure, Tönnies (1909a:709-710) acknowledged that during his research he had found out that Pearson had developed a similar method and for his research on criminals in Schleswig-Holstein, Tönnies (1924:804-805) had one of his students compute the Pearson correlation coefficient for his data, noting that the results were nearly identical with his. The reasons for Tönnies’ refusal to adopt a technically more sophisticated method are related to his position on the value and limitations of statistics. Tönnies argued that statistical techniques could serve sociology in accurately expressing the features of social forms, but they could not form the basis of sociological inquiry. Tönnies refused to employ a method based on probability calculus (like Pearson’s measure) because he did not to conceive the social world as a world of chance. Only concepts of pure sociology, he argued, could determine what was relevant to be studied and the relationships that could theoretically be expected between, but not randomly assigned to, variables. Probability statistics for Tönnies unacceptably substituted pure sociology by mathematics (Tönnies 1931a:327).

The Forgotten Criminologist

Tönnies’ approach to the study of crime marks both similarities as well as differences with the prevailing theories of his days. Tönnies’ criminological perspective is intimately related to the important 19th-century discussion on the causality of crime (Pasquino 1991). Specifically, it is to be noted that Tönnies, while predominantly interested in the social causes of crime, did not entirely neglect certain biological or, more generally, individual-level causes. But biological analyses, Tönnies (1895a) asserted, were only useful when comparative studies of races and nations would be undertaken to relate the physionomics of criminals to the specific social conditions in which they appear. Tönnies was opposed to biological theories, notably the eugenics movement (Tönnies 1898:237-242), because and when they failed to take into account that crime was but a conspicuous symptom of certain conditions of the social and economic order (Tönnies 1890, 1891c, 1893b, 1893c, 1893d). In particular, Tönnies argued, ‘the influences of big-city life and big industry on the artisan and family life of the working class’ should be taken into account to explain crime as a social phenomenon (Tönnies 1890:375).

However, for Tönnies, more crucial than the debate on sociological versus biological explanations of crime was his aspiration to remove crime from legal theory and subject it to scientific analysis. Rejecting a classic notion of deterrence based on free-will conceptions, Tönnies defended a causal perspective (sociological or otherwise). Revealing the positivistic hope to tackle the root causes of crime, Tönnies argued that crime should become an objective matter to be studied through biological, psychological, or sociological scientific analysis (Tönnies 1912a). Although there is no indication that Tönnies’ work was influential in shaping German penal and criminal policy, from a theoretical viewpoint Tönnies’ perspective was typical for the most recent approaches that had come to dominate the criminology of his days. Rather than arguing for or against certain very particular root causes of crime (e.g., biological versus social conditions), this early form of positivist criminology was preoccupied with arguing that crime should at all be subjected to the principles of scientific inquiry through causal analysis (see, generally, Beirne 1993). This approach clashed with the justice-oriented conceptions of crime in the Classical School of criminology, which argued that crime had to be looked at from the perspective of its consequences and the sense of justice that had been violated and had to be restored through punishment. As such, Tönnies’ work sides with that of more influential criminologists like Enrico Ferri and Raffaele Garofalo and against that of Classical School representatives such as Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Beccaria.

Individual and Society from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft

As mentioned before, the criticisms that have most often been raised against Tönnies included that he would unjustly have posited a necessary relationship between human will and society and that his ideal-typical concepts of Gemeinschaft andGesellschaft would have prevented him from uncovering negative social relationships. The foregoing analysis, I believe, leads to redress much of these arguments, both on theoretical grounds as well as in light of Tönnies’ criminology.

From a theoretical viewpoint, the critique that the human will would not always be engrossed in social relationships misunderstands Tönnies’ concept of will. Tönnies contended that the human will is always involved in the formation of society, but not that this will is thereby necessarily the willed (in the sense of the freely chosen) expression of people’s attitudes towards their social surroundings. The concept of the human will, as a matter of pure sociology, merely implies that people’s psychological makeup, whether resistant or obedient, is always positioned in relation to societal constellations. While it is true that Tönnies did not empirically investigate but merely assumed psychological and motivational attributes (Oberschall 1973:166), his thesis on the mutual implication of human will and social formations, ideal-typically conceived, actually enables a critique of the actualized specific relationships between individual and society.

Tönnies expressed this viewpoint well in his discussion of Durkheim’s Rules of Sociological Method ([1895a] 1982) and the debate between Durkheim (1895b) and Gabriel Tarde (1895) that had followed the publication of the book (Tönnies 1898:495-497). On the one hand, Tönnies concurred with Durkheim that ‘social facts’ --a term which Tönnies considered identical to his own concept of ‘social wills’ (p. 496)-- are somehow independent from, and have a certain force over, individual consciousness. But, on the other hand, Tönnies maintained, Tarde ‘is absolutely right when he calls sociological concepts which are released from all psychological foundation, frivolous and fantastic. In Durkheim, indeed, the psychological foundation is entirely missing’ (p. 496). In addition, Tönnies argued that the force of social life over individuals, emphasized by Durkheim, is only a special case: ‘the general is the reciprocity (Wechselwirkung) between, on the one hand, the individuals, and, on the other hand, a social will which is looked upon by them, conceived as substantially, and, therefore precisely, created’ (p. 497). Thus, Tönnies’ position was located between Tarde’s and Durkheim’s, refuting both psychological reductionism and sociologism. Tönnies’ claim on the relationship between human will and social formations, then, should be understood to indicate the abstractly conceived and therefore empirically variable mutual dependencies of individual and society.

The critique that Tönnies did not, or could not, unravel negative social relationships especially appears without substance in light of Tönnies’ crime studies. The fact that Tönnies viewed crime as caused primarily by the social, particularly economic, contradictions of society demonstrates that he clearly acknowledged that social relationships could be negative. The rise of property crimes, for instance, Tönnies attributed to the social and economic conditions of a society in transition toGesellschaft. Tönnies expressed this viewpoint explicitly in his review of Durkheim’s Rules, where he was surprised to observe that Durkheim’s perspective led to the ‘curious result, that criminality would be a normal phenomenon of social life’ (Tönnies 1898:496).

Although most commentators have suggested that Tönnies’ sociology did not assume social order and harmony, there is disagreement on how to epistemologically interpret the negativity of social problems within Tönnies’ theoretical framework. Some authors have suggested that Tönnies’ theoretical perspective of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft remains problematically related to the negative relationships he recognized in his empirical studies (Bellebaum 1966:188; Terwey 1981:167). Other scholars have argued that Tönnies’ dual perspective of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft has to be expanded to include a third category of ‘pathology’, analogous to Max Weber’s ideal-typical distinction between the positive relationships of sociation in community and society (Vergemeinschaftung and Vergesellschaftung) and the negative relationship of conflict (Kampf) (Cahnman and Heberle 1971:xiii; Heberle 1973:66).

Neither of the stated interpretations do justice to Tönnies’ work. The social problems Tönnies investigated should not be conceived as problematic with, nor as a third category next to, but as an implied component of the framework ofGemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Much like Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are meant to ideal-typically separate two societal forms, social relationships in either one of these formations can be distinguished in terms of ‘pathology’ or ‘normalcy’. So conceived, it makes sense that Tönnies differentiated between criminals from urban and rural backgrounds, referring to the negative, criminogenic effects of Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft, respectively. Likewise, with the corresponding distinction between rogues and offenders, Tönnies indicated negative relationships produced under conditions of either type of society. Additionally, as Parsons (1973) has suggested, Tönnies also conceived of negative relationships in terms of the strains of change and transition associated with the evolution of society from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft. This aspect of Tönnies’ sociology of crime is exemplified, for instance, in his discussion on the rise of certain (profit-driven) crimes and the decline of other (expressive and violent) criminal activities. Tönnies’ perspective maintained, then, that changing social conditions in terms of a strenuous evolution from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft, as well as the actualized states of social conditions within these societal forms could produce certain forms of crime. From this perspective it makes sense that Tönnies discussed the changing nature of crime from offense to roguery, the relationship between types and rates of crime and changes in size of town or village, and the relative rise and decline of certain forms of crime over time.


In this paper, I argued that the neglect of Tönnies’ criminological sociology has led to overlook an important contribution to the study of crime and has impaired an adequate comprehension of Tönnies’ sociological project. Of course, with this review I do not wish to suggest that Tönnies’ work can be useful for contemporary research on crime. I did not mean to distill from Tönnies’ work ‘useful bits of lore’ in terms of his criminological research agenda (Camic 1997:6), but instead worked towards contextualizing his work, in theoretical, methodological, empirical, and policy respects, in terms of its relationship to other similar projects in criminological sociology in Tönnies’ days as well as relative to the contingencies of its historical reception, or, as the case all too clearly is, the lack thereof. Thus, the historical fact remains that Tönnies’ writings in general, and particularly his crime studies, have been neglected and that criminological sociology has developed without Tönnies. The fact, for instance, that the volume of Tönnies’ writings on crime by far surpasses Durkheim’s brief discussions on the theme will not alter the situation that Durkheim’s work is much more relevant for theory and research in criminological sociology today.

However, as a contribution to the history of sociology, this paper has revealed the distinctive characteristics of Tönnies’ sociology of crime and contributed to re-evaluate the intent and scope of his sociological project. Tönnies’ theory ofGemeinschaft and Gesellschaft should be conceived as essentially serving the sociological study of society. As much as Tönnies’ empirical research was theoretically substantiated, his social theory informed the examination of some crucial and problematic conditions of his society. Tönnies’ sociological theory did not entail a simplistic reduction of societal complexities but was instead intended to uncover society in its varied forms and the social problems it produced. As such, Tönnies was fundamentally engaged in theoretical as well as empirical work on the social conditions and problems he regarded important. With the danger of sociology tilting either towards sterile theoretical reflections or towards uninformed empirical research, not least of all in the study of crime, Tönnies’ work may be a strong reminder to develop a sociology committed to itself and to society alike.


1. Criminological Theory

‘Crime as a Social Phenomenon’ (1895a, French translation 1896a); ‘Schiller and the Crime Problem’ (1905b); ‘Vagrancy: A Sociological Sketch’ (1906).

2. Empirical Research

a) Crimes During the Dock Strike in Hamburg, 1896-1897:

‘On the Hamburg Strike: Open Letter to the Editorial Board of the Hamburg Correspondent’ (1896e); ‘Offenses at the Hamburg Dock Strike’ (1897a); ‘Dock Workers and Seamen in Hamburg before the Strike of 1896/97’ (1897b); ‘The Hamburg Strike of 1896/97’ (1897c); ‘The End of the Strike’ (1897d); ‘Strike-Terrorism: A Postscript’ (1897e); ‘Hamburg’ (1897f); The Truth about the Strike of the Dock Workers and Seamen in Hamburg 1896/1897 (1897g).

b) Criminals Imprisoned in Schleswig-Holstein:

‘Criminality in Schleswig-Holstein’ (three articles, 1924, 1927, 1929a); ‘The Place of Birth of Criminals in Schleswig-Holstein’ (1929b); ‘The Serious Criminality of Men in Schleswig-Holstein in the Years 1899-1914’ (with E. Jurkat, 1929); Illegitimate and Orphaned Criminals: Studies on Criminality in Schleswig-Holstein (1930a, expanded reprint of 1924, 1927, 1929a).

3. Crime Prevention and Criminal Law

‘The Prevention of Crime’ (1891a, English version 1891b); ‘The Expansion of Child Custody’ (1900b); ‘The Prevention of Crime: Excerpt’ (1901a); ‘Problems of Crime and Punishment’ (1902-1903); ‘The Idea of Purpose in Criminal Law’ (1904);Criminal Law Reform (1905a); ‘On the German Moral and Legal Development’ (1907); ‘Class Justice’ (1912a).

4. Review Articles

Reviews of books by R. Garofalo (1890), C. Lombroso (1893b), E. Laurent (1893c), W.D. Morrison (1893d), A.G. Bianchi (1894b), A. v. Fallanden Meyer (1896b), and H. W. Gruhle (1913); and the review articles ‘Criminal Anthropology’ (1891c) and ‘A Textbook of Criminal Anthropology’ (1894a).

5. Methodology

a) Criminal Statistics:

‘Juvenile Criminality and Neglect in Great Britain’ (1893a); ‘Criminal Statistics and the Proposal to Protect Industrial Labor Relations’ (1899a); ‘Berlin Statistics’ (1901b); ‘Statistics as Science’ (1919-1920); ‘Moral Statistics’ (1925b); ‘Statistics and Sociography’ (four different articles with the same title, 1928a, 1928b, 1928c, 1929c); ‘Sociography and Its Meaning’ (1930b); and three contributions to the subsection on sociography at the 7th meeting of the German Society for Sociology: ‘Address of Chairman Prof. Dr. Tönnies: Maxims’ (1931c, first published as ‘Maxims [to the Subsection on Sociography]’, 1930c), ‘Discussion’ (1931d), and ‘Conclusion’ (1931e).

b) Measure of Association:

‘A New Method for the Comparison of Statistical Rows (in Connection with Remarks on Criminal-statistical Inquiries)’ (1909a); and summaries of this paper: ‘A New Method for the Comparison of Statistical Rows’ (1909b); ‘About a Method of Moral-statistical Inquiry’ (1909c); ‘About the Method of Moral-statistical Inquiry’ (1910).

Note: Tönnies’ article on the prevention of crime (Tönnies 1891b) is the only criminology paper which appeared in English during his lifetime. While the paper is subtitled ‘First Article,’ the follow-up article was published only in German (Tönnies 1901a). None of the listed publications have been republished after their first printing, except for two English translations (Tönnies [1929d] 1971, translation of 1929b; and Tönnies [1929e] 1971, abridged translation of 1929c).
A shorter version of this article was published in The Anthem Companion to Ferdinand Tönnies.
London: Anthem Press, 2016. 


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____. (1893d) [Review of W.D. Morrison, Crime and Its Causes]. Zeitschrift für Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane 4:158-159.

____. (1894a) ‘Ein Handbuch der Kriminal-Anthropologie’, [review article]. Deutsche Worte: Monatshefte 14:363-370.

____. (1894b) [Review of A.G. Bianchi, Selbstbiografie des Gefangenen Antonio]. Ethische Kultur: Wochenschrift zur Verbreitung ethischer Bestrebungen 2:94.

____. (1895a) ‘Das Verbrechen als soziale Erscheinung’, Archiv für soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik 8:329-344.

____. (1896a) ‘Le Crime Comme Phénomène Social’, Annales de l’Institut International de Sociologie 2:387-409.

____. (1896b) [Review of Albert v. Fallanden Meyer, Die Verbrechen in ihren Zusammenhang mit den Wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Verhältnissen im Kanton Zurich]. Archiv für Soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik 9:304-308.

____. (1896c) ‘Jahresbericht über Erscheinungen der Sociologie aus den Jahren 1893-1894, nebst Vorbericht’, [review article]. Archiv für systematische Philosophie 2:419-441, 497-517.

____. ([1896d] 1972) ‘A Review of Émile Durkheim’s De La Division du Travail Social’, American Journal of Sociology77:1199-1200.

____. (1896e) ‘Zum Hamburger Streik: Offener Brief an die Redaktion des Hamburger Korrespondenten’, Ethische Kultur: Wochenschrift für sozial-ethische Reformen 4:409-411.

____. (1897a) ‘Strafthaten im Hamburger Hafenstrike’, Archiv für Soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik 11:513-520.

____. (1897b) ‘Hafenarbeiten und Seeleutein Hamburg vor dem Strike 1896/97’, Archiv für soziale Gesetzsgebung und Statistik 10:173-238.

____. (1897c) ‘Der Hamburger Strike von 1896/97’, Archiv für soziale Gesetzsgebung und Statistik 10:673-720.

____. (1897d) ‘Das Ende des Streiks’, Ethische Kultur: Wochenschrift für sozial-ethische Reformen 5:49-50.

____. (1897e) ‘Streik-Terrorismus: Ein Nachwort’, Ethische Kultur: Wochenschrift für sozial-ethische Reformen 5:65-66.

____ (pseudonym: Krito) (1897f) ‘Hamburg’, Die Kritik: Wochenschau des öffentlichen Lebens 4:342-345.

____. (1897g) Die Wahrheit über den Streik der Hafenarbeiter und Seeleute in Hamburg 1896/1897. Hamburg: Engelke.

____. (1898) ‘Jahresbericht über Erscheinungen der Sociologie aus den Jahren 1895 und 1896’, [review article]. Archiv für systematische Philosophie 4:99-116, 229-249, 483-506.

____. (1899a) ‘Die Kriminalstatistik und die Vorlage zum Schutze des gewerblichen Arbeitsverhältnisses’, Soziale Praxis9:105-112.

____. (1899b. ‘Philosophical Terminology (I)’, Mind: A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy 8:289-332.

____. (1900a) ‘Philosophical Terminology (III. Conclusion)’, Mind: A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philosophy 9:46-61.

____. (1900b) ‘Die Erweiterung der Zwangserziehung’, Archiv für Soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik 15:458-489.

____. (1900c) ‘Jahresbericht über Erscheinungen aus den Jahren 1897 und 1898’, [review article]. Archiv für systematische Philosophie 6:505-540.

____. (1901a) ‘Die Verhütung des Verbrechens: Fragment’, Ethische Kultur: Wochenschrift für sozial-ethische Reformen9:153-155, 162-164.

____. (1901b) ‘Die Berliner Statistik’, Das Freie Wort 1:461-467.

____. (1902-1903) ‘Probleme des Verbrechens und der Strafe’, Deutschland: Monatsschrift für die gesamte Kultur 1:54-60, 171-214.

____. (1904) ‘Der Zweckgedanke im Strafrecht’, Das Freie Wort: Frankfurter Halbmonatschrift für Fortschritt auf allen Gebieten des geistigen Lebens 4:130-140.

____. (1905a) Strafrechtsreform. Moderne Zeitfragen, No. 1. Berlin: Pan Publikationen.

____. (1905b) ‘Schiller und das Verbrecherproblem, II’, Deutschland: Monatsschrift für die gesamte Kultur 6:178-190.

____. (1905c) ‘The Present Problems of Social Structure’, American Journal of Sociology 10:569-588.

____. (1906) ‘Das Vagieren: Soziologische Skizze’, Kulturfragen: Illustrierter Anzeiger für Kantor und Büro 1:99-103.

____. (1907) ‘Aus der deutschen Moral- und Rechtsentwicklung’, Dokumente des Fortschritts: Internationale Revue 1:90-95.

____. (1909a) ‘Eine neue Methode der Vergleichung statistischer Reihen (im Anschluss an Mitteilungen über kriminalstatistische Forschungen)’, Schmollers Jahrbuch für Gesetzgebung, Verwaltung und Volkswirtschaft im Deutschen Reich 33:699-720.

____. (1909b) ‘Eine neue Methode der Vergleichung statistischer Reihen, nach Schmollers Jahrbuch, 33. Jahrg., 2. Heft. Leipzig 1909’, Deutsches Statistisches Zentralblatt 2:221-222.

____. (1909c) ‘Über eine Methode moralstatistischer Forschung’, in T. Elsenhans (ed.) Bericht über den III. Internationalen Kongress für Philosophie zu Heidelberg. Heidelberg: Carl Winter’s Universitätsbuchhandlung, 987.

____. (1910) ‘Über die Methode moralstatistischer Forschung’, Philosophie der Gegenwart: Eine internationale Jahresübersicht 1:327-328.

____. (1910-1911) ‘Soziologie und Rechtsphilosophie: Leitsätze’, Archiv für Rechts- und Wirtschaftsphilosophie 4:569-571.

____. (1912a) ‘Klassenjustiz’, Ethische Kultur: Halbmonatsschirft für sozial-ethische Reformen 20:6.

____. ([1912b] 1963) ‘Vorrede zur zweiten Auflage’, in his Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, XXVI-XXXVIII.

____. ([1912c] 1971) ‘Preface to the Second Edition of Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds) Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied, and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 24-36.

____. 1913) [Review of Hans W. Gruhle, Die Ursachen der jugendlichen Verwahrlosung und Kriminalität]. Annalen für soziale Politik und Gesetzgebung 2:690-694.

____. (1919-1920) ‘Die Statistik als Wissenschaft’, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv 15:1-28.

____. (1921a) Marx: Leben und Lehre. Sozialistische Bücherie, volume 5. Jena: Erich Lichtenstein.

____. ([1921b] 1974) Karl Marx: His Life and Teachings, translated by Charles P. Loomis and Ingeborg Paulus. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press.

____. (1922a) Kritik der Öffentlichen Meinung. Berlin: Julius Springer.

____. (1922b) ‘Ferdinand Tönnies’, Pp. 199-234 in Die Philosophie der Gegenwart in Selbstdarstellungen, edited by Raymund Schmidt. Leipzig: Felix Meiner.

____. (1924) ‘Verbrechertum in Schleswig-Holstein’, Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 52:761-805.

____. (1925a) Soziologische Studien und Kritiken. Jena: Gustav Fischer.

____. (1925b) ‘Moralstatistik’, Pp. 637-645 in Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaften, Volume 5, 4th edition, edited by L. Elster. Jena: Gustav Fischer.

____. ([1925c] 1971) ‘A Prelude to Sociology’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds) Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied, and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 75-86.

____. (1926a) Soziologische Studien und Kritiken, Zweite Sammlung. Jena: Gustav Fischer.

____. ([1926b] 1971) ‘The Divisions of Sociology’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds) Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied, and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 128-140.

____. (1927) ‘Verbrechertum in Schleswig-Holstein (Zweites Stück)’, Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 58:608-628.

____. (1928a) ‘Statistik und Soziographie’, Deutsches Statistisches Zentralblatt 20:135-138.

____. (1928b) ‘Statistik und Soziographie’, Soziale Praxis: Zentralblatt für Sozialpolitik und Wohlfahrtspflege 37:751-752.

____. (1928c) ‘Statistik und Soziographie’, Forschungen und Fortschritte 4:161.

____. (1929a) ‘Verbrechertum in Schleswig-Holstein (Drittes Stück)’, Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik 61:322-359.

____. (1929b) ‘Ortsherkunft von Verbrechen in Schleswig-Holstein’, Deutsches Statistisches Zentralblatt 21:146-150.

____. (1929c) ‘Statistik und Soziographie’, Allgemeines Statistisches Archiv 18:546-558.

____. ([1929d] 1971) ‘The Place of Birth of Criminals in Schleswig-Holstein’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds)Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago, 242-247.

____. ([1929e] 1971) ‘Statistics and Sociography’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds) Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago, 236-240.

____. (1930a) Uneheliche und verwaiste Verbrecher: Studien über Verbrechertum in Schleswig-Holstein. Kriminalstatistische Abhandlungen, Heft 14. Leipzig: Ernst Wiegandt Verlagsbuchhandlung.

____. (1930b) ‘Soziographie und ihre Bedeutung’, Die Justiz: Monatsschrift für Erneuerung des deutschen Rechtswesens6:69-77.

____. (1930c) ‘Leitsätze (zu der Untergruppe für Soziographie)’, Kölner Vierteljahreshefte für Soziologie 9:231-232.

____. (1931a) Einführung in die Soziologie. Stuttgart: Ferdinand Enke.

____. (1931b) ‘Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft’, in A. Vierkandt (ed.) Handwörterbuch der Soziologie. Stuttgart: Enke Verlag, 180-191.

____. (1931c) ‘Vortrag des Vorsitzenden Geheimrat Prof. Dr. Tönnies: Leitsätze’, in Verhandlungen des Siebenten Deutschen Soziologentages. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 196-206.

____. (1931d) ‘Diskussion’, in Verhandlungen des Siebenten Deutschen Soziologentages. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 212.

____. (1931e) ‘Schlußwort’, in Verhandlungen des Siebenten Deutschen Soziologentages. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr (Paul Siebeck), 231-232.

____. ([1931f] 1971) ‘Social Norms: Law’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds) Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied, and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 199-211.

____. (1932a) ‘Mein Verhältnis zur Soziologie’, in Richard Thurnwald (ed.) Soziologie von Heute: Ein Symposium der Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Soziologie. Leipzig: C.L. Hirschfeld, 103-122.

____. ([1932b] 1971) ‘My Relation to Sociology’, in Werner J. Cahnman and Rudolf Heberle (eds) Ferdinand Toennies on Sociology: Pure, Applied and Empirical. Chicago: University of Chicago, 3-11.

____. ([1935a] 1963) Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: Grundbegriffen der reinen Soziologie, 8th edition. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.

____. ([1935b] 1940) Fundamental Concepts of Sociology (Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft), translated by Charles P. Loomis. New York: American Book Company.

____. ([?] 1955) ‘Die Entstehung meiner Begriffe Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft’, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 7:463-467.

Tönnies, Ferdinand, and Ernst Jurkat. (1929) ‘Die schwere Kriminalität von Männern in Schleswig-Holstein in den Jahren 1899-1914’, Zeitschrift für Völkerpsychologie und Soziologie 5:26-39.

Wirth, Louis. (1926) ‘The Sociology of Ferdinand Tönnies’, American Journal of Sociology 32:412-422.

See related writings on sociological theory.