Amitai Etzioni a New Community

Topics: Sociology, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, Ferdinand Tönnies Pages: 4 (1322 words) Published: September 29, 2011
What is a community? To many it is a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage. For many this is an abstract term. Many people don’t exactly know what a community is. It can be felt or touched and sure enough it can’t be seen. Society also plays a role in this relative and abstract term of community. Meaning, the body of human beings generally, associated or viewed as members of a community. Amitai Etzioni in his article “The New Community” introduces and compares the ideas of two distinct types of social relations, “gemeinschaft” and “gesellschaft” and argues for the necessity of both to maintain the social foundations of morality. The German words “gemeinschaft” and “gesellschaft”, are terms used by German sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies, refer to “community” and “society” respectively.

Gesellschaft is the first and for most important part of this ideal utopia. This idea concept is originated from big cities. Etzioni talks about the differences from moving from small towns to the big cities. He believes it came with benefits but along with pros come cons, sometimes seemingly out weighing the pros. When moving from free small roaming towns to huge heavy populated cities, people no longer have the tight knit bonds that were formed in their small towns. So what does this mean; he asks the reader? He believes this really moves people into a ME state of mind. The WE-ness that was needed, to oh say farm was no longer prevalent in these huge cities. So the city goer would no longer have to depend on a neighbor or family member anymore, thus creating isolation in the metropolitan areas. “Between the urban villages, in row houses, and high rises, you find people who do not know their next door neighbors, with whom they may have shared a floor, corridors, and elevators for a generation.” (Etzioni 453.) This just shows the true isolation that can occur. People living in...
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