UNST 220 Understanding Communities

Dr. Martha J. Bianco


Module I Lecture Guide

Part II


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A.      Gideon Sjoberg’s Classification of Cities


1.         Preindustrial City

2.         The Industrial City




VII.  Concepts of Community



Ferdinand Tönnies, German sociologist born in 1855, began teaching at a German university in 1881 and in 1987 developed the concepts of Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society).


A.   Gemeinschaft

B.   Gesellschaft







·         walking city with primitive modes of transport

·         central places (plazas, parks, etc.)

·         monuments, religious buildings, market centers

·         more advanced transportation and communication

·         central business district with distinct personality as center of business and government

·         urban density offset by suburban sprawl

·         factory smokestacks



·         nonmarket economy of barter and exchange

·         agriculture dominates

·         self-sustenance rather than large-scale production and surplus

·         cottage industries

·         simple division of labor

·         wealth measured in land or animals, but no "market" value (no real estate value)


·         market economy emphasizing cash

·         manufacturing dominates

·         heavy surplus and regional, national, and international trade

·         separation of work and home

·         large factories, with assembly-line production

·         complex division of labor

·         wealth measured in capital: money and/or the means of production, including land, machines, labor


social & cultural

·         emphasis on kinship ties

·         strong extended families

·         close ties to neighbors

·         sense of community based on family and neighborhood

·         face-to-face communications dominate

·         primary groups (family, neighbors) dominate over secondary groups (e.g., fellow workers)

·         ethnic similarities and cohesion

·         similarity of culture, beliefs, religion, language (homogeneity)

·         religious and sacred explanations for phenomena

·         emphasis on the individual

·         immediate family unit more important than extended family

·         few ties to neighbors

·         lack of sense of community

·         mass communications (e.g., TV) dominate

·         secondary groups dominate

·         ethnic differences and discrimination present

·         differences of culture, beliefs, religion, language (heterogeneity)

·         alienation and anomie

·         scientific, secular explanations for phenomena



·         traditional authority based on elders, priests, etc.

·         little bureaucracy or technocratic expertise

·         informal sanctions and contracts

·         repressive, strict law

·         advancement based on family ties and background

·         legal/rational authority based on legal precedence, formal rules, etc.

·         extensive bureaucracy and reliance on experts

·         power elites, including businesses and politicians

·         restitutive law (fines, etc.)

·         formal contracts

·         advancement based on merit and training


C.      Techno$chaft



Videos Pertaining to This Module     

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Module I, Part I
Module I, Part IV
Lecture Guides Home Page
Class Syllabus


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© Martha J. Bianco, Ph.D.