Sozial and Gesellschaft

Hi, all.

My question is as follows:

In German language, what is equivalent to a "society"? To me, it seems that Gesellschaft corresponds to a particular type of society—that is, a wider range of, and/or imagined, organisation of people in which the members face mutually in an impersonal manner. My understanding is that, for that reason, Gesellschaft is different from Gemeinschaft.

In this context, I wonder if there is a broader concept including the two—for instance, the noun form of German adjective “sozial”.

Thank you.

  • Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    The noun form is 'Sozietät', but it rather indicates a social group.
    Quite the opposite: Sozietät has a very special meaning implying material interests (e.g. Anwaltssozietät), while a soziale Gruppe is held together by rather immaterial interests.

    The adjective corresponding to the noun Gesellschaft can be both in German sozial, gesellschaftlich (sozial/gesellschaftlich engagiert) and gesellig (gerne in Gesellschaft anderer).


    Senior Member
    "Sozietät" ist offenbar auch ein soziologischer bzw. ethologischer Fachbegriff
    Ja, es ist ein Fachbegriff, der allgemeinsprachlich unbekannt ist. Sozietäten sind im allgemeinen Sprachgebrauch spezielle Personengesellschaften -- wobei auch das eher gehoben ist. Der Normalbürger spricht so gut wie nicht von Sozietäten.

    I think that the difference between Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft is approximately the same as in English between society and community.
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