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Antisociality is an attribution that is mostly felt and meant to be pejorative for behavior that deviates from social norms and supposedly or actually harms society . In the scientific field, deviance is used more neutrally as a generic term and is distinguished from deviating, not necessarily criminal behavior ( delinquency ).


The term antisocial actually corresponds to “antisocial” as a counter-term to “ social ”, but is usually used in the sense of “ antisocial ” (= harmful to the community). Both are art words from Greek. A- ( "un-") or anti- ( "counter") and lat. Socialis ( " common economically"). “Asocial” refers to behavior that deviates from the recognized social norm: An individual or a group violates applicable social norms and the interests of other members of society through their own actions.

However, the term “asocial” is also often misused to stigmatize groups who deviate (in part consciously) from required social norms. In the first half of the 20th century, the term “anti-social” was a collective term used politically for people from the lower social class who were considered inferior . As "asocial" were and are partly still in particular the homeless , beggars , welfare recipients, unemployed , addiction sick (z. B. alcoholics ), tramp / Gypsies , prostitutes and other marginalized social groups referred.


Under National Socialism and the GDR , the rulers made the term “anti-social” a legal term and legally derived the persecution of non-conformist social groups from it. At the time of National Socialism , people could be interned in concentration camps because they were accused of being asocial .

National Socialism

In the time of National Socialism , “anti-socials” were victims of intensified persecution. The "Arbeitsscheu Reich" campaign marks the climax of the "anti-social persecution" under National Socialism. Since 1938 the welfare offices have been urging the police authorities to arrest "anti-social" people. In place of harassment and the expulsion of the needy, they were captured and destroyed. The social utopia of the definitive elimination of deviant behavior has been put into practice. The “Arbeitsscheu Reich” campaign was the most significant single event in the Nazi policy against “anti-social”. The decree of January 26, 1938 was followed by a Gestapo action on April 21, 1938 and a criminal police action on June 13, 1938. Around 20,000 “anti-social” were sent to concentration camps. Criminals, drinkers, prostitutes and foster children were considered "anti-social". They wore the black triangle on their clothing as identification and were at the bottom of the concentration camp hierarchy.

Since the 1960s

In the 1960s the term was often disparagingly applied to youthful subcultures such as hippies ( bums , long-haired ), and in the 1980s to punks . Those named in this way were accused of placing themselves outside of conventional society , of not living like the “ mainstream ”, of being neglected and thus unreasonably uncultivated .

With the emergence of social criticism in the 1970s and 1980s, attempts were therefore made to introduce the term “ dissocial ” in the social sciences . He pointed out that norms and actions related to them are relative. One perspective is not superior to the other. This meant that certain norms and manners that are viewed as normal or corresponding to the norm in one social group do not at all have to be from the point of view of another group. Nor are they necessarily perceived as a deliberate violation of the norms of others. However, the term “dissocial” has not caught on in everyday language.

At the beginning of the 21st century, the term was often used with an amused undertone with regard to a certain part of the uneducated lower classes, especially in the pet forms “Asi” and “Assi” (the latter actually being an abbreviation for “assistant”). The so-called Asis are also edited in cabaret, for example in the Dutch television and film series New Kids . A famous German “Assi” is “Voll Assi Toni”, an unemployed person from Offenbach who posted a video with his opinion about women on the Internet in 2006 and thus became known to an audience of millions and became a cult figure who was mostly viewed with irony and amusement.


In the GDR were those "social coexistence of citizens or public order" thereby endangered, according to the state bodies that they are "out of unwillingness to work persistently deprived of a regular job or prostitution pursued or otherwise improperly Sustenance procured ", according to § 249 StGB-GDR are sentenced to probation or work education or imprisonment or imprisonment for up to two years. In addition, a residence restriction according to § 51 f. StGB-DDR and on state control and educational supervision are recognized.

Action in the UK

Police warning of anti-social behavior in the London borough of Richmond

The Anti-Social Behavior Order ( ASBO ) in Great Britain and Ireland is understood to mean civil law measures against someone who is guilty of antisocial behavior according to official regulations.

The rules, enacted by then Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1998, were introduced to sanction behavior that would not automatically result in criminal prosecution. The sanctions included evictions and sanctions for spitting, cursing, breakdancing performances, graffiti spraying and public drinking. An ASBO was seen in the youth scene as a show of courage. Furthermore, families of school refusal were approached and sometimes threatened with punishment. In July 2010 Theresa May announced that she wanted to reform the corresponding guidelines in favor of local, community-oriented measures.

Later use

Today the term is rarely used in German scientific and social discourse or in high-class colloquial language. Due to its troubled history, it is seen by many as problematic, with unwanted associations and thus politically incorrect . People who are perceived on the lower edge as standing outside of society are instead often z. B. as "marginalized", "socially weak" or similar. designated. This also goes hand in hand with a different assessment: the cause of exclusion is no longer seen only in the individual or group concerned, but also or primarily in processes of society.

The term anti-social is also used to denote generally socially destructive behavior, for example for people at the top of society who behave anti-social towards the general good, their employees, their customers, their voters, etc. As part of the Liechtenstein tax affair of the SPD general secretary spoke Hubertus Heil " tax evaders " repeatedly as "new anti-socials".

In the English-speaking world, the term is still in use and is also considered a typical sign of the Blair era under the motto " Law and Order is a Labor issue" (law and order is an issue for British social democracy).

Attempts to explain

A sociological explanation for antisocial behavior is based on the anomie theory according to Émile Durkheim : In this case “anomie” is understood to be normlessness. Another theory used to explain delinquent behavior is Robert K. Merton's theory . He sees the cause of deviant behavior in the discrepancy between the cultural goals (e.g. status, prestige, material, ...) that actors want to achieve and the means available to them.

The psychoanalyst August Aichhorn attempted the behavior of so-called 'neglected' young people a. a. to explain with their superego development.

From a constructivist and discourse-analytical point of view, the social construction of 'asociality' by authorities, politicians, social scientists, journalists and through everyday discourse requires no less explanation than the supposedly 'asocial' behavior itself.

Colloquial language

In everyday language, however, the term continues to be used as a derogatory, discriminatory term or as a swear word. Instead, the term “ Proll ” functions here in a slightly milder form : In contrast to the terms “asocial” or “assi” (see below), which associate forms of life and behavior patterns that are already beyond what is tolerated in society “Proll” in one of its facets of meaning, forms of life and behavior at the very bottom of the social spectrum. Colloquially, the asocial attribution is also used for situations and things that are simply nonsensical in the original meaning of the word . The meaning of communal coexistence is often given up in favor of a reference to an aesthetically very unpleasant appearance that is usually perceived as embarrassing , sometimes even nauseating , by the user of the term .

In colloquial usage, the short forms Assi are often used as a noun and assi as an adjective. The nouns are often used for proletarians , troublemakers, etc. Correspondingly, the adjectives are related to anti-social behavior or circumstances, even without reference to human behavior. Both words can also be used as general swear words to express displeasure towards something, whereby the original meaning of the word, i.e. antisocial , does not have to apply, similar to son of a bitch or shitty .

See also


  • Helga Amesberger, Brigitte Halbmayr, Elke Rajal: “Work shy and morally degenerate”. Persecution of women as »asocials« under National Socialism . Mandelbaum Verlag, Vienna 2019, ISBN 978-3-85476-596-7 .
  • Wolfgang Ayaß : Asocial 'in National Socialism. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-608-91704-7 .
  • Sven Korzilius: "Asocial" and "Parasites" in the law of the Soviet Zone / GDR. Marginal groups in socialism between repression and exclusion. Böhlau Verlag, Cologne 2005 ( critical review for H-Soz-u-Kult ).
  • Christa Schikorra: Continuities of Exclusion: “Asocial” prisoners in the Ravensbrück women's concentration camp. Metropol, Berlin 2001. (Review)
  • Joachim Windmüller: Humanism cannot exist without coercion ... - "Asocial" in the GDR. Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 2006, ISBN 3-631-55706-X .
  • Steffen Hirsch: The type of the “socially disintegrated” criminal in criminology and criminal law in the GDR. A contribution to the history of criminal justifications. Sierke Verlag, Göttingen 2008.
  • Thomas Irmer, Barbara Reischel, Kaspar Nürnberg: The municipal work and preservation house Rummelsburg - On the history of a forgotten place of persecution of "anti-social in the Nazi era". In: Gedenkstättenrundbrief , No. 144, 8/2008, pp. 22–31.
  • Gerhard Werle : Judicial criminal law and police fight against crime in the Third Reich. Habilitation, 1989, ISBN 3-11-011964-1 , p. 501 ff.

Web links

Wiktionary: Asocial  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Asocial  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Assi  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Ayaß : "Accordingly, for example, is asocial ..." On the language of social exclusion in National Socialism. In: Contributions to the history of National Socialism . 28, 2012, pp. 69-89.
  2. Duden - Asocial - spelling, meaning, definition. Retrieved August 10, 2017 .
  3. ^ Fee for a few anti-social sayings , on , February 4, 2011.
  4. See also the book Tim Mohr : Don't Die in the Waiting Room of the Future The East German Punks and the Fall of the Wall . From the American by Harriet Fricke and Frank Dabrock. Wilhelm Heyne Verlag, Munich 2017, ISBN 978-3-453-27127-2 .
  5. Asbos come into force on Monday. In: The Irish Times . news report, December 29, 2006.
  6. ASBOs can't beat a neighborhood policeman. In: Times Online. September 30, 2009.
  7. ^ Q&A Anti-social behavior orders. In: BBC News. March 20, 2002.
  8. Time to 'move beyond' Asbos, says home secretary May. In: BBC News. July 28, 2010.
  9. Peter Nowak : Die neue Asoczialen - The hunt for tax evaders is lined with populist tones. In: Telepolis , February 18, 2008.
  10. ^ Anti-social behavior, It's back, Another Blairite theme is resurrected. on: , October 1, 2009.