German Society for Sociology

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The German Society for Sociology e. V. (DGS) is a scientific association for the promotion of sociological research and teaching. The non-profit association has set itself the goal of “ discussing social science problems, promoting scientific communication among members and helping to disseminate and deepen sociological knowledge”.


The association was founded on January 30, 1909 in Berlin by a group of 39 scientists, none of whom was a full-time "sociologist". It is the second oldest sociological society of its kind in the world. Rudolf Goldscheid (1870–1931) and Georg Simmel are to be named as their initiators . Max Weber , who was involved in recruiting after initial skepticism, had already resigned from the company's board of directors on January 1, 1911 because of the dispute over the non-value postulate.

Ferdinand Tönnies (1855–1936) was elected as the first president . In 1933, because of his opposition to the Nazi regime, he was forced to resign. At that time, some of the DGS members had already emigrated or fled from Germany.

His successor, Hans Freyer , stopped all activities of the DGS in 1934. As a result, it remained inoperative until 1946. There is no consensus among sociologists about the exact course, role and possible activity of the DGS during the National Socialist era; Documents from this period were burned during the war.

After 1946 the DGS was founded again; Leopold von Wiese became its first president. When Hanna Meuter pointed out in 1948 that of the former 150 members of society, over half, not unaffected by the extermination processes of the time, are no longer with us today , that was rare for that time.

Wieses successor was Helmuth Plessner . Until the congress in Berlin on the 50th anniversary of the DGS 1959, the three major schools of sociology of the postwar period were formed: (1) the Cologne School of René King , (2) by the Leipzig School -influenced direction especially with Helmut Schelsky in Münster is associated, and (3) the Frankfurt School around Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno .

Until the 1990s, the DGS dealt primarily with the elaboration of a teaching canon in sociology and the drafting of guidelines for the equipment of study programs at universities. The German reunification also posed a challenge to the sociological society after a German society for sociology in East Germany was founded shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall , which was then dissolved in 1992. Negotiations with the German Society for Sociology in East Germany and the Professional Association of German Sociologists (BDS) resulted in the formulation of a joint code of ethics for sociologists in 1992 . The code of ethics laid down standards for the conduct of teaching and research scientists and was implemented in a joint ethics committee of the associations.

Sociology Days / Congresses of the German Society for Sociology

Opening event of the 38th Congress of the German Society for Sociology, September 2016 in Bamberg

The sociology days of the DGS that followed from the 1960s onwards became the venue for the confrontation between critical theory and critical rationalism in the so-called positivism dispute , without a solution becoming apparent.

The 1968 student movement provided new material for disputes . This time the front ran between Herbert Marcuse and Theodor W. Adorno on the one hand and Ralf Dahrendorf , the chairman of the DGS at the time, on the other. The board of the DGS saw the unity of society in jeopardy and was threatened by the extra-parliamentary opposition ( APO ) with its Marxist theoretical approaches. There was a hiatus of six years before a new sociology day was called. The goals and the structure of the DGS were redefined and a change from a learned society to a broader base was initiated, as membership was no longer restricted to professors, but also expanded to include doctorates.

In the mid-1990s, the name Deutscher Sociologentag , which had been used since 1909, was changed to the gender-neutral name of the Congress of the German Society for Sociology at the request of the growing “ Women's Research ” section .

In the 1990s, two sociology congresses took place for the first time in eastern German cities ( Halle and Dresden ) and the DGS and Bielefeld University organized the World Sociological Congress convened by the International Sociological Association (ISA) in 1994 , which brought 4,000 sociologists to Bielefeld. Furthermore, the cooperation with sociologists from Austria and Switzerland that existed at the beginning of the DGS was revived. For example, the 1998 Sociology Congress in Freiburg was held as a joint German, Swiss and Austrian congress - in keeping with the theme of the congress at the time, “Society without borders”.

Since 2007, the DGS has also sponsored student sociology congresses that take place every two years.

Today's activities

Over a century, the DGS has changed from an exclusive scholarly community to a broad association of sociologically working scientists with around 3300 members. It includes numerous sections and working groups on various sociological issues and theoretical approaches, each of which hold its own working conference. The qualitative research , violent to their basic theses 50 years ago debates took place, was given its own section. The sociology congresses are met with major events with over 3000 participants.

In the middle of 2012, the DGS called on its members to boycott the CHE university ranking due to "serious methodological weaknesses and empirical gaps" . Due to the "lack of convincing improvements on the part of the CHE", the DGS cooperated with the Association of Historians in Germany in order to jointly offer an alternative source of information for those interested in studying both subjects. In 2014, the professional associations initiated the joint study information portal “”, in which the German Society for Educational Science and the German Society for Media and Communication Studies also participate.


As the "Forum of the German Society for Sociology", the DGS publishes the quarterly journal Sociology .

Presidents and Chairs

Congresses of the DGS

  • 2020: Berlin - society under tension
  • 2018: Göttingen - Complex Dynamics of Global and Local Developments
  • 2016: Bamberg - Closed societies.
  • 2014: Trier - Routines of the Crisis - Crisis of the Routines
  • 2012: Bochum / Dortmund - diversity and cohesion.
  • 2010: Frankfurt am Main - Transnational Vergesellschaftungen.
  • 2008: Jena - uncertain times. Challenges of social transformation.
  • 2006: Kassel - The nature of society.
  • 2004: Munich - Social Inequality - Cultural Differences.
  • 2002: Leipzig - denationalization and social security.
  • 2000: Cologne - good company? For the construction of social orders.
  • 1998: Freiburg im Breisgau - Boundless Society?
  • 1996: Dresden - Difference and Integration.
  • 1994: Halle (Saale) - societies in transition.
  • 1992: Düsseldorf - living conditions and social conflicts in the new Europe.
  • 1990: Frankfurt am Main - The modernization of modern societies.
  • 1988: Zurich - Culture and Society.
  • 1986: Hamburg - technology and social change.
  • 1984: Dortmund - Sociology and Social Development.
  • 1982: Bamberg - Crisis in the working society.
  • 1980: Bremen - living environment and social problems.
  • 1979: Berlin - Social Change in Western Europe.
  • 1976: Bielefeld - materials from sociological research .
  • 1974: Kassel - interim assessment of sociology .
  • 1968: Frankfurt am Main - late capitalism or industrial society ?
  • 1964: Heidelberg - Max Weber and Sociology Today.
  • 1959: Berlin - Sociology in modern society.
  • 1956: Bad Meinberg - tradition.
  • 1954: Heidelberg - On the ideology problem / The liberal professions.
  • 1952: Weinheim - The career choice - cells and cliques.
  • 1950: Detmold - home and foreigners - bureaucratisation.
  • 1948: Worms - Youth - Terror.
  • 1946: Frankfurt am Main - The current situation, viewed sociologically.
  • 1930: Berlin - The press and public opinion.
  • 1928: Zurich - competition - hikes.
  • 1926: Vienna - Democracy - Natural Law.
  • 1924: Heidelberg - Sociology and Social Policy - Science and Social Structure.
  • 1922: Jena - The essence of the revolution.
  • 1913: Berlin - nation and nationality.
  • 1910: Frankfurt am Main - Paths and Goals of Sociology (First German Sociologists' Day).

The following student sociology congresses were also funded by the DGS:

  • 2015: Tübingen - thinking (rethinking)
  • 2013: Bamberg - Crisis Processes Potentials.
  • 2011: Berlin - Complex New World.
  • 2009: Munich - theory and practice.
  • 2007: Halle - Perspectives of Sociology.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. See Otthein Rammstedt , The question of freedom from values and the founding of the German Society for Sociology . In: Lars Clausen , Carsten Schlüter [-Knauer] (eds.): Hundred years of “ Community and Society . Leske + Budrich, Opladen 1991, pp. 549-560.
  2. Cf. M. Rainer Lepsius : Max Weber and the founding of the German Society for Sociology . In: Sociology , Volume 40, Issue 1, pp. 7-19.
  3. A fairly complete corpus of files from 1909 to 1933 is in the estate of Ferdinand Tönnies in the Schleswig-Holstein State Library in Kiel .
  4. Theresa Wobbe : Dr. Hanna Meuter (1889–1964): sociologist, publicist and contemporary. In: Landrat des Kreises Viersen (ed.): Heimatbuch des Kreis Viersen , 47th year, 1996, pp. 13-17 ( amended version undated [2003]).
  5. Website for the 1st Student Sociology Congress at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg ( Memento from August 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ^ Website for the 2nd Student Sociology Congress at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich
  7. ^ The German Society for Sociology (DGS). In: Retrieved February 27, 2017 .
  8. Sociologists no longer want: CHE ranking under attack. In: July 5, 2012, accessed May 17, 2018 .
  9. Study information from the professional association - In: August 20, 2014, accessed May 17, 2018 .
  10. A current list of the presidents and chairmen of the DGS can be found in: : German Society for Sociology (DGS) . Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  11. ^ Klingemann: At an extraordinary DGS council meeting on August 3, 1933 in Lübeck, regime critic Tönnies was persuaded to step down as president. The new president was Sombart, who, together with the first secretary Leopold von Wiese and assessor Hans Freyer, headed the DGS as a so-called "three-man committee". On September 18, 1933 in Berlin, this group decided to co-opt Tönnies, who subsequently protested against his politically motivated and unlawful disempowerment. In the “four-man committee”, Tönnies was named president, Sombart presumptive president; Carsten Klingemann: Sociology in the Third Reich . Nomos, Baden-Baden 1996, ISBN 3-7890-4298-6 . P. 17 ff. This presentation by Klingemann is in complete contrast to the presentation of the DGS in December 2015 on its DGS website ; accordingly, Tönnies no longer played a role at all. The difficulty of presenting the history of the DGS 1933–1945 at all, because of the either too subjective or deliberately lying representation of those involved, is clearly shown there
  12. Silke van Dyk and Alexandra Schauer: "... that official sociology has failed". On sociology under National Socialism , the history of its coming to terms and the role of the DGS. 2nd Edition. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 978-3-658-06636-9 , p. 49 ff.
  13. Topic sketch on, accessed on September 6, 2017
  14. ^ Website of the 37th Congress of the German Society for Sociology [1]
  15. ^ Negotiations of the Sixth German Sociological Congress from September 17 to 19, 1928 in Zurich , Tübingen: Mohr 1929
  16. Negotiations of the Second German Sociological Congress from 20.-22. October 1913 in Berlin , Tübingen: Mohr 1913