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Emancipation comes from the Latin word emancipatio , which means "release of the son from paternal power " or " release of a slave ".

In the 17th / 18th In the 19th century there was a shift in meaning : the act of granting independence became an action of social and, in particular, political self- liberation (see also maturity (philosophy) ). In addition to the outer emancipation comes the inner emancipation: as liberation from one's own immaturity and the shackles of tradition, social norms and a given worldview. The aim of emancipatory endeavors is a gain in freedom or equality (in the sense of equality or equality ), mostly through criticism of discrimination or hegemonic z. B.paternalistic structures, or the reduction of z. B. emotional, economic dependence, for example on parents. Nowadays the term is often synonymous with women's emancipation .

Mostly, emancipation describes the liberation of groups that are discriminated against because of their ethnicity , gender , class or similar and excluded from political decision-making processes (e.g. emancipation of Jews - see below - or emancipation of Catholics ). For this broader term of political emancipation, the term empowerment (literally " empowerment ") has also become established in US parlance .

Word origin

The Latin word emancipatio is a combination of three words: e: from , manus: hand , capere: to take . The starting point is the word mancipatio : by laying on the “hand”, in the presence of five witnesses, a thing was “taken into possession”. In the form mancipium , the word then became the legal term technicus for a formal purchase and acquisition of property and then also referred to the acquired thing itself, especially the (purchase) slave acquired by creating a hand. The e-mancipatio was then the release "from" one's own property and, in a strictly legal sense, meant the release of a son from paternal power to independence or the release of a slave from the property of his master. But it could also mean the release of a child from one's own power to that of another.

Emancipation in History

In ancient Rome , emancipation was a unique granting of a right by the superior to the inferior. (see also Women in Ancient Rome ).

The Middle Ages knew the emancipatio canonica , for example when children of heretics were removed from their legal guardianship and given to monastery schools .

The reflexive use of emancipation began in the early modern period : individuals were able to evade patronizing structures, often exposing themselves to suspicion.

In the age of the Enlightenment , a general social emancipation is sought, initially in the legal area.

The demand for emancipation as a demand for the liberation of others (e.g. the slaves ) and self-liberation culminated in Karl Marx's sentence: “We must emancipate ourselves before we can emancipate others” , whereby he describes emancipation in every respect as a class question and not a question of nature - for example in the case of equal rights for women. Emancipation is fulfilled through the conscious perception and creation of freedom rights.

From the Christian side, the “new doctrine of the emancipation of women” in the 19th century, which in Christianity “emancipates women to equality with men”, was viewed critically.

Jewish emancipation

A pioneer of Jewish emancipation was the philosopher Moses Mendelssohn from Dessau in Anhalt. Far removed from equal participation in social power, minorities in Prussia lived under less repression than elsewhere. Because of his religion, Mendelssohn did not become a member of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences . Mendelssohn translated the Old Testament into German; Gotthold Ephraim Lessing erected a monument to him - the "German Socrates " - in the Nathan . Inspired by Mendelssohn, the Prussian lawyer Christian Wilhelm von Dohm wrote the work About the civil improvement of the Jews (1781).

Emancipation of women

In new western history, roughly three emancipation movements can be distinguished.

  1. The first attempt at emancipation of women happened in the 12./13. Century, also known as the Beguines Movement. It is characteristic that the striving for emancipation took place within the ecclesiastical framework and did not question it. After initial successes, this movement must ultimately be viewed as a failure.
  2. The second emancipation movement arose with the French Revolution . The ideals of the revolution, freedom and equality , initially only applied to men, but women's rights activist Olympe de Gouges called for them to apply to both sexes. This movement was no longer oriented towards the Church like the Beguines. In the English-speaking world, the (often civil) women's rights activists became known as suffragettes at the beginning of the 20th century . The most important goals of the first women's movement were to acquire civil rights ( right to vote , right to education , right to private property and gainful employment ). In Germany, the women's movement was closely linked to the labor movement, which developed into a champion of women's rights. The end of this movement can be dated Europe-wide at the beginning of the Second World War . What was remarkable about this so-called first wave of the women's movement was that a society on a new moral basis was already being called for.
  3. The third wave of emancipation - the so-called second wave of the women's movement - originated in France in the mid-1940s and was favored by the effects of the Second World War . However, it was only able to become a mass movement through the publication of books such as Betty Friedans : The Feminine Mystique (1963) and subsequently the 68 movement , which was criticized by representatives of the women's movement because it did not pay enough attention to the specific concerns of women. This time the traditional distribution of roles between men and women and the patriarchy as a whole were massively questioned. The catalog of the thematized women's rights has been greatly expanded and made a subject of feminism . The pent-up demand for equality for women gradually gained state recognition. The UN declared 1975 the International Year of Women .

Individual emancipation

Many educational and psychological theories assume that the goal of any development of the individual is emancipation e.g. B. from the parental home, from parental norms and goals. Even if adult children still have a large number of parental values, emancipation can be viewed as successful as soon as the individual has developed his own dynamic of life design and life planning, which is no longer dependent on the parents in terms of motivation and planning (including institutional educators and educators , Teachers , etc.) calls and supports.

Statistically speaking, young men in our cultural area stay longer with their parents, while young women become independent sooner and emancipate themselves from their parents . People who have not emancipated themselves even in old age do not feel responsible for their own actions, often blame their parents for failed plans and are factually, psychologically or materially dependent on others.

Successful emancipation results from various conditions - e.g. B. from the

  • Ability to recognize (realistically assess) one's social functions and positions, to define and shape them according to one's own needs and, if necessary, to change them fundamentally
  • Ability to build and maintain social relationships as well as to profit from confident contact with social partners
  • Ability to develop an independent, individual perspective on life that gives this life a meaning or justification
  • Ability to participate in and benefit from the cultural life of a social community and to help shape the cultural life of the community
  • Ability to satisfy and further differentiate one's needs and thus secure one's own existence.

See also


  • Lilian Fried, Susanna Roux (Ed.): Pedagogy in early childhood. Beltz, Weinheim 2006, ISBN 3-407-56283-7 .
  • Jan Hoff : Liberation today. Thinking about emancipation theory and historical background. VSA, Hamburg 2016, ISBN 978-3-89965-709-8 .
  • Friedrich Koch : Sexuality, Education and Society. From gender instruction to emancipatory sex education. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-631-36525-X .
  • Friedrich Koch: Sexuality and Education. Between taboo, repressive desublimation and emancipation. In: 1968 and the new restoration. (= Yearbook for Pedagogy 2008). Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-59064-5 , p. 117 ff.
  • Cornelia Koppetsch : The Illusion of Emancipation. On the effectiveness of latent gender norms in a milieu comparison. University Press Konstanz 1999, ISBN 3-87940-658-8 .
  • Ernesto Laclau : Emancipation and Difference. Turia and Kant, Vienna 2002, ISBN 3-85132-244-4 .
  • Rolf Oerter, Leo Montada (Ed.): Developmental Psychology. Beltz, Weinheim 2003, ISBN 3-621-27479-0 , therein
    • Rolf Oerter : Childhood. Pp. 209-257.
    • Rolf Oerter, Eva Dreher: Adolescence. Pp. 258-318.
    • Günter Krampen, Barbara Reichle: Early adulthood. Pp. 319-349.
  • Barbara Sichtermann : A Brief History of Women's Emancipation. Publishing house Jacoby & Stuart, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-941087-38-5 .
  • Christian Tarnai: educational goals . In: Detlef H. Rost: Concise Dictionary of Pedagogical Psychology. Beltz, Weinheim 2001, ISBN 3-621-27491-X .
  • Michael Zeuske : Black Caribbean. Slaves, slave culture and emancipation. Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-85869-272-7 .
  • Paul Heyse : women's emancipation . In: The Gazebo . Issue 46, 1866, pp. 720–723 ( full text [ Wikisource ] poem).

Web links

Wiktionary: Emancipation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Essentially based on: Karl-Ernst Georges: Comprehensive Latin-German Concise Dictionary. 8th edition. Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hannover 2010, ISBN 978-3-7752-5283-6 .
  2. ^ Karl Marx: On the Jewish Question (1843) projekt-gutenberg.org
  3. ^ H. Martensen : Emancipation of the woman. In: The social ethics. Besser, Gotha 1878 (= H. Martensen: Die Christliche Ethik. Special Part. Second Division), pp. 55-69.
  4. ^ Christian Conrad Wilhelm von Dohm: About the bourgeois improvement of the Jews (1781) ub.uni-bielefeld.de
  5. Helga Unger: The Beguines. A story of the awakening and oppression of women. Herder Verlag, Freiburg im Breisgau / Basel / Vienna 2005, ISBN 3-451-05643-7 .
  6. Mary Wollstonecraft : Defense of Women's Rights. Verlag für die Frau, Leipzig 1989, ISBN 3-7304-0212-9 .
  7. Melanie Phillips: The Ascent of Woman - A History of the Suffragette Movement and the ideas behind it. Time Warner Book Group, London 2003, ISBN 0-349-11660-1 .
  8. Barbara Holland-Cunz : The old new women's question. Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-518-12335-1 , fu-berlin.de ( Memento from September 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ; PDF)
  9. ^ Rolf Oerter, Leo Montada, 2003
  10. Rolf Oerter, 2003; Rolf Oerter, Eva Dreher, 2003; Günter Krampen, Barbara Reichle, 2003
  11. tagesschau.de: Study on young adults: A quarter of a century with mom and dad. Retrieved August 6, 2020 .
  12. Christian Tarnai, 2001