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Manners are forms of social interaction .

A society evaluates certain forms of behavior (manners) negatively (e.g. as coarse, raw, rude, impolite, ill-mannered, cowardly) or positively (e.g. as well-educated, polite, cultivated , noble, brave) and differentiates between “good "And" bad "manners. In the German language, the word “manners” is often used without the addition “gut” and nevertheless means “good manners”.

Manners also function as identity-creating signs of belonging to a society or a social group within a society .

Manners and etiquette

Even specialist authors often use the words "manners" and " etiquette " with the same meaning . In a narrow sense, however, it means different things:

  • The expression manners (behavior, manners) describes concrete behavioral habits: the way in which a person actually handles certain social situations, e.g. B. whether and with what words, what gestures etc. he greets another person when he meets her.
  • The term etiquette contrast, refers to a ( written or unwritten) rule canon , are set out in the processes of social interaction, such. B. the rules as to whether and with which words and which gestures a person has to greet another.

The expression manners comes from the French la manière , manner '(cf. manner ' individuality, handwriting 'in art and manner ' ornament 'in music).


One of the first "mediators" of education and manners was Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466–1536), who provided a guide with his "education books" for princes ( Fürstenspiegel ) and his etiquette ( de civilitate ). The work On Dealing with People by Freiherr Knigge (1752–1796), first published in 1788, was also sociologically oriented .

Contrary to today's popular opinion, the book is by no means a behavioral guide with advice on questions of the kind: "Which fork can be used with which knife for which food?" Only after Knigges death was his book repeatedly rewritten by editors and so on more and more of a decency primer , a modern etiquette .

During the Wilhelminian era , the counselor Der Gute Ton von Freiherrn Otto von Berger appeared.

Social values ​​and social virtues

Nicolai Hartmann speaks of "values ​​of external contact" and "virtues of contact". Even if the “social values” only constitute a “marginal area of ​​the ethical table of values”, they would have an ethical, moral, relative value: A ruling custom would be needed without which “man would sink into the formless, cultureless” and without the “development of the inner ethos ”.

“No matter how random or conventional the existing forms of intercourse may be, how ridiculous they may appear to those who are placed in them from foreign cultures, they are a profound necessity of life, and whoever hurts them sins against their fellow human beings just as much as the unjust and the loveless . "

- Nicolai Hartmann
Title page to Franz Ebhardt's The Good Sound

See also


Web links

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

References and comments

  1. The manners that are regarded as “good” in a specific environment are not always actually practiced there - there is often a gap between claim and reality.
  2. ↑ For example Helen Ann Augst: The big book of manners: The standard work of the "good tone" for all areas of professional and private life , Baden-Baden: Humboldt-Taschenbuch, 2004, ISBN 3-89994-891-2
  3. a b Maud Beetz: The etiquette for the banking business: Improving image values ​​and increasing business success with social skills , Wiesbaden: Gabler, 2009, ISBN 978-3-8349-0797-4 , p. 18 ( restricted online version in the Google Book Search - USA ); Annette Zwahr (editor): Meyer's large pocket dictionary. Bibliographisches Institut, Mannheim 2004, ISBN 3-411-10709-X (keyword "etiquette"); Ursula Kraif (editor): Duden - The foreign dictionary. 9th edition. Dudenverlag, Mannheim 2007, ISBN 978-3-411-04059-9 (keyword "label")
  4. Otto von Berger: The good tone, book of decency and good morals , new edition of the original edition (Vienna 1886): Reprint Primus Verlag, Leipzig July 28, 2009.
  5. ^ Nicolai Hartmann: Ethics. - 3. Edition. - Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1949, p. 479
  6. ^ A b Nicolai Hartmann: Ethics. - 3. Edition. - Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1949, p. 483
  7. ^ Nicolai Hartmann: Ethics. - 3. Edition. - Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1949, p. 482
  8. Nicolai Hartmann, ibid.
  9. ^ Nicolai Hartmann: Ethics. 3. Edition. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1949, p. 480