Tonnies' Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. Is There a Formula for That?

Tuesday, 12 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Mikolaj JASINSKI, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland
Marek BOZYKOWSKI, Uniwersytet Warszawski, Poland
The main objection against the formal models constructed in the social choice theory is not only the mathematization of social reality and focus on the individual rationality. They are also accused of not being established in the social theory. In our presentation we will focus on the work of a classic of sociology, Ferdinand Tönnies. We will refer to the newest analysis of social bonds basing on Tönnies’ theory of community (Gemeinschaft) and society (Gesellschaft) and Robert Aumann’s, Lloyd Shapley’s and Phillip Straffin’s oceanic game theory with partial homogeneity structure.

This conception allows presenting the idea of the 19th century thinker in a precise way using the language of the present-day mathematics and the formal theory created by the winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. We will show the potential of Tönnies' theory for investigation on mass decision-making.

Partial homogeneity structure introduced by Straffin can be understood as a structure of ideological closeness of members of a decision-making assembly. We will show that this structure can be treated as an operationalization of Tönnies’ idea of the natural will (Wesenwille) and arbitrary will (Kürwille). Thanks to the oceanic game models it can be used as a tool for the investigation of mass decision-making such as referenda and general elections.

In the presentation besides the theoretical background we will show reliable sociological interpretations and applications for social research of formal models based on the Tönnies’ conception.