Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Normal type

Normal type

Ask a question about 'Normal type'
Start a new discussion about 'Normal type'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
In sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, the typological
Typification is a process of creating standard social construction based on standard assumptions. Discrimination based on typification is called typism.-References:*...

 term normal type (in German: Normaltyp) was coined by the German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies
Ferdinand Tönnies
Ferdinand Tönnies was a German sociologist. He was a major contributor to sociological theory and field studies, best known for his distinction between two types of social groups, Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft...

 (1855–1936). It should not be confused with Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

's term ideal type
Ideal type
Ideal type , also known as pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber . For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract...

(in German Idealtyp).

Tönnies drew a sharp line between the realm of conceptuality (of sociological terms, including "normal types") and the realm of reality (of social action). The first must be treated axiomatically and in a deductive way (pure sociology), the second, empirically and in an inductive way (applied sociology). Following Tönnies, reality (the second realm) cannot be explained without concepts, which belong to the first realm, or else you will fail because you try to define x by something derived from x.

Tönnies' Normaltyp was hitting at the German sociologist Max Weber, whose "ideal type" (Idealtyp) was coined as an "accentuation" of certain elements of a real social process, which is under sociological (or historical) scrutiny. From Tönnies' point of view, an ideal type cannot explain reality, because it is derived from reality by accentuation (x' is accentuating x). The ideal type might help to understand reality.

Nevertheless, Weber's term survived in the sociological community, since his Idealtyp helped to understand social forces, and for him "sociology" had both to explain and to understand things – a daring combination, but successful in the eyes of many sociologists.