Social science is a category of academic disciplines, concerned with society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social science as a whole has many branches. These social sciences include, but are not limited to: anthropology, archaeology, communication studies, economics, history, musicology, human geography, jurisprudence, linguistics, political science, psychology, public health, and sociology. The term is also sometimes used to refer specifically to the field of sociology, the original "science of society", established in the 19th century. For a more detailed list of sub-disciplines within the social sciences see: Outline of social science.
Positivist social scientists use methods resembling those of the natural sciences as tools for understanding society, and so define science in its stricter modern sense. Interpretivist social scientists, by contrast, may use social critique or symbolic interpretation rather than constructing empirically falsifiable theories, and thus treat science in its broader sense. In modern academic practice, researchers are often eclectic, using multiple methodologies (for instance, by combining both quantitative and qualitative research). The term "social research" has also acquired a degree of autonomy as practitioners from various disciplines share in its aims and methods.
Ferdinand Tönnies (July 26, 1855, near Oldenswort (Eiderstedt, North Frisia) - April 9, 1936, Kiel, Germany) was a German sociologist. He was a major contributor to sociological theory and field studies, as well as bringing Thomas Hobbes back on the agenda, by publishing his manuscripts. He is best known for his distinction between two types of social groups — Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft. He was, however, a prolific writer and also co-founder of the German Society for Sociology (being its president 1909-1933, when he was ousted by the Nazis). In English his name is often spelt without the umlaut as Ferdinand Toennies, as this spelling can also be accepted in German.
Tönnies, the first German sociologist proper, published over 900 works and contributed to many areas of sociology and philosophy. Many of his writings on sociological theories — including Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887) — furthered pure sociology. He coined the term Voluntarism. Tönnies also contributed to the study of social change, particularly on public opinion, customs and technology, crime, and suicide. He also had a vivid interest in methodology, especially statistics, and sociological research, inventing his own technique of statistical association.