Tönnies, Ferdinand (fĕrˈdēnänt tönˈyəs) [key], 1855–1936, German sociologist and political scientist. He is noted for his analysis of the distinction between the older form of spontaneous community based on mutual aid and trust and the modern kind of society in which self-interest predominates.
See his Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1877; tr. Community and Society, 1957); selected writings, ed. by W. J. Cahnman and R. Heberle (1971).