Abstract

From the onset, moral statistics were influenced by religious discourse. During the nineteenth century, Adolf Wagner discovered the “One Law” of sociology: Protestants always kill themselves more often than Catholics. Deployed by his colleague, the Baltic nationalist theologian Alexander von Oettingen, it became a moral-statistical plank in the modernity thesis and supported a Prussian master narrative of history. Accordingly, it justified the unification of Germany according to the small German model of a Kulturnation excluding Catholic Austria. This interpretation, in turn, influenced subsequent generations of German sociologists, who described modernity in idealist and spiritual terms. In this, they differed from the more mechanistic and materialist theories of French sociologists, in particular Émile Durkheim.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-1897
Print ISSN
0022-4529
Pages
pp. 684-699
Launched on MUSE
2013-03-12
Open Access
No
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