Dieter Claessens

Dieter Claessens ( born August 2, 1921 in Berlin, † March 30, 1997 same place ) was a German sociologist and anthropologist.


After graduation Claessens began studying theater arts in Berlin. It was used in World War II on the front and was until 1949 in Soviet captivity. Then Claessens completed training as a social worker before taking up a study of subjects sociology, anthropology, psychology and anthropology at the Free University of Berlin. After the graduation in 1957 he worked there as an assistant. In 1960 he transferred as a department manager for Social Research at the University of Münster and habilitated at Helmut Schelsky in sociology. From 1962 to 1966 he was a professor at the University of Munster, then he moved to the University of Berlin, where he worked until his retirement. In parallel, he was from 1974 to 1978 Rector of Berlin University of Applied Sciences for Social Work and Social Psychology.

Claessens holds " Statusinkongruenz " for one of the keywords of sociology. The Statusinkongruenz his own family of origin predisposed him to his specifications for sociologists: his father came from a Rhenish family who had bought in East Prussia, a 3000 -acre estate; his mother came from a patrician family, the Fehling. He himself, however, grew up in a stigmatized environment in the Berlin Scharnhorststraße.

Work and impact

Claessens ' observer and discoverer temperament determined its publications. Importance came to this especially in their combination of anthropological, and sociological approaches to researching biosoziologischer onto- and phylogenesis of man. Although especially impressed by Norbert Elias ' process analyzes (which he cited as one of the first in Germany ), he was a thoroughly independent and innovative researcher, author and publisher. Already in his habilitation thesis family and value system he put ( in confrontation with Scheler, Plessner and Gehlen ) an influential theory of human development from newborn to toddler before: It follows that - for example - the person ( to the animal ) his instincts not simply lost ( Gehlen ), but aufzufindende " Instinktbauprinzipien " retained and ( anthropologically determined ) developed differentiated. Claessens ' study the concrete and the abstract had to match the Incarnation this side of the animal -human transition field to the topic. from a flood after 68ers polemics sticking his study capitalism as a cultural out. his clear and forthright style and dry sense of humor came to his readers, especially those of his introduction writings and his special studies (eg for rationality, for driving in traffic flow, to family, to the elite or the political violence) benefit. in academic teaching influenced his sense of justice and his high school educational administration Many. A number of them were respected scientists, without that he would have established a school. His overall strong, albeit silent effect on many researches (also the neighboring disciplines ) have led to the statement that he was the most important have been (Speech by Lars Clausen 1995, Sociology Congress Hall) under the following the Second World War, new onset German sociologist.

As an introduction to Dieter Claessens ' cultural anthropology reasoned action and system- sociological approach to his essays in the collection are anxiety, fear and social pressure ... ( 1966). Not only because here a broad intellectual interest profile and thematic research field is visible, but also because both the leading article (1966, pp. 88-101 ) for the production of compliant behavior in today's " pluralistic " societies of the ' western ' world as well as in contribution to driving in traffic, especially in the car department for Habilitation ( 1962) - the family in the modern society (1966, pp. 130-149 ) - it is clear that society as a cultural context and system of action by its members conduct requirements that are often subjectively Verhaltenszumutungen be perceived, must expect and demand for system preservation.


  • Status as a sociological concept development, Dortmund: Ruhfus 1965 ( his dissertation ), ² 1995
  • Social Science of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1965 ( with Arno Klönne and Armin Tschoepe; numerous editions )
  • Anxiety, fear and social pressure, and other essays, Dortmund: Ruhfus 1966
  • Instinct, psyche validity. Determinants of human behavior, [ first edition 1966 ], West German publisher, Opladen ² 1970
  • Nova Natura. Anthropological foundations of modern thought, 1970
  • Capitalism as a culture. Emergence and foundations of bourgeois society, 1973 ( with Karin Claessens )
  • Youth Encyclopedia, 1976 ( with Karin Claessens / Biruta Schaller )
  • Groups and group associations. Systematic introduction to the effects of socialization, 1977
  • Group processes. Analyzes on terrorism, 1982 ( with Wanda von Baeyer- Katte )
  • Capitalism and democratic culture, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, ​​1992
  • Enjoyment of sociological thinking, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 1993
  • Social history of sociological interested, Stuttgart: Teubner 1995
  • Concrete sociology. Understandable introduction to sociological thinking, 1997 ( with Daniel Tyradellis )

About Dieter Claessens

  • Biruta Schaller / Hermann puddle / Reinhart Wolff ( eds. ): Look under every stone. Strange culture and society. Dieter Claessens 60th birthday. Frankfurt / Basel 1981
  • Lars Clausen: Of course, in society [ Essay ], in: Sociological Review, 5 ( 1982), pp. 399-407