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    Sociology's "One Law": Moral Statistics, Modernity, Religion, and German Nationalism in the Suicide Studies of Adolf Wagner and Alexander von Oettingen


    Lederer, David (2013) Sociology's "One Law": Moral Statistics, Modernity, Religion, and German Nationalism in the Suicide Studies of Adolf Wagner and Alexander von Oettingen. Journal of Social History, 46 (3). pp. 684-699. ISSN 1527-1897

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    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 col league, 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.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Theology; Social history; Morality; Demography; Sociology of religion; Religion; Protestantism; Germanicism; Suicide; Statistics; History; Social aspects; Sociology; Analysis; Modernism; Nationalism; Suicides & suicide attempts;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > History
    Item ID: 11488
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shsl
    Depositing User: David Lederer
    Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 15:36
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Social History
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Refereed: Yes
    URI:

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