Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Soziales Kapital im Zeitalter materieller Interessen: Konzeptionelle Überlegungen zum Vertrauen in der Zivil- und Marktgesellschaft des langen 19. Jahrhunderts (1780-1914)


Author Info

  • Reichardt, Sven
Registered author(s):


    Der Aufsatz behandelt konzeptionelle Überlegungen und begriffliche Klärungen für eine Studie zum „ehrbaren Kaufmann“ im Wirtschaftsleben des 19. Jahrhunderts. Ausgehend von einem historisierten Verständnis der Zivilgesellschaft werden die normativen Präferenzen der historischen Akteure in die Definition der Zivilgesellschaft einbezogen. Die historische Semantik und die zugeordneten symbolischen Codes der Zeitgenossen werden somit ernstgenommen und konzeptionell aufgegriffen. Das Konzept der Zivilgesellschaft wurde während des 18. Jahrhundert von denselben Wissenschaftlern und Politikern entwickelt, die zugleich auch prominente Vertreter der Politischen Ökonomie waren. In diesem Zusammenhang betrachteten sie Freiheit, Individualität und Vertrauen als zentrale Kennzeichen der Zivilgesellschaft als auch des Marktes. Im 19. Jahrhundert dagegen bewerteten sowohl Marxisten als auch konservative Kritiker den Markt wesentlich kritischer. Der allumfassende Markt, so meinten sie, würde Vertrauen und soziale Beziehungen zerstören. Dementsprechend spielte das Konzept der Zivilgesellschaft nur noch eine untergeordnete Rolle. Der Aufsatz möchte diesen Bewertungswandel von Markt und Zivilgesellschaft mit den Instrumenten der Neuen Institutionenökonomie (Institutionen, Sozialkapital und Vertrauen) untersuchen. Die Geschichte des „ehrbaren Kaufmanns“ als Denkvorstellung und historische Praxis wird hierbei als eine Fallstudie vorgeschlagen, anhand derer sich der Bedeutungswandel exemplarisch nachvollziehen läßt. -- The paper discusses conceptual considerations and clarifies central theoretical terms for a study of the importance of the image of the “honourable merchant” during the industrial world of the 19th century. Using a historicized concept of civil society, the normative preferences of historical actors will be worked into the definition of civil society. By reflecting upon the historic semantics of civil society, the subjective dimension of civil society and the related ‘symbolic codes’ are revealed. The concept of ‘civil society’ was developed during the 18th century by the same scientists and politicians who were prominent representatives of the modern discipline of ‘political economy’. In this context, the values of freedom, individuality and trust played an outstanding role within civil society as well as in the economy. However in the 19th century, Marxist as well as romantic and conservative critics observed a fundamental restructuring of the society, along with individuals’ increased aspirations for economic personal benefit. An all-embracing ‘market’, they feared, would threaten existing trust and social relations. Consequently civil society was no longer seen as a central concept. This article proposes an analysis of the change in evaluation of the market and the civil society using the instruments and terms of the new institutional economy (institutions, social capital and trust). The history of the “honourable merchant” as an idea and historical practice is presented as a promising case study for the analysis of these changes.

    Download Info

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Working Group Civil Society: Historical and Comparative Perspectives with number SP IV 2003-503.

    as in new window
    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbhis:spiv2003503

    Contact details of provider:
    Postal: Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany
    Phone: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 0
    Fax: ++49 - 30 - 25491 - 684
    Web page:
    More information through EDIRC

    Related research



    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.



    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.


    Access and download statistics


    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbhis:spiv2003503. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (ZBW - German National Library of Economics).

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.