Hans Freyer (1887-1969)

The years in Germany can be justly named the years of the theoretician Ernst Manheim. Broadly educated and knowledgeable in many different areas, due to his studies of the natural and social sciences and philosophy, it was mainly because of the influence of his teacher, Hans Freyer (1887-1969), that Manheim ended up studying sociology. His dissertaion is still firmly based within the philosphical tradition, yet it also has to be seen as an extension to the sociology of knowledge. The analysis of concept formation as a communicative act discussed in his dissertation already points ahead to his best-known work: With his would-be professorial dissertation entiteld "Die Träger der öffentlichen Meinung. Studien zur Soziologie der Öffentlichkeit" [The bearers of public opinion. Studies in the Sociology of the Public.], Manheim became a precursor and co-founder of Public Mind Research and Communication Theory. A main characteristic of Manheim's sociological work during his Leipzig time is its methodological and epistemological orientation, as well as its philosophical and historical argumentation.