Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niall Bond

Universität Lumière Lyon 2

Curriculum Vitae

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niall Bond is a political scientist, Germanist, and historian. In 1991, he earned his doctorate from the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg with a thesis on Wissenschaft und Weltanschauung in Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft von Ferdinand Tönnies. Furthermore, he obtained a diplôme d’études approfondies (D.E.A.) in History from the Paul Valéry University of Montpellier 3. Niall Bond has extensive experience as a translator for German, English, and French and has worked as a conference interpreter at the Bank for International Settlements, the European Monetary Institute, and the European Central Bank, as well as for numerous political meetings and academic conferences. He also provided simultaneous translation and broadcasts for the European news channel Euronews. From 1994 to 1995, he was employed with the Permanent Representation of the Federal Republic of Germany to the United Nations and a delegate to the UN Conference on Human Rights. In 1995, Niall Bond was appointed Senior Lecturer at Lumière Lyon 2 University. In addition, he lectured in the United Kingdom and Germany. In 2010, he obtained his habilitation à diriger la recherche with a thesis on Comprendre le lien social dans l’Histoire des idées politiques, économiques et sociales de l’aire germanique at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris. One year later, he earned the qualification of university professor by the Conseil National des Universités (CNU). Since 2011, Niall Bond has been an assistant professor (maître de conferences) at Lumière Lyon 2 University. He has also been Chair of the Department of Applied Languages at the Faculty of Languages since 2017. Since 2019, he has been a German-speaking instructor for the European Minerve program, which invites lecturers from German universities to Lyon.

Niall Bond’s research has been funded by numerous foundations and institutions. His research focuses on community and its norms, as well as on the legal and social normativity lying behind concepts of community. His research is specialized on the writings of modern German sociologist Ferdinand Tönnies.

From March to August 2021, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Niall Bond was a Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”.

Research project

"Community and its Norms"

In the Käte Hamburger Center program on Law and Culture, I propose looking at sources of normativity in Ferdinand Tönnies’ seminal work in thought on community, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft, which was first published in 1887. Tönnies’ theory is not only sociological, but also political, economic, and juridical, emerging in multidisciplinary debates. Reception of his thought has been “subterranean” – not just in the social sciences, but controversially in politics, leaving Tönnies’ Weltbild difficult to pin down and earning him detractors and champions in a spectrum ranging from nationalist populists to liberal supranationalists. Having explored the sources of his theory of legitimacies of social orders in his reception of the political thought of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, and having traced his theory to debates of method and substance in the German historical school of Nationalökonomik in resisting classical economics in the English-speaking world and Austria, and also having recognized Tönnies’ immense but sceptical indebtedness towards Karl Marx, I shall focus here on Tönnies and law and culture.

The value neutrality debate, in which Tönnies positioned himself as a political ally of Max Weber, has been misunderstood as an attempt to exclude normativity from the human and social sciences. Weber sought discipline in grasping those norms which determine social action and enjoined academics to make a distinction of intellectual honesty between what was fact and what related to researchers’ subjective values. Tönnies’ principal legacy to the human and social sciences is a dichotomy which – however fraught it may be in amalgamations – is pertinent in understanding and analyzing norms of human behavior. It is doubtful that Weber viewed Tönnies as a consistent practitioner of value neutrality; their correspondence suggests that Weber considered Tönnies’ discussion of human nature to be based upon wishful thinking. But noncompliance with strict standards of value neutrality cannot exclude works from the corpus of the human and social sciences without leaving little of any interest. Tönnies explicitly invites us to explore the mindsets, prejudices, and norms of those who advance knowledge and understand, undermine, or reinforce those assumptions.

Weber’s questioning of Tönnies’ value neutrality may have meant setting not just Tönnies’ values in perspective, but equally his presentation of facts, notably his diagnosis of the present age, which I am exploring in English and German-language publications on Tönnies’ theory of development within his “philosophy” or “philosophies” of history. In this context, I am applying Clemens Albrecht’s 2019 observation that alternative explanations for generally recognized problems emerge episodically as neither demonstrably “false or true, obsolete or valid”. I engage with the idea that Tönnies’ “synthetic” mind could simultaneously advance paradigms that supported and opposed narratives of liberalism, recognizing the values of “freedom” and “happiness” and “equality” as ambivalent psychological realities.

In legal scholarship, I am examining recent works by Doris Schweitzer and Céline Jouin that explore Tönnies’ role in scholarly juridical debates. This involves on the one hand delving into Tönnies’ theoretical and ideological take on the writings of Otto von Gierke, the centenary whose birth is being commemorated this year with an anthology by the Nomos Verlag. This entails understanding what it means to embrace legal norms because they have emerged “organically” or can be attributed to stillwirkende Kräfte or forces which take effect silently, in the words of Savigny. On the other hand, it means exploring the forgotten work of Rudolf von Jhering, who, as a self-professed disciple of Jeremy Bentham, centered all his juridical thinking around the notion of the “purpose” in Der Zweck im Recht. In a chapter by the Narr Verlag, I explore why this approach was such an anathema to Tönnies, inciting him to focus his understanding of community (and law as culture in community) on the absence of purposive rationalism. Tönnies’ foregrounding of the purpose anticipated Simmel’s work on the “Zweckreihe” in Philosophie des Geldes and Max Weber’s sociological categories, which took on Tönnies’ dichotomy while clarifying that community can be applied to discrete social relationships or configurations, rather than entire historical epochs. The means-end dichotomy, which Jhering had foregrounded in legal theory, harks back to foundational moments of moral philosophy in Germany – the categorical imperative in Kant’s Grundlegung der Metaphysik der Sitten (Selbstzweckformel), a milestone in understanding benevolence, contrasting with the instinctive discussion of compassion as the basis of ethical action in Schopenhauer’s Morallehre. The former stood in marked contrast to contemporary reflections on self-interest in the Scottish Enlightenment. Utilitarianism, a variant of rationalism, dominated legal thinking in the English-speaking world according to Tönnies. He called Jhering’s quest for regularities in establishing legal norms a “renewal of natural law”. These philosophical foundations shall be discussed in an article relating the normativity of law to fundamental philosophical issues in a French-language periodical.

I shall draw from recent scholarship by two major contributors to scholarship, Dieter Haselbach and Arno Bammé, while availing myself of my exchanges with others at the Käte Hamburger Center in editing an English-language anthology on Community in a Global Perspective. I hope inter alia to deepen a discussion with Werner Gephart on the distinctive features of early German and French sociology and their normative groundings in approaches to facts and values, individualism and collectivism, prompted by Tönnies’ reflection that while understanding (Verstand) focuses upon division, reason or (Vernunft) seeks to grasp unity.

Publications (selected)

  • Niall Bond, Understanding Ferdinand Tönnies’ Community and Society: Volume 1: Political philosophy and sociological theory between enlightened liberal individualism and transfigured community. Lit Verlag, Berlin, New York, 2013, 427 pages.
  • Ferdinand Tönnies, Communauté et Société. Presses Universitaire de France, Paris, 2010, 276 pages. Dans l’ouvrage : Introduction. Traduction faite en collaboration avec Sylvie Mesure. Établissement du texte, notes critiques, introduction, commentaires.
  • Gemeinschaft: Karriere eines Begriffs zwischen Mitgefühl, Tribalismus und Voluntarismus, Akte der Tagung in Lyon im Mai 2018, herausgegeben von Niall Bond, Arno Bammé und Ingrid Reschenberger im Profil Verlag, Munich, 2019, 517 pages.
  • Niall Bond, Tönnies und Weber, Soziologisches Jahrbuch, Trento, II 1988, pp. 49-72.
  • Niall Bond, Noten zu Tönnies und Simmel, Hundert Jahre "Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft": Ferdinand Tönnies in der internationalen Diskussion, Lars Clausen; Carsten Schlüter (Hrsg.) Opladen: Leske und Budrich, 1991, pp. 337-356 (20 pages).
  • Niall Bond, Tönnies und Storm: eine Wahlverwandtschaft, Tönnies Forum, Hamburg, 1995, pp. 23-43.
  • Niall Bond, Le refus de la bürgerliche Gesellschaft et la genèse de la sociologie moderne allemande : l’exemple de Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft de Ferdinand Tönnies, De la société civile à la sociologie, éd. Kervegan et  Colliot Thélène, Presse de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 2000, pp. 93-120
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies und der Sozialstaat, Neuordnung der Sozialen Leistungen, Ferdinand Tönnies Ges., e.V., Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt, 2006, pp. 379-404.
  • Niall Bond, Nietzschean practical philosophy and Tönniesian sociology, Nietzsche y la hermenéutica, Francisco Arenas-Dolz, Luca Giancristofaro, Paolo Stellino (eds.), Nau Llibres, Valencia, 2007, pp.  499-510 (12 pages).
  • Niall Bond, Sexus und Tönnies, tr@jectoires. - La revue électronique des jeunes chercheurs du CIERA, Paris, 2007, pp. 48-59.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies und die Politik, Verfassung, Verfasstheit, Konstitution, (éd.: Carstens, Clausen, Escudier, Lachaussée) Tagungsband des 8. internationalen Tönnies-Kongresses, Ferdinand Tönnies Ges., e.V., Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt, 2008, pp. 151-165.
  • Niall Bond, Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft: the reception of a conceptual dichotomy, Contributions to the History of Concepts, vol. 5, 2009, Brill, Amsterdam, pp. 162-186.
  • Niall Bond, Ambivalenz der Moderne. Versprechen des Universalen und Schrecken des Globalen bei Ferdinand Tönnies, Tönnies-Forum 2/2009, Kiel, 2009, 18. Jahrgang, pp. 37-51.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies and western European positivism, Intellectual History Review, vol. 19, issue 3, November2009.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies and Friedrich Paulsen: Conciliatory Iconoclasts; The European Legacy, ELEG 15:1, 2010, Routledge, pp. 35-53.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies and Theodor Storm – Elective affinities, German Studies Review, 34. 01, 2011, pp. 143-160.
  • Niall Bond, Rational natural law and German sociology: Hobbes, Locke and Tönnies, British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 19(6): 2011, pp. 1175-1200.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies’ Romanticism, The European Legacy, ELEG, Routledge, 16 (4), 2011, pp. 487 - 504 (18 pages).
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies and academic “socialism”, History of the Human Sciences, vol. 24, no. 3, SAGE, juillet 2011, pp. 23-45.
  • Niall Bond, The grim probity of Arthur Schopenhauer and Ferdinand Tönnies. Schopenhauer Jahrbuch, Mainz, 2011, pp. 87-110.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies and Max Weber. Max Weber Studies, volume 12, issue 1, 2012, pp. 25-58.
  • Niall Bond, Citizenship in community and society: Ferdinand Tönnies’ Gemeinschaft-Gesellschaft dichotomy and political appurtenance. Politické Vedy, Journal for political sciences, modern history, international reasons, security studies, volume xiv, number 2, 2011, Matej Bel University Press, Slovaquie, 2011, pp. 27-36.
  • Niall Bond, Tönnies and Karl Marx: debts and distance, Journal of Classical Sociology, vol. 13, no. 1, Sage Publications, 2013, pp. 136-162.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies and Enlightenment: a friend or foe of reason? The European Legacy, ELEG, Towards New Paradigms, Routledge, Volume 18, issue 2, 2013, pp. 127-150.
  • Niall Bond, Ferdinand Tönnies und seine Wechselwirkungen mit der französischsprachigen Welt, Etudes germaniques, 2015/1, numéro 277, Klincksieck, 2015, pp. 113-132.
  • Niall Bond, The politics of Ferdinand Tönnies, The Anthem Companion to Ferdinand Tönnies, (éd. Adair-Toteff), Londres et New York, 2016, pp. 181-204 (24 pages).
  • Niall Bond, Trust and happiness in Ferdinand Tönnies’ ‘Community and Society’, Trust and Happiness in the History of European Political Thought, Somos et Kontler, éds., Leiden: Brill, 2017.
  • Niall Bond, „Zur Gemeinschaft der Musik“, Gemeinschaft: Karriere eines Begriffs zwischen Mitgefühl, Tribalismus und Voluntarismus. Ed. Niall Bond, Arno Bammé and Ingeborg Reschenberg. Munich: Profil Verlag 2019, pp. 311-324.
  • Niall Bond, “Ferdinand Tönnies, entry in the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers,2020.