of these articles is concerned with people in the ethnical, national and sociological sense. further see people (term clarifying).

The expression people (over medium high German people from old high German folc, this from general Germanic fulka, „[war] the people “, for the first time occupies in 8.Century after Christ [1]) calls linguistically adding word a large number (badly more countable) of individuals, who are connected by common characteristics. The German term “people” is not identical to latin term” nation “in antique Rome.

The oldestMeaning “many homogeneous people” is still in words present as foot people “. Without further regulation “people” stood then for a settlement people, in more recent time rather for culture people, master people or state people used.

Table of contents

settlement, national and culture people

a settlement people there often is in an area living together large group of humans, in genuine local community and/or. Relationship in Trunks and/or. Kinships arranged, which trained common cultural ways and relational networks by living together, also gladly of common (fictitious) ancestors deduce themselves. These thing in common will transfer to a designed culture people or national people. The Roman people is so originaldesignating, increasingly abstracting humans living in Rome however the Roman citizens and emigrated kinships with traditions of the Roman culture.

The term of the national people became end 19. and at the beginning of 20. Century strongly superelevated uses. It seized at the same time national, culturaland joint (particularly verwandschaftliche) self-demarcation outward together. This view was untenable dekonstruiert later than and postmodernism thinking directions referring during such a concept formation on the problematic subsequent effects in the society.

In the today's time one speaks technically more exactly of nation (nationally), Ethnie (cultural) and trunk (joint), those the proportionate characterisations of state people (national), culture people (cultural) and master people (joint) designate. The simple term “people” remains so as indistinct and transferable auxiliary word, which can occur in adding, about to bee colony, God people or Road people, where it expresses the meaning of an indefinitely high number, which stand with one another in relationship.

According to current studies exist today approx. 5200 different peoples on earth. According to the right of self-determination of the UN, each group of peoples may, itself by ownLanguage, culture or traditions of other groups of peoples differentiate, its own state create. This became however an organization like the UN large problems prepares.


the situative use as attributing characteristic for settlement people in determining form (that oneHumans settling in coming out) becomes indistinct in the further classifying use. Thus mixtures of old-established and zugewanderten groups of peoples from migration movements in a settlement area , which mix partially only heavily, result. On the other hand can beyond relational exchange inBorder areas also a cultural exchange take place, which transfers ethnical characteristics.

The actually attributing use changed increasingly into to attribute designation. Here one expresses the own affiliation to a group of humans, due to (often only assumed) a common origin andHistory (myth), and refers to common traditions and customs. This is frequently connected with regulated marriage among themselves (Endogamie), which a genuine relational meaning results in, up to the myth of a common ancestor (, Abraham brightens).

A special form of the writing up and self writing up results in the case of nomadischen (“curving”) peoples, whose members do not mix with established peoples, however among themselves in relational and cultural contact remains. (See. in addition the myth of Kain and Abel.)
in Europethe groups of peoples of the gypsies were held for a long time from the permanence, them have then a sample for the so-called. “Driving people “at all delivered. Also where they were made obligatorily (camper camps) or voluntarily (often in settlements of building of simple) established, they holdto today still noticeable distance from others.
Nothing shanks are pretty often stateless thereby.

From the difference of common permanence and cultural identity many people states result and/or. multi-cultural states. Where the cultural and relational borders are not too sharp,develop also in the assignment to groups of peoples flowing demarcations of joining as a race. By the continuous exchange processes of genetic, linguistic, religious and cultural kind and changes each people in the course of the time develops very strongly - from this natural Variability e.g. gives it out. only little identity between Teutons and Germans.

meanings and use contexts

the word people (see. althochdt. folc “) humans, who are connected by a characteristic, designated many” (z. B. “Foot people “,”driving people “), early in addition, (11. Century) a large grouping of humans, connected by common rule form, language, culture and history.

  • The political science treats the topicusually under nation. In contrast to the “people” a nation unites humans due to political actions. National states, which understand themselves primarily as state of a people, thus homogeneous national states are, deliver their internal disputes more rarely than ethnical conflictsas inhomogenous many people states, example: “Russia “. To the “democracy” altogether see the” democracy “.
  • Legally the members of a people can be citizens of different states (S. Nationality), z. B. the Danes, who have the Danish, German or grönländische nationalitylike. The state-legal term state people refers against it only to the people in (common) the state. (Example: Turks with Turkish nationality and Turks with other nationalities belong to different state peoples, although the latters may themselves count further to the Turkish people.) the state peopleis meant in each case, if - as in Germany - with each right judgement as initial formula “in the name of the people!“one speaks.
  • In politics and media the term is frequently replaced, depending upon context, by the terms “population“,” basis “, “ethnical minority”,” mass “, etc.
  • Post office-modern. In newer (poststrukturalistischer) literature (about Hardt/Negri: ) One finds the reference to Empire on it that “people” designated regularly only one term world, those the communityof humans going by to change it should that they - by whatever processes always - are adapted together and outward is defined. As actual neutral term for the accumulation at humans and their characteristics, on the fundamental idea that is suggested“Quantity “(in the English. Original: To decrease/go backMultitude “).


  1. intelligent Etymologi dictionary of the German language, 24. Edition


  • Alfred pushing ore, Siegfried hunter (Hg.) (2004). Myth identity. Fiction with consequences. ISBN 3-89771-735-2(overview internationally put on of nation and identity formation)
  • no Nghi hectar: Ethnizität and migration Reloaded. Cultural identity, difference and Hybridität in the post office-colonial discourse. Over work. and erw. New edition, [Westfäli Dampfboot/WVB] 1999/2004, ISBN 3-86573-009-4
  • Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2000), Empire. The newWorld order, Frankfurt/Main/New York 2002, ISBN 3-593-36994-X (postmodernism opinions to the term and alternative proposals)

see also

Wikiquote: People - quotations
Wiktionary: People - word origin, synonyms and translations

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