Sociology Index


Zeitgeist is the spirit of the time and age. In a large diverse society such as the USA, there is no single zeitgeist shared by everyone. Zeitgeist is the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation. Zeitgeist is the trend of thought or feeling in a period, especially as reflected in its literature and art. Zeitgeist is useful in understanding the emergence of industries, simultaneous invention, and even evaluating the relative value of innovations. Even architecture has always had the capacity to both mirror and be driven by the zeitgeist. The dominant school of thought of a certain period is also called Zeitgeist.

By “dominant zeitgeist” we do not refer to a universal experience or even necessarily the majority experience, but rather to a socially constructed view of “what's happening now” which reflects emerging social and economic trends and is portrayed by the mass media as representing the spirit of the times. The term zeitgeist is associated with George W.F. Hegel, but its coinage and popularization precedes Hegel, and is mostly due to Herder and Goethe. - Zeitgeist "spirit of the epoch" and Nationalgeist "spirit of a nation" in L. Meister, Eine kurze Geschichte der Menschenrechte (1789).

The Zeitgeist Movement was established in the United States in 2008 by Peter Joseph, critical of market capitalism, describing it as structurally corrupt and wasteful of resources. The Zeitgeist Movement provides a wealth of information detailing why a new global system is preferred and necessary. Zeitgeist refers to an invisible agent or force dominating the characteristics of a given epoch in world history. - The Politics of Time: Zeitgeist in Early Nineteenth-Century Political Discourse, Contributions to the History of Concepts.

In a study of the musical originality of 15,618 classical music themes, the importance of objective characteristics and zeitgeist for popularity was examined. Both the musical originality of a theme relative to its contemporary works (the zeitgeist), as well as its "absolute" originality influenced in similar magnitude the popularity of a theme. - Simonton, Dean K. (1980). "Thematic fame, melodic originality, and musical zeitgeist: A biographical and transhistorical content analysis".

Eisenman in his essay described today's world in terms of a double zeitgeist, where "two spirits of the times" co-exist as separate entities.

The first zeitgeist as a traditional one based on land, industry, and people. Examples include the newly formed nations, such as Serbia and Slovakia that have been formed based on land, language, culture and specific ethnic identities.

The second zeitgeist is based on information, communications, and technology, and include the emergence and increasing use of jet airplane travel, fax machines and the World Wide Web.

In the first zeitgeist, there exists a tendency to concentrate on the particular local conditions and place, in the second zeitgeist there exists a tendency to concentrate on the global and general. Jack Welch is widely credited with GE’s remarkable performance during the 1980s and 1990s.