Collective Consciousness

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Social cohesion Pages: 3 (819 words) Published: March 19, 2013
Collective consciousness
- a.k.a. collective conscience (French conscience collective) is the set of shared beliefs and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society - introduced by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his Division of Labour in Society in 1893 - The Division of Labour in Society (French: De La Division Du Travail Social) is the dissertation of French sociologist Émile Durkheim, written in 1893. It was influential in advancing sociological theories and thought, with ideas, which in turn were influenced by Auguste Comte. Durkheim described how social order was maintained in societies based on two very different forms of solidarity (mechanical and organic), and the transition from more "primitive" societies to advanced industrial societies. - In general, it does not refer to the specifically moral conscience, but to a shared understanding of social norms - "collective" simply in the sense that it is common to many individuals - In The Division of Labour, Durkheim argued that in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness - the contents of an individual's consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness. - Durkheim attempted to answer the question of what holds the society together - He assumes that humans are inherently egoistic, but norms, beliefs and values (collective consciousness) form the moral basis of the society, resulting in social integration - Collective consciousness is of key importance to the society, its requisite function without which the society cannot survive - Collective consciousness produces the society and holds it together, and at the same time individuals produce collective consciousness through their interactions - Through collective consciousness,...
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