Emile Durkheim: the Division of Labor in Society

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  • Topic: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, The Division of Labour in Society
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  • Published : February 6, 2009
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Malinda Lawrence Reading Notes Sociology 616 February 2, 2009 Emile Durkheim: The Division of Labor in Society In The Division of Labor in Society,Durkheim explains the function, reason, regulation and development of the division of labor. He does this by describing two different types of solidarity; mechanical and organic, and how mechanical societies can evolve into organic ones. He uses explanation of crime and the punishments that come from it to explain these solidarities. His claim is that the division of labor is the main source of social solidarity. Durkheim begins with the hypothesis that the division of labor serves to create social solidarity, not to produce civilization. He claims that the division of labor can create a feeling of solidarity between two or more people and that it is a necessary condition for a society’s intellectual and material development. There are two main types of social solidarity, mechanical and organic. Mechanical solidarity is a collective type which links individuals directly to society and unites members of that society without compromising their individuality. Members of a mechanical society are able to maintain their independence of one another. In a mechanical society members are given a feeling of likeness that is rooted in the fact that they take part in similar activities and hold similar beliefs. The collective conscience is formed by the moral conciseness of the society and individual consciousness depends upon the collective consciousness. Mechanical solidarity is then perpetuated through the use of repressive laws which work to repress the crime and the criminal through a punishment that collective consciousness reinforces. This solidarity is static and unchanging; with the only exception being the transition a society may enter from mechanical to organic society. Organic solidarity, unlike mechanical, assumes that people are different from one another and assigns each individual different tasks that they...
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