Emile Durkheim vs. Karl Marx

Topics: Sociology, Karl Marx, Émile Durkheim Pages: 5 (1703 words) Published: July 19, 2011

Emile Durkheim vs. Karl Marx

Durkheim vs. Marx


For so many years, authorities from each field have deliberated normative theories to explain what holds the society together. Almost each specialist, from structural functionalism, positivism and conflict theory perspective, had contributed their works trying to illustrate main problematic to our society. In one way, one of the Emile Durkheim’s famous work is “division of labor” which was primarily focusing on how the society could maintain their “integrity and coherence” in this modern society, when the power of boundary from religious and moral standards have no longer be effected. In addition, in order to illustrate how the deviant behaviours occurred, Durkheim also introduced the concept of Anomie into the sociological theory. Karl Marx, on the other hand, also sees the problematic of division of labor. However he claimed such problems are caused by alienation, which is a systematic result of Capitalism. Both of Durkheim and Marx are fundamental scholars to the sociology field, though it is our privilege to view their works afterwards, Durkheim’s theory is self-contradictory and lack of proves in somehow. Therefore, I found Marx’s conflict theory between different classes is much more consistent, comparing to Durkheim’s Anomy theory.

Analysis 1: Emile Durkheim.

Emile Durkheim is considered by most of people to be the father of Anomie theory. In this paper, I am going to briefly analysis his idea of “division of labor”, “religion” and “morality”. According to Ritzer, Durkheim reviewed that all troubles roots to division of labor. He stated the right or wrong of public with “mechanical solidarity” had been substitute by “organic solidarity”. It basically means that for nowadays society, each person was divided into a very specific place, and they play a stable and precise job in the society. Just like an organ play a role in human body (Ritzer, p.110-111). According to Ritzer, Durkheim sees the society, which we live is categorized by division of labor. For example, in order to have a cup of coffee at your table every morning needs amounts of efforts of workers from gathering, making, packing, delivering etc. And this is what called “organic solidarity”, comparing to the early stages of society in which each person presented similar roles- mechanical solidarity (Ritzer, p.107). According to Durkheim, he believed that societies had “collective conscience” that kept society in orders and individual disciplined. However, in contemporary society, the collective conscience had gradually been weakened. Therefore Durkheim developed his functionalist approach trying to build a new rule. Every collective group needs rules and boundaries to regulate individual inside. It is crucial in the modern society because they were part of the glue holding society together. I recall one Durkheim’s discussion of deviance in my Crim 101 class, while some criminologists treated crime as a pathological or psychological cause in the abnormal behaviours; Durkheim viewed crime as normal in terms of its existence. For incident, law enforcement would be useless if criminal behaviours were disappeared. Therefore, crimes exist for its purpose. In addition, according to Durkheim, anomie refers to norms and rules, which passed by generation to generation through institutions. Norms are the standards in society. Sometimes they are not right or wrong, but we as dominant x part of society created rules and major part of society followed (Ritzer, p.109-110).  For example, it once upon of the time was the norm for males to hold the door open for females.  It was considered a behaviour, which a well-educated man should have done in same way. It gives the public an ideal model that what kind of person we should be, and what should not.

Analysis 2: Karl Marx.
To me, Karl...
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