What Aspects of Modernity Most Worried Durkheim?

Topics: Sociology, Anthropology, Max Weber Pages: 5 (1696 words) Published: January 7, 2013
Formative assessment
Student No. 1233186
What aspects of Modernity most worried Durkheim?

Modernity can be defined as a pivotal point in the development of contemporary society, arguably a concept still relevant and effectual to this day. Modernity is, however, an entirely conceptual entity. Within our context as social scientists, perhaps it has a more specific meaning, though modernity had a diverse effect upon very many of the components of the world we live in. Admittedly the world we live in is the subject of our study to a certain degree, though I feel it is important to emphasize that modernity was not only an important principle of thought for those of the socially concerned mindset - which began to appear throughout its fruition - but also the artist, or the philosopher, the worker, the owner, the ruled and the ruled. Another discipline which was both fundamentally effected, and fundamentally catalytic, was Natural Science. A number of different approaches towards science began to emerge. With understandings evolving regarding the universe in physical terms, questions regarding the universe from many different angles became more frequent, less constrained by collective consensus, and were directed towards the formation of a new perspective. Towards a desire for single, absolute truth, developing quickly to something like avarice in many persons. This notion of singularity is important, because modernity did indeed penetrate the minds of the masses, according to general consensus, and it created the Individual. Obviously it is nonsensical to say that the individual world suddenly burst into existence somewhere in the 1600's, though it fundamentally affected the way the individual persons within society operated, and amongst the people to notice the importance of this was Emile Durkheim. Durkheim lived from 1858 – 1917, and was a key actor both in the foundation of sociology, social science and, as is contextually synonymous, in the development of thought surrounding the 'great transformation' (Polanyi, 1944), which had occurred in society as a precursor to phenomena that was possibly now moving with even more acceleration than that which was noted by Hegel (1807) in the social factors that we know to have been present, and must have been present, as catalysts towards his concept of 'Aufhebung' . Aufhebung is a concept regarding the importance of thesis and antithesis in both the preservation, transformation and improvement of both the composing concepts of the indicated reaction, and the subsequent synthetic conceptualization. Whilst, to my knowledge, this concept is not directly mentioned in any of Durkheim's works, it clearly had at least the effect of a basic perspective. My reasoning for this is that he notes in his works a particular system of regulation, which is a necessity and an inevitability in any social circumstance when considered in relevance to his other exhibitions of perspective regarding social adhesion, the process itself verified by Weberian stratification theory. As Durkheim (18931933 pp.405) professes:

“The only power which can serve to moderate individual egotism is the power of the group; the only power which can serve to moderate the egotism of the groups is that of some other group that embraces them.”

In saying this Durkheim reveals a number of things, even if viewed independently of its source. He reveals that Individual Egotism is something that is, and therefore is required to be, moderated by society. He reveals that he believes that the group, the subsequent synthetic entity of social interreaction, is to the benefit of the individual. In envisaging a system of larger and larger groups, he acknowledges that groups components are smaller, denser groups. Therefore - when viewed as an entire model - the individual creates society, though society is also a separable entity, and moderates the individual. Needless to say, society cannot exist without social beings. Though...
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