Division of Labor

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Karl Marx Pages: 4 (1413 words) Published: October 20, 2014
Division of Labor
Introduction:
The phrase “division of labor” has many different definitions that can be used in different contexts. The Encyclopedia of Sociology helps explore the many different ways division of labor can be defined, and recognizes that all major sociologists considered this topic to be fundamental in understanding modern society, and how it has came to be. (Borgatta Montgomery and Rhonda 2000). Some of these classical sociological thinkers expressed their own ideas of division of labor, such as Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Emile Durkheim. The ideas of these three great thinkers had some similarities, but also differed in many ways. Adam Smith felt division of labor was necessary and vital for economic prosperity, while Karl Marx felt it was the worst thing that had occurred in the world. Both of these thinkers made strong arguments for their ideas, and express great reason in them, but Emile Durkheim’s idea of division of labor is the most accurate out of all them, because he clearly shows in his writings it can be both positive and negative. In this essay I will compare and contrast the different ideas of these three sociological thinkers and describe why I think the most accurate idea was that of Emile Durkheim. Adam Smith’s Perspective:

Most sociological thinkers when speaking of a certain topic, express their thoughts as to clearly agree or disagree with the topic, whatever the case may be. In the case of division of labor, Adam Smith demonstrates to have clear agreement with it in his writings. His view of division of labor is described purely in the context of the economy. He described the process of dividing labor to be very effective because people began to work faster and/or more efficiently. Smith believed it was more efficient for an assembly line of workers to complete tasks in greater numbers, as opposed to one person alone having to complete the tasks and losing valuable downtime in the process. Although Smith recognized the...

References: Borgatta, E., & Montgomery R. V. (2000). Encyclopedia of Sociology. New York: Macmillan Reference USA.
Durkheim, Emile. 1893. “The Division of Labor in Society.” Pp. 220-242 in Classical Sociological Theory. Ed. 3 edited by C. Calhoun, J. Gerteis, J. Moody, S. Pfaff, and I.Virk. Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Hill, L. (2007). “Adam Smith, Adam Ferguson and Karl Marx on The Division of Labour.” Journal of Classical Sociology, 7(3), 339-366.
Marx, Karl. 1845. “The German Ideology.” Pp. 142-145 in Classical Sociological Theory. Ed. 3 edited by C. Calhoun, J. Gerteis, J. Moody, S. Pfaff, and I.Virk. Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Marx, Karl. 1847. “Wage-Labour Capital.” Pp.182-189 in Classical Sociological Theory. Ed. 3 edited by C. Calhoun, J. Gerteis, J. Moody, S. Pfaff, and I.Virk. Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Smith, Adam. 1776. “The Wealth of Nations.” Pp.55-66 in Classical Sociological Theory. Ed. 3 edited by C. Calhoun, J. Gerteis, J. Moody, S. Pfaff, and I.Virk. Massachusetts: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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