Durkheim: Emphasizing Solidarity in Social Institutions

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Social disintegration Pages: 4 (1373 words) Published: August 24, 2013
When discussing the self, Durkheim places heavy emphasis on solidarity as to what holds individuals together in social institutions. Roles and institutions are similar to bodily organs, as they are dependent on one another (McDonell, 2012). He refers to two types of solidarity, mechanical and organic, where each produces different individuals in society (Shortell, n.d.). Mechanical solidarity is concerned with undifferentiated social structure with little division of labour. These societies were generally rural, religious, authoritarian and had constraints on social facts and little social mobility. Organic solidarity is modernised and is characterised by refined division of labour, increased urbanisation, low religiosity, high degree of individuality and increased social mobility. Societies exhibiting mechanical solidarity tend to be unified as they are all engaged in similar tasks and responsibilities. These societies are held together by the specialisation of people and their need for the services of many others. Thus, Durkheim concluded that social order and individual autonomy are compatible (Ritzer, 1996: 79-80). As modern societies differ from earlier ones, then solidarity changes as a society becomes more complex (Shortell, n.d.). This complexity arises other problems which Durkheim discussed in the trends of suicide and anomie. When discussing the self, Durkheim places heavy emphasis on solidarity as to what holds individuals together in social institutions. Roles and institutions are similar to bodily organs, as they are dependent on one another (McDonell, 2012). He refers to two types of solidarity, mechanical and organic, where each produces different individuals in society (Shortell, n.d.). Mechanical solidarity is concerned with undifferentiated social structure with little division of labour. These societies were generally rural, religious, authoritarian and had constraints on social facts and little social mobility. Organic solidarity is...
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