Emile Durkheim’s Notion of Social Solidarity

Topics: Sociology, Max Weber, Karl Marx, Structural functionalism, Marxism, Psychology / Pages: 13 (3007 words) / Published: Sep 3rd, 2013
Emile Durkheim’s Notion of Social Solidarity

At the heart of Durkheim’s book of Division of Labor in Society is social solidarity. More than an increase in productive output, social solidarity is deemed to be the most notable effect of the division of labor. Over time, as roles become more distinct and appropriated according to one’s objective, the individuals in a society become more linked to one another. In fact, he tries to make sense of the division of labor as a phenomenon that contributes to social order. Throughout the book, he stresses on how the division of labor creates interdependence between and among individuals—which in turn fosters solidarity.
Defining Social Solidarity Despite this, Durkheim did not give a direct and exact definition of social solidarity. He first labelled it as a complete moral phenomenon-- that is its occurrence conforms to the rules of right conduct (Random House Dictionary. Moral. (14, October 2010) Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/moral). As in everything moral, it follows a set of guidelines, which indicate the beliefs and actions common to a group of people. Conformity to these guidelines is necessary to promote order and acceptance for some groups and individuals. Durkheim moreover, pointed out its several aspects. First, where does social solidarity come from? Durkheim (1964) said it comes from a number of consciences common between members of a society (p. 109). Social solidarity is then cultivated when there is a number of individuals in a society that share the same beliefs. The similarities in what they believe in and how they live this out solidify them. Second, what does social solidarity do? He said that it binds and links individual members of a society to each other, fostering more interaction that results to definite relations (p. 129). It is stressed that interface should be a regular occurrence for individuals to get to know each other, talk to one another and share



References: Book Durkheim, Emile (1965) Emirbayer, Mustafa (2003). Emile Durkheim. Sociologist of Modernity. United Kingdom: Blackwell Publishing 1. Retrieved September 26, 2010 on the World Wide Web: http://www.jstor.org Rawls, Anne (2003) Capitalism in Book III of Durkheim’s Division of Labor. Critical Sociology, Volume 29, Issue 3. Retrieved October 12, 2010 on the World Wide Web: http://www.jstor.org

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