Emile Durkheim; Division of Labour in Society

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Agency Pages: 8 (2011 words) Published: April 23, 2011
Durkheim argued that social structure depends on the level of division of labour in a society .In other words, in the manner in which tasks are performed. Thus, a task such as providing food can be carried out almost totally by one individual or can be divided among many people .The latter pattern typically occurs in modern societies;cultivation,processing,distribution and retailing of a single food item are performed by literally hundreds of people.

In societies in which there is minimal division of labour, a collective consciousness develops with emphasis on group solidarity, implying that all individuals perform the same tasks. Since everyone is engaged in similar work, each person prepares food, hunts, makes clothing, and builds homes and so forth. People have few options regarding what to do with their lives, consequently, there is little concern for individual needs.Instead, the group will is the dominating force in society. Both social interaction and negotiation are based on close, intimate, face to face social contacts. Since there is little specialization, there are few social roles.

As societies become more advanced technologically, greater division of labor takes place. The person who cuts down timber is not the same person who puts up your roof. With increasing specialization, many different tasks must be performed by different individuals even in manufacturing items such as radios or stoves.

In general, social interactions became less personal than in societies characterized by mechanical solidarity. We begin relating to others on the basis of their social position rather than their distinctive human qualities. Social roles are perpetual flux as the overall social structure of the society continues to change.

In Durkheim’s theory, organic solidarity involves a collective consciousness resting on the society’s need members have for one another. When society becomes more complex and there is greater division of labour no individual can do it alone. In a complex society, dependence on others becomes essential for group survival. Durkheim chose the term organic solidarity, since in his view individuals became interdependent in much the same as organs of the human body are interdependent (Richard T Schafer, 1994).

For example, in this age or era of civilization as social change, interdependency has become the thing of the day as no society or member of the society can exist and do it all without help from other individuals or campanies.For example Dunavant Ginnery depends on the peasant and commercial farmers who sell their cotton to it (Dunavant) for it to produce cotton.The same applies to tobacco companies were tobacco is processed. In this system not all people in the company will do the same work but there will be specialities.More importantly social change is any change in social relations. Social change is a even present phenomenon in any society.

It involves social structure which serves at least partially to maintain the structure (social dynamics) and process that modifies the structure (social change)

Social changes in a small group may be important on the level of that group itself, but negligible on the level of the larger society. It also involves /depends on the larger society. Most short term changes are negligible if a social development is studied in a long term even if one abstracts from small scale and short term changes, social change is a general behavior of human societies(customs and norms change)Interventions are made and applied ,environmental changes lead to new adaptations, conflicts result in redistributions power.

Marxism theory based on the combination of dialects and granalism.It is an intellectual process which is the transition from one stage to another took place through a revolutionary transformation which was preceeded by increasing deterioration of society and intensifying class struggles.

Underlying this discontinuous development was the more...

References: 1. Giddens.A.2001.Sociology.Blackwell Publishing Limited Cambridge, UK.
2. Robert.P. Gwim.1991.Encyclopedia Brittainica,Volume 27,25
3. Schaefer.P.G.1991.Introduction to Sociology.Illinous University,U.S.A
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