Sections 107 and 108
Reading Response Questions for Wednesday 5 November: Durkheim on DoL (III)
The following questions pertain to The Division of Labor in Society (pp. 201-6, 258-74, 277-303, 309-19). Pp. 320-31 are recommended.
Please respond to each question in two to four sentences. Use brief quotes and/or page citations to support each answer.
1. According to Durkheim, what are the primary causes of the division of labor in general?
Increase in material (physical) density of society
Population growth and increasing spatial concentration of people Growth of towns
Increase in the number and efficacy of means of communication
=> Led to an increase in moral (dynamic) density
2. Describe the anomic division of labor in your own words.
When individuals are isolated from one another by specialization, absence of mutual stimulation. In other words, the feeling of “alienation” that occurs after a duration following the expansive use of the Division of Labor in society. Also described as a “period of confusion” according to Durkheim.
3. Describe the forced division of labor in your own words.
Forced DL is noted as another result. It is often compared to slavery. Durkheim depicts a highly industrialized society as nothing more than indentured servitude, where people are forced to give up their labor but never seem to see a positive shift in social mobility.
4. Which argument from the text did you find most challenging? Alternatively, which argument are you most eager to challenge?
Durkheim argues in the Division of Labor that the greatest crime (not greatest evil) is murder. What would he argue about states’ use of death penalty? Under mechanical solidarity, I could see it fall under penal laws.