Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Socialism Pages: 8 (2477 words) Published: April 3, 2013
When looking at contemporary South African society it is very hard to identify precisely what sort of system it follows. Some people might claim that South African society is a completely socialist society whilst others might say that it can be seen as a capitalist society. I however fell that it is an odd combination of both. The 2 theorists that help me understand South African society the most efficiently would be marx and perhaps Durkheim.

These two theorists deal with capitalism and socialism. There are however only a few ideas and theories that I would say help me when trying to understand the society I live in. perhaps this is so because I believe that contemporary south African society is neither capitalist nor socialist.

South African society, to me, is very stratified and the division of labour is very evident. Durkheim discusses how in the modern world society is held together by the dependency of individuals on each other because of the division of Labor that exists. In our modern societies Durkheim identifies 2 types of solidarity. Organic solidarity is the first; this type of solidarity weakens the collective conscience of the people. In earlier more primitive societies there was mechanical solidarity- here the individuals are more unified and there is less division of labor. Individuals have similar tasks and therefore a similar responsibility towards their society and so they had a stronger collective conscience Modern society has a more stratified division of labor. Durkheims concern was that the different types of division of labor changes the individuals attitude and perception of society and where he/she belongs in it. ( fundamental concepts of sociology).

Mechanic solidarity refers to a stage in society when all the individuals have similar or the same responsibilities, jobs and value towards society. It can be said that if one individual was to leave then there would be hardly or no significant change in within the society. This type of society has little interdependence and is ruled with repressive sanctions. Also it is a highly religious society where prevalence is given to the supreme well being of society rather than the individual.

Organic solidarity then refers to that stage in society when there is a greater interdependence than before. This is due the more complex and stratified division of labour. As the society becomes more industrialized and modern there is greater need for specialized work. Individuals have different jobs to do, different responsibilities to fulfill and different perceptions of society as a whole and also of themselves as an individual of that society.

In South African society I can see the evidence of division of labour. South Africa has become much more industrialized and modern as time has passed and in order to keep up with the changing world South Africa has had to evolve very fast in terms of industry and society. This means that as industry becomes more global there is the need for specialized workers and technicians. This should be a positive result but south Africa now faces the problem of emigration.

Even though there are a great deal of specialized workers in South Africa there is the big issue of the brain drain. Many of these specialists are leaving South Africa and moving overseas to where the opportunities are better and the work is more rewarding. Durkheims theory helps me to understand society a bit more in the sense that I know understand that these individuals are doing this because other countries have a greater division of labour, thus these specialists are needed more urgently and therefore there is great rewards and pay for them elsewhere as compared to the opportunities and rewards available in south Africa.

Another factor that coincides with the theories of durkheim is that of industrial revolution (fundamental concepts of sociology). With regard to the industrial revolution, there was a major shift in technology, socio-economic...
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