Durkheim And Rousseau Analysis

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The Creation of Society Through the Lens of Durkheim and Rousseau There are various theories across the spectrum of the social sciences that address the birth of society. The focus of this essay will be on two French sociologists, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Émile Durkheim who share different ideas of how the creation of society came about. Durkheim was a functionalist who has very fundamental views on the formation of society. Durkheim theorizes that society is natural and happens through shared experiences. He believes that society makes the individual “whole” by providing them with knowledge. However, on the other side of the spectrum is Rousseau, who views society as more of a means to an end. Rousseau theorizes that modern society is unnatural,…show more content…
Religion was created as the understanding of the totem changed. Durkheim states, “religious force is none other than the collective and anonymous force of the clan, the totemic emblem is so to speak the visible body of the god”. The overwhelming spiritual feeling surrounding the totem that is now understood as some form of religion. It becomes more complex over time and creates a hierarchy and order which results in knowledge, a way to organize and understand the world much like the sciences. Both science and religion are a way of knowing, but religion has a stronger emotional pull due to being created through the collective effervescent. “There is no gulf between the logic of religious thought and the logic of scientific thought, both are made up of the same essential elements”. Ultimately, religion gave the people a way to create a division from what is considered sacred and profane in…show more content…
“This right does not come from nature, it is therefore founded upon convention”. Rousseau does not view society in the same light as Durkheim. He does not believe that society is the savior of humans and that there is no real self without it. Unlike Durkheim, Rousseau believes that the only natural society is the traditional family and that any other form is forged out of convention. Rousseau mentions that when parents are done raising their child and that child is no longer dependent, but chooses to stay then the family is together out if convention and is then unnatural. He states, “the most ancient of all societies and the only natural one is that of the family, children remain bound to their father only so long as they need him to take care of them”. Rousseau’s claims of society being unnatural and that all agreements beyond the family are out of convention implies that there is no relationship between man outside of society. He explains that “men are not naturally enemies, for the simple reason that men living in their original state of independence do not have sufficiently constant relationships among themselves to bring about either a state of peace or a state of war”. Prior to society man went about their natural lives with the family tending to basic needs such as food, clothes, and shelter. This continued until there became a need for man to come together and benefit from the
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