Emile Durkheim's Theories On Social Solidarity

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Emile Durkheim’s theories on social solidarity have been leading the debate on the effects of a shift between two types of solidarity for decades. Solidarity can be seen as the bonding force that hold our societies together. One type of solidarity is mechanical solidarity. Mechanical solidarity is a society that functions as a collective, like a machine, with the same goals, dreams and fears that are driven by the ideals of a god or religious figure. In the modern world we have transitioned into organic solidarity. Organic solidarity is the individualization of people. People within the society specialize in a skill and this holds the society together because we need others skills to survive. Emile Durkheim looked at how this shift in solidarity…show more content…
Industrialization is a primary cause of organic society as it began individualization through specializing workers within the society. This is known as the division of labour. Side effects of the division of labour are an increase in ego and increased productivity within the workforce. Prior to industrialization there were often famines and in places such as Europe around 80% of the work force was in agriculture. As technology improved and became a part of production the workers could facilitate adequate amounts food. As people became more individualized however beliefs and values would shift so the law needed to reflect the ideals and values of the society. Within David Garland’s chapter on punishment and social solidarity he recognises that punishment is not necessarily in place to correct behaviour but to keep society as a whole. While there is a correlation between punishment and criminal activity to keep society intact there has to be in a place a set of values within the legal system that force a kind of communality. People who enter the prison system are made examples of representing what a society values. It can be a person being imprisoned for life due to murder or for thievery within each society there are consequences for deviating from values. In both of these examples we see that it is action against another individual which . This highlights the…show more content…
Durkheim describes suicide as an action that a person takes with the awareness that it will lead to their death. He looked at various types of suicide including egoistic suicide and altruistic suicide that come from integration but he put much of his focus onto anomic suicide that comes from regulation. In preventing suicide we can note that fewer suicides occur during wars as this brings people together and gives the society a collective mentality once more. In preventing anomic suicide the society would need to become more of a collective. Thus separation between the group and the individual continues. One demographic that was specified within Durkheim’s study of suicide was married couples. Within his book ‘The Elementary Forms of Religious Life’ he looked at the rate of suicide in married and divorced individuals. Married women within countries that allow divorce keeps women from suicide while countries that have made divorce illegal have a higher rate of suicide for married women. However the opposite is true for men. Marriage is somethings commonly valued around the world. Durkheim believed that this trend in suicide was because a man’s mental and sexual lives were more developed than women’s. This is an out of date theory however and I believe it has more to do with the consistency marriage brings to a
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