Emile Durkheim established the logic of the functional approach to the study of social phenomena and ‘social facts’. The principle conceptualization, on which most of Durkheim’ s work is founded, rests in the analogy of society acting much like the human organism. In that, it is a system or whole composed of interrelated parts, which are all necessary and work interdependently for an optimal functioning. Consequently, he was interested in the effects of the historical development of the division of labour on societies. In both chapters offered for analysis, Durkheim focuses on the issues of social solidarity and differentiation in society. Essentially, he centers his discussion on the ties that bind a society together in larger social networks as well as the mechanisms on which social solidarity is created. In the following paper, a discussion will be generated concerning two selected passages from Anothony Giddens book, titled Emile Durkheim: Selected Writings. The two passages will be discussed in context to Durkheim’s overall theory.
As previously highlighted, Durkheim concerned himself with explaining the cog in the mechanism responsible for creating and perpetuating social solidarity in increasingly divergent societies. In order to cultivate greater understanding of the machination of social solidarity in society, Durkheim proposed that essentially society was founded within ‘two forms of consciousness’- mechanical and organic solidarity:
“There are in each of us, as we have said, two forms of consciousness: one which is common to our group as a whole, which consequently, is not ourself, but society living and acting within us; the other, on the other hand, represents that in us which is person...
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...eings were essentially socialized personalities and that the human species obtains its humanistic qualities in and through society. Virtually, what makes us human is our ability to move and groove, and above all survive in a social world. Modern day society seems to present the potential for individualism within a certain degree of social regulation. In contrast to earlier forms of social organization based on a mechanical solidarity of which demanded a high degree of regimentation, in modern organic societies, social solidarity is dependent upon, rather than repressive of individualistic behaviour. It seems that on a daily basis we ‘act and react ‘ according to the social world around us.
Giddens, Anthony,ed. (1972). Emile Durkheim: Selected Writings,Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 123- 154
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