Social Theory of Durkheim

Aug 15, 2020 in Sociology Essay

Modernity Sociology Essay

The Division of Labor in Society


Labor in society is the main motivator for the growth of the economy and social order. Different people in society specialize in various activities depending on their skills, abilities, and education. Therefore, labor should be separated into different categories to be efficiently undertaken by the appropriate individuals. Division of labor is a process that entails assigning an individual or a group of people a specific job that corresponds to their specialization. The approach ensures that professionals in the same working environment achieve the successful outcomes of the task. The current paper explains the division of labor in society as presented by Durkheim, evaluating specifically the abnormal form of the forced division of labor.

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Social inequality

Durkheim views social inequality as a reflection of natural inequality in society with no single sense of equity. He argues that there is the need for society to regulate moral behavior and economic activities in an attempt to create order among individuals. The strategy would help the individuals and the society to solve their differences in a peaceful way without affecting the economy (Durkheim 186). The order in the society ensures that the laws are restituted and people are restored to their previous conduct rather than are punished in an excessive manner. Durkheim views social inequality to be different from natural inequality. The reason is that the overall change from the primitive state to an advanced community can cause major disorders in society. In extreme cases, it can result in a crisis in different sectors and anomie. However, the situation portrays the fact that society has reached the advanced stage, and it tends to acquire strength and enable development.

In society, individuals socialize according to different types of obligations. They operate and behave based on obligations to other people and to society. As a result, everybody receives recognition of their rights and duties in society. With the division of labor due to specialization, the individuals tend to acquire conscience and embrace their duties in the eyes of society (Durkheim 192). The method compromises organic solidarity because existing ideas influence people to provide the service to the community.

The division of labor in society may lead to numerous forms of social solidarity. Organic solidarity appears naturally without any planning. According to Durkheim, the division of labor increases in society as the percentage of interdependent and supportive individuals increases. The phenomenon creates the relationship between organic solidarity and spontaneity. In order to address organic solidarity in society, solving the problem of external inequality is necessary. The approach enables division of labor to be enhanced and achieved as desired. Thus, external inequality compromises organic solidarity and results in escalating the problem of social differences.

Implications of Durkheim

Durkheim explained the abnormal divisions of labor in society as the result of non-spontaneous inequality. Forced division of labor is an example of the abnormal forms, whereby it focuses its attention on structure-based inequalities. Due to the existence of different social classes, individuals receive dissimilar opportunities. For example, inheritance leads to the undeserving acquiring a lot of wealth and advantages due to their family peculiarities. It contrasts the case when the people, who deserve the most, do not have the chance to acquire advantages (Durkheim 200). According to Durkheim, practices involving inheritance should be eliminated in society to create some type of equality.

The division of labor among different individuals creates the basis for modern organic solidarity. The phenomenon has led to the decline of collective responsibility that existed before the division of labor in society. The usual situation that creates collective consciousness is no longer available and individuals do not possess common experiences. Organic solidarity leads to the interdependence of labor among individuals; thus increasing individualism. The structure is not possible with social inequality in place.

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Comparison of Durkheim understands of inequalities with Marxs

Durkheim's view on inequality has the main focus on maintaining social order as the societies advance from being primitive to advanced industrial organizations. In primitive society, the people are set to act, participate and think the same way in different situations. The primitive social structure enabled the creation of the social order since people used to perform collectively different forms of labor (Durkheim 207). Durkheim viewed the simple community structure as a society, where the involved members share the collective responsibility for the crime and acts of violence. Social ties were viewed to be weak. Moreover, the punishment of deviations was repressive in order to address the offenses of the collective consciousness.

Karl Marx aimed to explain the existence and the interdependence of social inequalities in society, and the reliance of individuals on the economy. The author explains that inequality is exemplified by the existence of an employer and an employee (Durkheim 213). On the one hand, the employer is mainly concerned with the financial outcome and profits. He follows the aim of benefit through increasing the inputs to the products that result in material wealth. On the other hand, the employee is mainly concerned with the production process and the working conditions. The workers want to achieve the outcome to accumulate material wealth.

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