Different Forms Of Division Of Labor By Emile Durkheim

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Emile Durkheim, born in 1858 was an eminent proponent of Sociology from France, considered to be one of the greatest in his field alongside Karl Marx and Max Weber. Durkheim aimed to study society taking an evolutionary approach, keeping in mind that society is composed of individuals. However, it was not essentially the aggregate sum of each individual’s behavior, actions and thoughts. Durkheim endeavored to understand transformation of society, from traditional to modern, where solidarity changes from mechanical to organic because of the phenomenon of ‘division of labour’. In this essay I will aim to explain first, how organic solidarity came to existence because of increasing division of labour in society. To begin with I will take a peek…show more content…
The Wikipedia provides the following definition: ‘The division of labour is the specialization of cooperating individuals who perform specific tasks and roles, because of the large amount of labour saved by giving workers specialized tasks’. Simply put, it is the specialization of specific jobs and tasks with an aim to increase efficiency and productivity. The main causes of ‘division of labour’ are industrialization and process of modernization. This ‘division of labor’ has caused the change from traditional societies to contemporary societies and in turn caused change from mechanical to organic solidarity. In traditional societies there existed mechanical solidarity, typical feature of which were: ‘A high degree of resemblance and low differentiation in the functions performed by members of the society, [and] the law was repressive’ (Thompson,…show more content…
By the same standards it also contains fallacies which limit its appeal in contemporary world. Firstly, Durkheim’s account of organic solidarity seems positivist in that ‘the division of labor’ does not have negative effects at all. With great convenience Durkheim propagates the conditions responsible for smooth functioning of organized societies in some idyllic place. To elaborate more on this point, the society does not have the self-regulating quality as implied by organic solidarity. Durkheim’s principle assumption was that collective conscience and individual conscience coupled with the State would lead to organic solidarity. Although Durkheim tries to take account of this nature of society through ‘anomic’ division of labor yet his viewpoint on evils of unregulated capitalism, commercial and industrial crises, class conflict, meaninglessness, alienated labor etc. was very uncritical in nature. This observation was further strengthened when in his later works he gradually parted away with evolutionary optimism which underpinned the mechanical, self-regulating conception of division of labor. Secondly, Durkheim does not seem to be concerned about the ill effects of ‘division of labor’. On one hand mutual interdependence creates solidarity which holds together societies, on the other in modern societies one is not able to sustain without depending
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