The division of labor in society is generally described as the assignment of different roles to each individual based on the level skill they have in a specific task. This process has been thought to improve the efficiency of the work-force and provide economic growth. Many thinkers have had varying view on division of labor. Adam Smith, in “The Wealth of Nations,” views division of labor results in the “increase of dexterity in every particular workman; secondly, to the saving of time…and the invention of machines” (Smith, 2). Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels argued that division of labor creates workers that are less skillful, because “each man has an exclusive sphere of activity forced on him, which he cannot escape” (Marx & Engels, 3). French sociologist Émile Durkheim, in his major work “The Division of Labor in Society,” attempts to see the social penalties of division of labor from a contemporary standpoint. Durkheim argued that the nature of social solidarity depends on the extent of the division of labor, which is the what I will be arguing for in this essay. Durkheim describes the importance of exchanging social values and social norms and in maintaining social unity and solidarity, which Durkheim breaks down into mechanical and organic. Specialization is something which is required to maintain efficiency. Finally, even when we are all focused on our individual abilities, we still work collectively. For Durkheim, mechanical solidarity creates bonds between people
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The division of labor is a complex phenomenon that is characterized by varying aspects of an individual’s social connection to the society in which they reside. The Division of labor is a broad process that affects and influences many aspects of life such as political, judicial, and administrative functions (Bratton & Denham, 2014). Two of the main sociological theorists, Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim, had different understandings of the notion about the division of labor. This topic has been contested and debated by many theorists but this paper is going to focus on how Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx views this topic. Karl Marx views the division of labor as a process that alienates the individual from their work (Llorente, 2006). Marx also views the division of labor as a way for the capitalist bourgeoisie to take advantage of the wage labor of the proletariat. Emile Durkheim identifies with Marx in the economic sense that the division of labor furthers the rationalization and bureaucratization of labor, but differs in that the division of labor provides individuals in society with social solidarity and ensures their connection to society. This paper is going to reflect on some of the aspects in which Emile Durkheim and Karl Marx view the division of labor, while showing some of the similarities and differences between the two theorists conception of the topic.
Division of labour is also credited with the rise of trade between different areas, the rise of capitalism, and increasingly complex manufacturing and industrialization. For Karl Marx, the production portion of Capitalism signalled great trouble. He believed production in Capitalist society worked in a way that the rich factory owner benefited and the poor factory workers lost. In his manner of reasoning, the Capitalist system was inherently meant to benefit the rich and exploit the poor: “All the bourgeois economists are aware of is that production can be carried on better under the modern police than on the principle of might makes right. They forget only that this principle is also a legal relation, and that the right of the stronger prevails in their ‘constitutional republics’ as well, only in another form.”[ii] Marx’s view of society and the world lead him to believe that humans create change in their lives and in their environment through practical activity in the practical world.
Emile Durkheim, was a French sociologist. His theories and writings helped establish the foundations of modern sociology. Durkheim disagreed with most social theorists of the late 1800 's because they thought that individual psychology was the basis of sociology. Durkheim regarded sociology as the study of the society that surrounds and influences the individual. Durkheim explained his theories in his book The Rules of Sociological Method (1895). He says there is relationship between moral values and religious beliefs, which establishes unity in society.Emile Durkheim has long been viewed as one of the founders of the so called variables oriented approach to sociological investigation. Durkheim developed the theory that societies are bound together by two sources of unity. He called these sources mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity. Mechanical solidarity refers to similarities that many people in the society share, such as values and religious beliefs. Organic solidarity results from the division of labor into specialized jobs. Durkheim believed that the division of labor makes people depend on one another and thus helps create unity in a society. Durkheim studied thousands of cases of suicide to demonstrate his theory that a person commits suicide because of the
People in present society are divided up into different positions in the work force. Durkheim sees society from a structural functionalist perspective and refers to society as a system of different organs, each with a
For Durkheim, the problem concerning modernity emerged from the move to an industrial society wherein the division of labour (increasing specialisation of occupations) led to a decrease in mechanical solidarity (social cohesion based on similarities between members of pre-industrial societies); resulting in the breakdown of the influence of social norms on individuals within a
As organic solidarity is typical of complex, industrialised societies, Durkheim’s theory is very applicable to modern life and the first world in particular. Individuality is a major feature of people living in the western world today e.g. the USA, UK, and Ireland. This is evident in our political and social thinking. Much emphasis is placed on personal rights and the belief that nothing is more important than us. (Hughes et al, 1995) Meanwhile we are not self-sufficient; we rely heavily on the expertise of thousands globally to live our daily lives e.g. the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the cars we drive etc. (Macionis and Plummer, 2005)
Durkheim believed that by examining and understanding the effect of these social facts on human behaviour within the context of industrial society, adequate solutions could be devised to deal with the problems inherent in the new capitalist society. According to Durkheim, two different types of social facts exist: material and immaterial. Durkheim was most interested in studying the latter, particularly morality, collective conscience, collective representation, and social currents. He suggested that society could achieve a state of harmony or equilibrium – the state at which it was designed to remain. Unlike Marx, who believed the industrialized society would bring alienation and revolution, Durkheim believed it would bring cohesion and interdependence. Greater specialization would create greater interdependence.
In this essay, using Durkheim’s perspective and Roger and Me, we will analyze how the division of labor can functionally shape a society within a certain period of time. Significantly, Emile Durkheim was one of the three major theoretical thinkers of sociology. In effect, the functionalism perspective derives from the analyses of Emile Durkheim. The functionalist perspective is molded by different parts working together.
His views can be divided into three different theories; the form of solidarity, Anomie, and the division of labor. Durkheim explained that there are two different types of the social integration; which is mechanical and organic solidarity. He explained that the mechanical solidarity forms a group or community where people affiliate and feel the comfort by regulated by the shared rules and the systems of beliefs, which is we call common conscience. The mechanical solidarity has a strong social morality compare to organic solidarity. The organic solidarity is more like an opposite theory of mechanical solidarity. The organic solidarity is the society that is more focused on individual’s values, performance in different tasks, and form a society that has less social morality with less common conscience. Durkheim explained, as a society grows up, the division of labor increases and become powerful. The mechanical and organic solidarity must exist in our society to keep the balance between the inequality and equality. But at the same time, it also makes big distance between the high class and working class and it is causing working class to feel devastated because of the differences of advantages and disadvantages between the high class and working
The division of labour ensures that each worker only does one job, and the labour market decides which job any particular worker will do. During labour, the worker uses capital not under his own control. The capital available determines the nature of the work. On top of all this, the worker has no choice but to work, as wages are needed to provide the worker's means to life. Work is seen to be 'not voluntary, but forced' (3). This shows that in a capitalist society, the worker is separated from the decisions of whether or not to work, what the work will be, and what form the work will take. This alienation of labour is the separation of man from his life-activity.
Tremendous economic and technological growth marked by the industrial revolution that was beginning to take shape at in the 19th century. With this change also brought a process of greater specialization in the workforce, also known as the division of labor. Both Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim, under this context of burgeoning market economy, sought to understand modern society and the underlying relations that lead to their formation and progress. In this essay, I will argue that while both Marx and Durkheim acknowledge the role of economic growth as a main driver of human society in their theories, they differ on the type of social relations that developed in tandem, relations that formed the basis of the division of labor. Marx (1978, p. 212) views the division of labor as a result of the capitalism driven by profit, while Durkheim (1984, p. 1) sees it as a necessary condition for social progress. Next, I will also explore differences both writers posit as the consequences for this process, relating to both Marx’s theory of labor alienation and Durkheim’s idea of organic solidarity.
Durkheim was one of the most influential sociologists in relation to the functionalist theories which stated society consisted of a structural consensus with a collective conscience of shared norms and values. He argued in order to establish the meaning of society one must understand the structures and social facts. He highlights changes in society from traditional societies which were linked with mechanical solidarity consisting of small scale ties with little division of labour. This in turn created a strong collective conscience of unity in comparison to modern society where differences amongst groups are promoted in turn weakening social solidarity. This is due to rapid changes within society in which Durkheim emphasises is due to a complex division of labour. Durkheim then argues that due to the combination of enlightenment notions and a capitalist society a collective conscience of individualism and greed is created. (Jones, Bradbury and Boutillier, 2011, pp.62-64)
People in present society are divided up into different positions in the work force. Durkheim sees society from a structural functionalist perspective and refers to society as a system of different organs, each with a special role that differentiates parts from one another (pg 122). According to Durkheim, the differences we hold in society create interdependence among one another due
Another important function of the educational system, according to Durkheim, is the transmission of occupational skills. He felt that this was essential for industrial society, due to its specialised division of labour. At school pupils must acquire the skills that enable them to become specialists. Durkheim believed this was particularly important, because he felt that social solidarity is based upon the interdependence of specialised skills. From a Functionalist viewpoint social solidarity, value consensus and the interdependence of specialised skills are essential to the survival of society.
Karl Marx believes that division of labour means a way in which workers of an organization were given a job at which they were good at or at which they had their specialty in. Max Weber viewed division of labour as an important element or characteristic of any bureaucratic organization that is functioning in the modern society. Emile Durkheim believed that division of labour was the outcome of a societal procedure that takes place within the structure of the society than the result of choices that have been made by individuals.