Durkheim Division Of Labor In Society Summary

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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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