Emile Durkheim And The Classical And Modern Variations Of Functionalism

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Theories are constantly being examined and reevaluated. This is especially true with social theories because of their innate being. This paper will be specifically focused on both the classical and the new modern variations of functionalism. Emile Durkheim will be the subject of classical functionalism with Lewis Coser acting as the modern functionalist. Durkheim maintained a positive outlook on the transition of society by suggesting that it was simply transforming from mechanical solidarity to organic. Mechanical solidarity being related to the sameness of individuals through religion, customs, work ethic, and so on and so forth. Organic solidarity being a format of solidarity where people are interdependent with others for specialized tasks. The transformation, though making the society more complex, was beneficial because people were still reliant on one another. Coser saw things a bit differently; he saw the conflict that exists within a functioning society because without conflict there’s no means to hold solidarity in place. A dispute that blows out of proportion has the capacity to capsize a civilization because of the high tensions held between the two. I have a personal preference for Coser’s ideology which I’ll explain later on. Durkheim has a particular approach to solidarity that follows the traditional thought process of functionalism. His conviction that society is “sui generis” meaning an objective reality that is irreducible to the individual (Durkheim
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