Emile Durkheim (1858-1917)

I. At the heart of Durkheim’s work is the study of what he called SOCIAL FACTS

          A. those aspects of social existence that are EXTERNAL TO & COERCIVE OVER the individual

                   1. e.g., the division of labor & industrial economy

                   2. or, a societal condition of anomie

II. Distinguished between MATERIAL & NON-MATERIAL social facts (As in Examples A1 and A2 above)

A. the directly observable (family, church ritual, legal institutions, industrial economy)

          B. and the indirectly observable

C. Anomie, e.g., is indirectly observable

1. but its existence can be determined in and through other observable phenomena

                             a. suicide rates, e.g.

III. Non-material social facts refer to such things as

          A. Morality or Collective Conscience

          B. Knowledge Systems

          C. Religious beliefs

Ideas, Beliefs, Ideals, Values

IV. Key themes throughout Durkheim’s work

          A. Moral Regulation

                   1. A society’s survival depends upon its ability to control and channel human nature

                   2. Impose a shared collective identity & shared beliefs and values

          B. Social Integration

                   1. Regular patterns of and opportunities for social interaction

          C. Moral Regulation + Social Integration à “Solidarity”

                   1. Shared sense of purpose; common beliefs

                   2. united as members of a common social whole

          D. (a la Weber, Simmel) Durkheim’s focus was on the impact of modernity on society

                   1. Urban, Industrial, Bureaucratic

                   2. Will modern society survive & what will it be like?

                   3. In various ways, all of his works address these questions

V. The Division of Labor in Society (1893)

          A. Industrial economies: highly specialized, complex division of labor (is this a viable form of social         organization?)

          B. How do societies achieve and sustain solidarity?

                   1. Pre-modern societies: simple division of labor

                             a. age and gender (e.g. hunter-gatherers)

                             b. all contribute to the survival of the society

                             c. solidarity arises automatically, mechanically, out of this simple division of labor

                             d. Thus, mechanical solidarity

                             e. violations of group morality severely punished: repressive law

                   2. Industrial/modern societies: extraordinarily complex division of labor

                             a. high degree of specialization (the transformation of single-multiple purpose roles to                                        multiple, single-purpose roles)

                             b. solidarity will (may) arise out of the structure or  the social organism

                             c. because we specialize, interdependence upon one another increases (a la Adam Smith                          before him)                          

                             d. organic solidarity

                             e. restitutive law

                   3. Failing solidarity, industrial society will experience the Anomic Division of Labor

                             a. normlessness, loss of collective identity and purpose

                             b. Everyone for themselves


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