Chapter 6. Emile Durkheim: The Division of Labour in Society

David Emile Durkheim was a French sociologist most famous for his book The Division of Labour In Society. Durkheim was considered a prodigy while he was in school.  The main objective of the book was to explain the relationship between an individual and social solidarity. The chapter looked into his other works and the theories he developed. The “Division of Labour” was an important theme that Durkheim went into extreme detail with. He believed that by changing the “division of labour”, you could change the way that society had order and how unified everyone was. He also believed that the way that people cooperated with one another determined how smoothly things ran with the “division of labour”

Mechanical and Organic solidarity are two concepts of social solidarity that was coined by Durkheim. Mechanical solidarity deals with smaller societies with little division of labour and it is based on likeness. Organic solidarity deals with the opposite of Mechanical solidarity. It deals with the division of labour directly and it deals with larger societies. Mechanical societies have become rare in the world that we live in due to the development of the nations of the world.

The chapter also talks about the abnormal forms of the Division of Labour. The first example is know as an anomie, which refers to the the industrial and commercial crises and bankruptcies that represent a lack of adjustment in the division of labour. (Bratton, Denham, Deutschmann 149). An example of an anomie is the crisis that happened with the Big Three when they needed to be bailed out in order to be at a sustainable level. Anomies exists in the corporate world and in the industrial factory system.

The second abnormal division of labour is the forced division of labour. Forced division of labour focuses on structural inequalities. Because of the different social classes, people who are in a lower class will not receive the same type of opportunities. Because of inheritance, people who are undeserving of wealth will receive all of the advantages that people who are deserving wont. Durkheim suggests that inheritance should be eliminated in order to give everyone an equal opportunities. He suggests that the the wealth should be sent to corporations so everything would be fair.


Posted on September 10, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Throughout reading this chapter I found the aspects of The Division of Labour pretty comprehensive. In the essence of mechanical and organic solidarity, this is where I get most confused. I understand one deals with large societys an the other in smaller but its this social likeness, and penal law that I believe applys to both theories although, just implying mechanical. From my understanding, social likeness is defined as everyone in the community sharing similar goals, personalities, and labour related efforts to make up this “collective, common consciousness” (Bratton, Denham, Deutschmann 143). This is pretty common sensicle but in larger, organic societys there are types of “cliques” that share this likeness as well. They are just apart of a larger whole. Penal sanction defined by some internet website is “punishment for the commission of a specific crime, such as fines, restitution, probation and imprisonment.” This also is applied to larger societys just not in the same processes. Its understood that this mechanic social solidarity tends to be more collective and organic being individualistic so I suppose these terms of likeness and penal law can’t really apply to both. But, how can they theoretically differ?
    These theories of Abnormal Forms of the Division of Labour are well undersood especially with the relation of the big 3 automobile companys having to get bailed out from the Government. Its a shocking statistic in the text of the rise in banandkruptcies in France of 70% between the years of 1845 and 1865. The text points out “the struggle between capital and labour is an example of conflict, rather than solidarity” (Bratton, Denham, Deutschmann 149) and that is relevent in todays soceity with the past dilemma of the big 3.
    Another example of the theory of forced division of labor is the educational system. In the means of our capitalistic society children in inner city schools with lack of funding are divided from more rich communities that enable thier children to get a college education. There are many other aspects of todays educational system that have forced division of labour too. Durkheim was really able to relate this theory to capitalistic societys in distress, which is our current economic position.

  2. This is a book report style blog post. What I am looking for is not only a quick and dirty review of the reading but some personal engagement.

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