Durkheim on Solidarity

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Durkheim on solidarity
Of all the things I’ve learned about from researching Durkheim’s thoughts and ideas, the most striking one were the ones which surrounded social solidarity. To put it simply, social solidarity is a set of norms, values and morals that hold a certain group of people together. He described it as a “wholly moral phenomenon which by itself is not amenable to exact observation and especially not to measurement” (Durkheim 1997). Durkheim believed that there were two types of solidarity, Mechanical and Organic
Mechanical solidarity, despite what one might guess from its name, describes the social integration of members of a society who are connected by their homogeneity of beliefs, values and lifestyle. The defining aspect of mechanical solidarity is its collective consciousness. The group acts as one, all actions in unison. “All we require is for the functions to work together in a regular fashion” (Durkheim 1997). In this type of society it is often found that individuality is moderately or sometimes harshly discouraged and is usually punished by the group. Durkheim states that “the more intensity of punishment is the greater the more closely societies approximate to a less developed type- and the more the central power assumes an absolute character” (Tiryakian 1964). These types of societies are usually found in rural villages and other less developed communities.
Organic solidarity is a slightly more modern version of solidarity that is born from the interdependence of individuals in more advanced societies. In today’s society it often involves the specialization of work. Although individuals perform different tasks and often have different values and interests, the order and very solidarity of society depends on their reliance on each other to perform their specified tasks. Unlike Mechanical solidarity which punishes individuality, it is…...

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