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Notes on Durkheim Readings

Notes on Durkheim Readings - NOTES ON DURKHEIM READINGS In...

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NOTES ON DURKHEIM READINGS In their writings, Marx, Durkheim, and Weber were trying to make sense of the social transformation that was occurring during the nineteenth century. All have a sense of society moving from a simple traditional society to a more complex industrial society. Each is writing about his understanding of this process. Emile Durkheim is, as Professor Bacharach indicated a consensus theorist. Indeed, where Marx is all about conflict, Durkheim is all about a consensual social order. As you read the excerpt from Coser, look for the following big ideas : “Collective Conscience” is a term that Durkheim uses to talk about the common values, beliefs and norms that hold a group together. Collectively, we all believe, for example, in the American dream and that by working hard and doing all the right things we can all be successful. Today, we would refer to this as “culture”. Durkheim argues that in earlier times, people are held together by their similarities. In hunter gathering communities, for example, the social structure is very simple; individuals basically interact with one another, do similar activities, and share the same beliefs and norms. Durkheim uses the term “mechanical solidarity” to refer this type of social arrangement. In contrast, industrial society is characterized by its extensive division of labor. Here, Durkheim argues that people are held together by their mutual dependence upon one another. Durkheim refers to this type of social arrangement as “organic solidarity”. In contrast to Marx, Durkheim is saying, for example, labor and management are mutually dependent upon one another. If each performs its role in the social system, everyone will do well. In contrast to economists, Durkheim argues that the basic mechanism for ensuring this cooperation is not economic self interest. Rather, it is
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