Emile Durkheim Essay

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Emile Durkheim is one of the classical figures of sociological theory. Concern structure models arise at several points in Durkheim’s work. Below I outline the concern structure of his concept of social solidarity as summarized by Sztompka (Sztompka, 1993), and his categorization of suicide as summarized by Best (Best, 2003). Social Solidarity Durkheim described two forms of social solidarity: a mechanical form based on uniformity, command and control and an organic form that protected individual rights and interpersonal diversity, developing collective commitment through the institution of civil society. Social solidarity can be described in terms of four functions, as follows: P – Economic Structures A – Social Control E – Character of activities/main social bond I – Position of the individual P – Economic Structures (Can be Mechanical or Organic) Mechanical Order: Isolated, self-ruling, self-sufficient groups with tight internal roles. Organic Order: Complex division of labour, interdependence, common market rules. A – Social Control (Can be Mechanical or Organic) Mechanical Order: Retributive justice – harsh repressive laws to punish nonconformity and disruptions of order (criminal law). Organic Order: Restitutive justice – civic rights and contracts to repair failures of commitment and reciprocity (civil law). E – Character of activities/main social bond (Mechanical or Organic) Mechanical Order: Similar narrow moral, religious and political consensus. Organic Order: Diverse and differentiated but complementary priorities and beliefs. I – Position of the individual (Mechanical or Organic Societies) Mechanical Order: Collectivistic focus on group identity and community standing. Organic Order: Individualistic focus on autonomy of action and evaluation. Suicide Durkheim described four different kinds of suicide, each one of
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