Emile Durkheim
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    Mechanical and Organic Solidarity Comparison

    The way that the division of labor has changed has had a significant impact on how society is organized. Specifically, Durkheim was concerned with how society is kept together and how its individuals see themselves as a part of the total. This is known as the changed construction of social solidarity. Durkheim used mechanical and organic forms of solidarity to describe this distinction. Everyone in a society that is defined by mechanical solidarity is a generalist. People are united through their shared interests and obligations, which are a unifying force. In contrast, a society that values organic solidarity is kept together by the fact that each member has a unique set of duties and obligations.

    Individuals in contemporary society execute a minimal variety of duties; therefore, they depend on many other people to thrive. For example, the traditional family with a hunter father and a gatherer mother is essentially self-sufficient, but the contemporary family requires a grocer, baker, teacher, policeman, and other professionals. To survive in the modern world, these individuals, in turn, need the services that others provide. According to Durkheim, the specialization of individuals and their demand for the services of many others keep modern society together. Individuals, organizations, structures, and institutions are all included in this specialization.

    According to Durkheim, there are more common understandings, norms, and beliefs in primitive societies than in contemporary societies, which suggests that they have a more vital collective consciousness. However, the collective consciousness has decreased due to the growing division of labor. In contrast to societies with mechanical solidarity, those with organic solidarity value the collective conscience significantly less. In contemporary societies, the division of labor and the resultant demand for the services others provide are more likely to keep people together than a solid and shared collective conscience.

    According to Anthony Giddens (1972), there are four ways to distinguish between the collective consciences of societies: volume, intensity, rigidity, and content. The volume describes how many people are affected by the collective conscience; intensity describes how strongly people feel about it; rigidity describes how precisely it is defined, and content describes how the collective conscience manifests itself in the two forms of society. The collective conscience in a society defined by mechanical solidarity essentially encompasses the whole community and its members. It is held in very high regard, is quite strict, and has a strong religious bent. On the other hand, the elevation of the person’s value to a moral precept is the collective conscience’s main message in a society with organic solidarity. This collective conscience is restricted to specific and particularistic groups, adhered to with much less intensity, and is not too rigid.

    Solidarity Durkheim-Giddens

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