Emile Durkheim
    About Lesson

    The division of labor in modern society takes three abnormal forms.

    Durkheim criticized some of the “abnormal” forms of division of labor in modern society by using the concept of pathology.

    He discovered three abnormal forms:

    A. Anomic division of labor
    B.  Forced division of labor
    C. Poorly coordinated division of labor

    According to Durkheim, these abnormal forms are what truly lead to the moral crises of modernity that Comte and others had linked to the division of labor.

    The anomic division of labor is called the absence of rules in a culture that values isolated individuality and shuns directing people’s behavior. In his writings on suicide, Durkheim expanded upon this idea of anomie. He used the phrase to describe societal situations where people lack enough moral control.  According to Durkheim, anomie is a constant in contemporary society, but it only really manifests itself at times of social and economic crisis.

    People might not clearly understand what constitutes appropriate and acceptable conduct if mechanical solidarity’s strong shared morality were absent. Although the division of labor contributes to contemporary society’s cohesion, it cannot fully compensate for the decline in shared morality. In their highly specialized occupations, people might become alone and adrift. They may find it easier to lose empathy for others who live and work nearby. Anomie results from this. This specific “pathology” is one that organic solidarity is prone to, but it’s crucial to remember that Durkheim considered this abnormal circumstance. Instead of confining individuals to isolated and meaningless jobs and places, the contemporary division of labor can encourage higher moral relationships.

    Although Durkheim thought that people required laws and regulations to teach them what to do, his second abnormal form suggested that there may be specific rules that might cause conflict and isolation, which can exacerbate an already anomie-inducing state. The forced division of labor is what he termed it. This second pathology is the idea that people, organizations, and classes might be forced into roles for which they are not well suited by outmoded standards and expectations. For example, despite merit and education, employment is sometimes assigned based on cultural norms, economic influence, or social standing.

    Here, Durkheim resembles a Marxist position: If one class in society must accept any payment for its services to survive. In contrast, another class can avoid this situation due to resources already at its disposal—resources that aren’t necessarily the result of some social superiority, though—the latter group will have an unfair legal advantage over the former.

    The third kind of abnormal division of labor is finally seen when the specialized tasks are carried out by different individuals who are not well coordinated. Durkheim reiterates the idea that human interconnectedness results in organic solidarity. The division of labor won’t lead to social unity if people’s specialties lead to greater isolation rather than interdependence.

    Sociology Plus