Durkheim Condensed

Durkheim on religion, crime & education (in brief) AS/A2 Sociology

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  • Created on: 02-11-07 15:08
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Durkheim condensed religion into four major functions:
1. Disciplinary, forcing or administrating discipline
2. Cohesive, bringing people together, a strong bond
3. Vitalizing, to make more lively or vigorous, vitalise, boost spirit
4. Euphoric, a good feeling, happiness, confidence, wellbeing
Durkheim argued that education has many functions:
1. To reinforce social solidarity
o History: Learning about individuals who have done good things for the many
makes an individual feel insignificant.
o Pledging allegiance: Makes individuals feel part of a group and therefore less
likely to break rules.
2. To maintain social roles
o School is a society in miniature. It has a similar hierarchy, rules, expectations
to the "outside world". It trains young people to fulfill roles.
3. To maintain division of labour.
o School sorts students into skill groups, encouraging students to take up
employment in fields best suited to their abilities.
Durkheim believed that crime was not only normal in any society, but was also functional.
It was normal because no society existed in which some level of crime was not evident, and
functional as it served to reinforce social norms, provide the raw material for social change
and provide a kind of "safety valve" for social discontent, wherein people can simply
disobey the law, rather than seeking to change it.


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