Durkheim

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Durkheim and Comte:

  • People who influenced him were Comte and Spencer: 

Comte: 1798-1857

  • dont study individuals but relationships between them
  • consider individuals as the products of society not the other way round
  • 'positive' knowledge - Knowledge which allows us to solve problems and make improvements - not like Hegel
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Durkheim:

  • D learned from Comte that: 
  • there needed to be a new discipline for studying human relationships
  • need social sciences to study the way we are all shaped by society
  • but we also need to remember individualism and utilitarianism also: 
  • - when D was writing his thesis there ideas were enormously popular. 
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Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903)

  • An optimistic evolutionary theorist 
  • inventor of social Darwinsim 
  • Organic analogy for society 
  • Utatlitarian 
  • came up with the idea of 'survival of the fittest' 
  • also that people 'maximise pleasure and minimise pain'
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Herbert Spencer (1820 - 1903)

  • An optimistic evolutionary theorist 
  • inventor of social Darwinsim 
  • Organic analogy for society 
  • Utatlitarian 
  • came up with the idea of 'survival of the fittest' 
  • also that people 'maximise pleasure and minimise pain'
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Drukheim:

Key works: 

  • Division of labour in society 1893 
  • Suicide 1897 
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Division of labour:

  • Greater divison of labour means specialisation which can make us all better off in society. 
  • But it cannot increase the division of labour without co-operation.
  • Specialisation is a good think becasue people can concentrate on producing what they are best at. 
  • Exchange is a good thing because it allows lots of people to get access to the products of specialisation.
  • Specialisation cannot be sustained withough exchanged: everyone would starve! 
  • Exchange is a form of co-operation and Durkheim wanted to know where the will to co-operate came from.  
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Continued.

  • division of labour didnt get created by isolated individuals but by people who were already very much in contact with each other
  • this did not happen just becasue each selfish individual could see what co-operation could do for them. 
  • Couldnt explain it withough refereing to peoples feelins: 
  • 'social sentiment and social needs' 
  • before people can start dividing labout and co-operation with each other, they have to feel a bond with each other.
  • they must already have a soiety.
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quote by Durkheim:

" There is, a social life outside the whole division of labour, but which the latter presupposes. That is, indeed, what we have directly established in showing that there are societies whose cohesion is essentially due to a community of beliefs and sentiments, and it is from these societies that those whose unity is assured by the division of labout have emerged" 

(THE DIVISION OF LABOUR IN SOCIETY) 

  • Even in modern societies people share time away from work with people they identify with and its those feeling that make the modern division of labour possible. 
  • only because people identified and trusted each other that co-operation and specialisation could happen.
  • only when it really happened would people identify and trust each other as they could see co-operation was good for all of them.
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....

  • the specialised division of labour does not start off with self-sufficient maximisers. 
  • starts off with people who identify with each other and only later does everyone work out they have a special function and everyone depends on everyone else. 
  • however dont capitlaist sometimes want to join forces to rule instead of competinig and individuals.
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more...

  • just as Comte demanded, in Durks theory individual life is born from collective life.
  • becasue we have a complexdivison of labour that people feel they are individuals, each fulfilling their special function. 
  • they wouldnt feel this way if they had been brought up in society with a les complex division of labour
  • also should feel its right that other people rely on them and they rely on others.
  • if they dont a society with a complex division of labour may get into trouble. 
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Durkheim quotes: from the division of labour:

" social phenomena are born, not in individual, but in the group. whatever part they may take in their origin, each of us recives them from without"

 

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