Introduction to Emile Durkheim's Views at Solidarity in the Society

Sociology is the study of society and how humans behave. There are many different studies that are included in the study of sociology, such as, families, culture, religion etc. Sociology is understanding how and why we behave the way we do, what shapes us to become members of society. In this essay I will be focusing on the consensus approach and conflict approach. The consensus approach is based on Emile Durkheim’s functionalism theory. I will be focusing on his theory to compare and evaluate on how to understand society.

Emile Durkheim built his ideas of functionalism ideas from Auguste Conte. Durkheim was interested in understanding the forces that hold society together. He believed when people were part of a community and share solidarity they functioned better in society. Durkheim believed every institution is vital for society. These institutions included: schools, religion, families etc. He believed without every institution, society itself will cease to exist. He compared society to the body. If one organ failed to work in the body, then the body will not function properly. You need every organ in the body to work in harmony in order for it to function, just like how he believes you need every institution to work with one another so we can all function in harmony. The institutions shape the behaviour and pass on norms and values. If we all share the same norms and values, then we will all live in harmony. Durkheim argued, as society was evolving and getting more specialised. 

One way that organic solidarity is being manipulated is in schools. As society is getting more diverse, and people from different cultures are in school together. One way to maintain social solidarity is by teaching everyone the same norms and values. Durkheim believed, teaching History was one way of making the children feel social solidarity “the teaching of history particularly valuable because it encourages young people to take pride in their country and its culture and achievements”. Functionalist believed that schools also prepared children for work in industrial societies. Pre-industrial society, children will pick up the skills from their families and often follow in their footsteps. Now, in industrial society, there are more jobs available. Schools provide the children with the knowledge they need in order to get that job instead of their parents. So, schools are playing a vital role in shaping children, getting them ready to finish their education and go to work. 

Overall, mechanical solidarity of the past was no longer working, so organic solidarity had to be manipulated to acquire social cohesion and raise the level of solidarity - it is a key to keep the society together. 

07 July 2022
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