Durkheim's Point of View on the Division of Labor | My Paper Hub
have been developed to explain t...
have been developed to explain the inequalities that exist in the society. One
notable theorist is Durkheim, who with his theory of division of labor
explained how various factors led to the solidarity and inequalities in
societies. He uses organic and mechanical solidarity to explain the cohesion
that exists between modern and traditional societies. This article goes ahead
to compare and contrast the views of Durkheim and Marx on inequalities in the
according to Durkheim refers to the presence or existence of unequal
opportunities and rewards for the different social status or positions in the
society or within groups. Social inequality has various dimensions that define
inequality in the society. Some of these dimensions include wealth, income,
ethnicity, race, power, education, ancestry and occupational prestige. On the
other hand, natural inequality can be described as the difference that occurs
between one’s man physical effort or strength and that of the other person. It
could also mean the differentiations that exist among individuals in terms of
ability or effort. Therefore, the striking difference between social and
natural inequality is that social inequality deals more with the society,
unlike natural inequality which emphasizes on the individual. Another
difference is that social inequality emphasizes more on power, economic and
social status and it is likely to result into anomic division of labor. Organic
solidarity arises from the interdependence that comes from the specialization
of work and complementarities that exist between individuals. Therefore,
social inequality tends to compromise organic solidarity because stratification
in terms of power, economic and social status is bound to cause discontentment
among individuals thus compromising solidarity. Spontaneity refers to the
quality of happening without apparent external cause. For organic solidarity to
exist, the various components that rely on one another must work harmoniously
to create solidarity. Therefore, this interaction of the different components
should be self-reliance, and this is where spontaneity relates to organic
solidarity. The absence of spontaneity leads to existence of external
inequalities which can further hinder organic solidarity. It is evident that
organic solidarity comes about when cohesion is created by the dependency of
individuals on each other due to high specialization. External inequality would
mean individuals possessing qualities that they lack through dubious ways to
have an upper hand over the rest of the people in the society. When this
occurs, other people will feel disadvantaged, and there is bound to be
disequilibrium in the status quo. Therefore, to achieve organic solidarity, the
issue of external inequality needs to be resolved to ensure spontaneity is
achieved. It will help to maintain order and stability that arises from the
various components that unite to achieve organic solidarity (Durkheim,
External inequalities tend to result into social inequalities which compromise
Division of labor
is described as the allocation of different elements, parts of a manufacturing
process or task in different individuals to achieve or improve efficiency.
Thus, nonspontaneous inequality can be described as the inequality which is not
self-generated and, therefore, has an external influence. Additionally,
regarding the division of labor nonspontaneous inequality is bound to lead to
forced division of labor or unusual form of division of labor. For organic
solidarity to exist, it is evident that the various components that depend on
one another must coexist spontaneously. When spontaneity occurs then, organic
solidarity will exist naturally, and division of labor will be realized.
According to Durkheim, all inequality is incompatible with organic unity. It
can be supported by various statements in the passage. One instance where this
argument has been backed up in the passage is when Durkheim says the division
of labor produces solidarity when it is spontaneous. It goes further to
highlight the meaning of spontaneity by stating that it is not only the absence
of deliberate violence but also anything that may hinder free unfolding of the
social force contained within individuals. Finally, to reinforce the argument
that all inequality is incompatible with organic solidarity, Durkheim has
summarized by noting that sufficient and necessary conditions require that the
differences should not be played down nor emphasized through external cause if
organic solidarity is to be achieved. Natural inequality should be promoted in
order to foster organic solidarity. This form of solidarity only exists under
two conditions, that is, there must be a system of solidary organs and secondly
the interaction of the organs must be predetermined. In addition, anomic forms
of division of labor that fails to bring solidarity are cases of industrial or
commercial crises, conflict between labor and capital and lack of unity in the
sciences. Therefore, this is enough evidence that for Durkheim organic
solidarity is not possible with social inequalities.
The difference in both the works of Durkheim and Marx explains broadly the
stratification that exists in the society. Durkheim has dwelt on solidarity to
describe stratification in modern societies. He notes that as the society
evolves as a result of modernization solidarity moves from mechanical to
organic. Organic solidarity refers to the cohesion that is based on the
dependence people have on one another. He goes ahead to mention how the
evolution of societies eventually leads to a state where occupational groups
function as social organizations because they are based on similarity of labor.
Therefore, with time these professional bodies are bound to replace normative
features that once were exercised by institutions such as the family,
community, and religion. Further, on division of labor the significance of
natural inequality has been depicted to be the backbone of organic solidarity and
not social inequality which is bound to lead to conflicts and discontentment in
the society. It may result from power struggles, economic and social
inequalities. Marx on the other hand advances the thought of class struggle as
the source of inequality in the society. According to him, there are two
groups, those that own the means of production called bourgeoisie ad those who
sell their labor called proletariats. Regarding their views on social and
political stability, the two theorists fail to agree. Durkheim is of the
agreement that occupational groups created as a result of organic solidarity
can lead to political and social stability. Regarding political instability
Durkheim proposes application of regulations to ensure anomic forms of division
of labor exists in the society. Marx disputes this by asserting that as long as
the two opposing classes exist, both social and political stability will be
difficult to exist because the two are always in constant conflict. Unless they
adopt an egalitarian society where everyone is equal no political or social
stability can be achieved (Tucker, 1972).
In conclusion, it is evident from Durkheim’s point of view on the division of
labor that the difference in specialization in modern societies is the backbone
of their solidarity. There ought to be natural inequality to ensure spontaneity
in organic unity. When this is realized, then the class difference in Marx
theory will not be a problem in providing solidarity exists in the society. It
is only possible when external inequalities are eliminated.
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