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Who is Émile Durkheim?

He is (born April 15, 1858, Épinal, France—died November 15, 1917, Paris), French social
scientist who developed a vigorous methodology combining empirical research with
sociological theory. He is widely regarded as the founder of the French school of sociology.

Contribution and ideas of Emile Durkheim


Society Structure & Social Facts

Emile Durkheim was a well-known sociologist famous for his views on the structure of
society. His work focused on how traditional and modern societies evolved and function.
Durkheim's theories were founded on the concept of social facts, defined as the norms,
values, and structures of society.

This perspective of society differed from other sociologists of his era as Durkheim's
theories were founded on things external in nature, as opposed to those internal in nature,
such as the motivations and desires of individuals. According to Durkheim, collective
consciousness, values, and rules are critical to a functional society. We will focus on
Durkheim's theories of functionalism, anomie, and division of labor.

Functionalism

Functionalism emphasizes a societal equilibrium. If something happens to disrupt the


order and the flow of the system, society must adjust to achieve a stable state. According to
Durkheim, society should be analyzed and described in terms of functions. Society is a
system of interrelated parts where no one part can function without the other. These parts
make up the whole of society. If one part changes, it has an impact on society as a whole.

For example, the state provides public education for children. The family of the
children pays taxes, which the state uses for public education. The children who learn from
public education go on to become law-abiding and working citizens, who pay taxes to
support the state.
Let's look at this example again. The state provides public education for children. But a
disruption or disequilibrium in the system occurs - perhaps the education is subpar, and the
children drop out and become criminals. The system adjusts to improve the education and
attempts to rehabilitate (through jail or other means) the criminals for them to become law-
abiding and taxpaying citizens.

Durkheim actually viewed crime and delinquent behavior as a normal and necessary
occurrence in the social system. He proposed that crime led to reactions from society about
the crime. These shared reactions were used to create common consensuses of what
individuals felt were moral and ethical norms by which to abide. These commonly held
norms and values led to boundaries and rules for the society.

Division of Labor

Durkheim's concept of the division of labor focused on the shift in societies from a
simple society to one that is more complex. He argued that traditional societies were made
up of homogenous people that were more or less the same in terms of values, religious
beliefs, and backgrounds. Modern societies, in contrast, are made up of a complex division of
labor, beliefs, and backgrounds.

In traditional societies, the collective consciousness ruled, social norms were strong,
and social behavior was well regulated. In modern societies, common consciousness was less
obvious, and the regulation of social behavior was less punitive and more restitutive, aiming
to restore normal activity to society.

Mechanical & Organic Solidarity

Mechanical solidarity occurs when individuals within structural units are alike and
self-sufficient. For example, in traditional societies, people grew their own food, made their
own clothes, and had little need for extensive social contact with others because they did not
have to rely on others for daily needs.
Organic solidarity is when a large population is stratified into smaller structural unit.
There’s high level of interdependence among individual and structures, but there’s still a
division of people along the lines of labor or type
Durkheim recognized that things like increased communication, transportation and
interaction with others resulted in the social change from mechanical solidarity to organic.
If society evolve too quickly from tradition to modern, a breakdown of norms and collective
consciousness occur. The concept of community and social constraints becomes weakened,
and leads to disorder, crisis and anomie.

How he changed the present?


Emile Durkheim has a big impact in the development of the society. His major
contribution to society was his thinking about how society is held together. Earlier thinkers
had realized that there had to be something holding society together, but Durkheim was the
first to study this phenomenon carefully. Durkheim argued that there were two different
kinds of solidarity among people in a society. The first type of solidarity appeared in more
traditional societies. In these societies, all of the people are of the same ethnic group, the
same religion, and the same culture. They are all similar to one another and that similarity
holds them together as a society. Durkheim called this “mechanical solidarity.” In more
modern societies, however, very different kinds of people are thrown together and expected
to live together. It is not at all clear what holds them together when they are so different.
Durkheim says that “organic solidarity” holds them together. By this, he means that people
need each other in an economic sense. They depend on one another to keep their economy
functioning. This binds them together even though they do not hold all of their values in
common. This idea was Durkheim’s main contribution to sociology, but it was not his only
one. He also pioneered the use of statistics in sociology and he argued that society is a moral
entity, not just a group of human beings acting in their rational self-interest. All of these are
important contributions to sociology. His ideas helps modern period to think that each
member of the society has a function like his idea in functionalism.
Path of David Emile Durkheim
David Émile Durkheim is regarded as the principal architect of modern social science
and father of sociology. Born into a family of a long line of rabbis, he broke away from the
Jewish tradition and produced many secular works. His first major sociological work, ‘The
Division of Labor in Society’, discussed how modern society is held together by a division of
labor that makes individuals dependent upon one another. In ‘Rules of the Sociological
Method’, he put forward the need for scientific approach in the study of sociology, a
revolutionary thought in that period of time. He set up the first European department of
sociology and became France's first professor of sociology and also established the journal
L'Année Sociologique. His monograph ‘Suicide’, a study of suicide rates in Catholic and
Protestant populations, elevated sociology to the status of science. In his ‘The Elementary
Forms of Religious Life’, he presented a theory of religion, comparing the social and cultural
lives of aboriginal and modern societies. He also expressed his views on individualism,
differentiating between egoism and moral individualism. He remained a dominant force in
French intellectual life until his death, presenting numerous lectures and published works on
a variety of topics, including the sociology of knowledge, morality, religion, law, and
education.

As a Social Scientist
A social scientist are people who study of human society and of individual
relationships in and to society. Social scientist are those people who study A scholarly or
scientific discipline that deals with such study, generally regarded as including sociology,
psychology, anthropology, economics, political science, and history
If I become a social scientist , I will also think of something that will make our society
be better especially in economic status because I believe that if it stable it means the society
itself are healthy to stay with. I want to make legacy that will help each of the member of the
society open for progress and development .I will also suggest Ideas to the problem that we
are facing right now which is the poverty. I conclude ideas that their should be a law that will
help the individual within a society. I will also give prior for the education which is one of
the reason to make change. I will also allowed communication(as an linguistic ) and
transaction to the other society for the needs.
I will take a look for the government movement (political scientist) ,if the people
within are responsible for change . I remember that as of this generation ,Teenagers are more
likely to used drugs .I will suggest that there must be a program and seminar .I see how the
rate of teenage pregnancy has increase ,let them know how to control feelings .I say that the
program should also talks about the early teenage program which discuss about their
desire , how they think of something , how to control their id, ego and super
ego .(psychology)
I will also take to look back and see how did the society make a progress(history). I
will make progress for the better and not only for myself but also for my society.