Sociology Answer Writing Day 3

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  • Frankenstein

    * Durkheim’s ‘The elementary forms of religious life’ is a classical example of functionalist approach in sociology. In this work, Durkheim tries to find the origin and functions of religion.

    To understand religion, Durkheim had to study it in the simplest form. Hence totemism in Arunta tribes was studied and identified as the elementary form of religion. He also reviewed the existing theories such as:
    1. Theory of Animism by EB Taylor which considered religion as spirit worship and mere illusion.
    2. Spencer’s theory of Ancestor worship.
    3. Max Mueller’s theory of Naturism which considered it as mass hallucination and as worship of natural forces out of fear.

    Durkheim criticised the existing theories based on:
    1. that they failed to distinguish sacred and profane
    2. rejecting transcendental god as the essence of religion citing exceptions of Buddhism and Confucianism
    3. He opined that if it was a supernatural force, it fell outside the purview of science.

    Durkheim explained religion as the product of group life and collective activities as the reason for religious sentiments. For example, he explained that the goal of totemism was to prevent violation of taboos which invited sanctions. Hence, totem was representative of the clan and worship of totem was indirect worship of the society.

    Durkheim defined a sacred realm which consisted of religious part and a profane realm consisting of the non-religious part. He said the ceremonies and rituals did the function of upholding the community. He elaborated the functions of religion as:
    1. Upholding social solidarity
    2. Act as a moral force
    3. Strengthen collective conscience
    4. Prevent dissolution of the society by indirectly worshiping it

    Durkheim laid the foundation of functionalism by demonstrating the functions religion does for the existence of social life. However, he has been criticised by multiple sociologists of having neglected the intellectual content and only viewing the positive functions of religion. For example, Edmund Leach identifies a mundane world in between sacred and profane while Robert K Merton points toeards the negative fallouts of religion such as promotion of hatred and conflicts.

  • Frankenstein

    * Emile Durkheim was a proponent of structural functionalism. This school says that the social structures in the society performs some functions for the sustenance of society. Durkheim, in his thesis, argues that division of labour promotes social solidarity.

    According to Durkheim, division of labour is a result of increasing population(volume of society), and increasing material (number)and moral(interaction) densities of the society. When these factors increase there is a chance of competition and rivalry which may lead to conflict. Social differentiation is the peaceful solution, which will bring social solidarity.

    Durkheim considers collective conscience as the binding force which integrates the society. It brings social solidarity. He distinguishes between two forms of solidarities: Mechanical and Organic
    1. Mechanical Solidarity:
    It is associated with resemblance i.e the individual differences are minimal. they have the same ideals, emotions and characteristics. Collective conscience prevails over individual conscience. Example: tribal societies.
    2. Organic solidarity: Here the individuals differ from each other significantly. It is a product of division of labour. Individual differences are respected and protected. And the hold of collective conscience is minimal. Example: Modern industrial societies

    To analyse the differences between the two, the example of legal system can be used. Repressive laws which are punitive, as its breach is considered an offense against collective conscience. This is associated with mechanical solidarity. While restitutive laws are associated with organic solidarity. Here the laws tries to create harmony in the society by reformation.

    Durkheim further says that social differentiation begins with disintegration of mechanical solidarity and transitions into a organic solidarity and division of labour is only a manifestation of this differentiation. He also distinguishes between Normal division of labour, which promotes solidarity and Pathological division of labour, which reduces solidarity. Pathological division of labour may result from anomie, forced labour or managerial deficiency.

    To conclude, it can be said that, in view of Emile Durkheim, division of labour evolved to bring social solidarity in a society, whose volume, moral and material densities risks its own existence. Hence, it is none other than an example of positive functionalism.

  • priyanka gupta

    The concept of division of labour was not propounded by Durkheim. It was propounded by Adam smith. Adam Smith relates the division of labour with economic activities. He said as the society become more and more complex,as the society gets industralised,the work of the society become complex . so to make the complex task simple,division of labour become necessary. Durkheim accepted the theory of Adam Smith BT he said that industrialisation is not cause behind division of labour. Division of labour exist prior to industrialisation. When the education system flourished, different streams comes into existence, division of labour started to teach different subject .
    In order to explain how the division of labour helps to bring solidarity in the society, Durkheim divided the society into two parts i.e. simple small scale society and large scale industrial society.
    Durkheim said that in small scale industrial society, the population is low.economic activities are low. Family is the unit of production as well as consumption. People’s are not depend on each other families are mechanically placed next to each other.hence such society are segmented and the solidarity is mechanical which is weaker.but in large scale industrial society .the population are increasing. Economic activities are high there is demand for good and services. There is competition in the society if the demand is not adequately full filled by supply , the competition turns into conflict. In order to produce more and more, people choose to do some specific work like some involved in agriculture, some in manufactiring,and others in services. In order to become more and more independence, they get dependent to each other. Durkheim said this dependence of the societies is like an organism, whose parts are dependent on each other. Durkeim called it as organic solidarity.
    Criticising the dukheim, Lockwood said that dukheim said only about system integration which will be high in industrial society but social integration is always high in small scale society

    • Frankenstein

      Good attempt. You’ve brought out the idea clearly. It could be better structured though.
      Please review mine. And keep writing!

      • priyanka gupta

        Thanks frankenstein

  • CIVILS 360

    Thank you for your participation guys. Unfortunately we got stuck with some unforeseen events due to technical glitches. We will be reviewing your answers by end of the day. In the mean time you guys initiate a discussion and share your ideas.
    With regards
    Civils 360

  • Thomas Milin
    • Frankenstein

      Nice answer! The comparison between the solidarities very nicely done.
      Pls review mine. Keep writing!

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