Durkheim's Divison of Labor to Term Paper

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Nowadays, students have to choose between different academic disciplines: maybe one student prefers to be a psychologist rather than a physician. And then once the student has decided on psychology, he must choose, for example, to be a psychology major, as opposed to a physician major. Further more, there are even different categories within disciplines: social psychology, organizational psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology etc., each with its own concepts, terminology and methods. As in many other areas of activity, the division of labor in modern academia was a necessary phenomenon in the modern society given the economic and social conditions of the modern world, when the aim of education is to prepare students for different specializations and then, through working, interdependence and collaboration is necessary in order to reach the goal and obtain the wanted results. Durkheim's theory division of labor depicts the fact that in a society based on the members' dissimilarity, co-operation is essential and, finally, this is what characterises modern society.

Regarding those differences between individuals and specialization at work (each individual has specific skills and abilities in order to assume his responsibilities) Durkheim focused on the correlation between division of labor, individualism and co-operation. "If an individual's actions and ideas are fully congruent with those characterizing his group, Durkheim refers to "altruism" - a term that, accordingly, lacks the ordinary connotation of unselfishness and, rather, means extreme conformism. If the individual's actions and ideas are entirely unlike those of his group, Durkheim the researcher talks of "egoism," again outside the ordinary meaning of selfishness and denoting here extreme individualism." Durkheim used the term "individualism" to describe the differences in groups and the way they think and act. On the other hand, differentiated communities are bound together by these differences within a group which need mutual dependence on its members' specialised functions (we need doctors toe keep us healthy, the same way we need construction engineers to have a house to live in and the examples could infinitely continue).

Given those differences, in Durkheim's vision, cooperation and interdependence are needed and "is produced by people following their own interests, and as each individual "devote[s] himself to one special function to discover that inevitably he is solidly linked to other people." From an opposite position, Karl Marx believed that to obtain a social change and a better society there must be a class conflict: the opposition between the capitalists (known as the bourgeoisie) and the working class (known as the proletariat).

Marx studied industrial capitalism, seeking to show how the laborer is exploited by capitalists and alienated from his basic humanity, concluding that alienation and is associated with division of labor. On the contrary, Durkheim had a strong structural view of society: he viewed that the division of labor doesn't cause conflicts (as Marx asserted) and doesn't result in a disintegration of society and he focussed on the relation between division of labor, social harmony and modern society. Durkheim also depicted other consequences of the division of labor: it makes us more individualistic. "Thus, differentiation in these complex societies gives birth to a new kind of human being: "a personality of his own, with his own opinions, his own religion, and his own lifestyle." Individual rights and the encouragement of individual action and initiative give an individual self-worth.

Bibliography

Clyde Hudgins, Clyde, Richards, Michael. G. Individual, Family and Community: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Contemporary Life. Introduction. http://www.accd.edu/sac/interdis/2370/intro.html

Comparative Political Systems. Lecture #2 - Theoretical Antecedents - Marx, Weber, & Durkheim. www.towson.edu/~roberts/339/A02marx.doc

Durkheim, Emile. The Division of Labor in Society Translated by George Simpson. New York: The Free Press, 1933

Grabb, Edward G. Theories of Social Inequality: Classical and Contemporary

Perspectives, second edition, Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1990

Sociology 318. http: / / uregina.ca/~ gingrich/318o2302.htm

The Division of Labor. http://durkheim.itgo.com/divisionoflabor.html

Zetterberg, Hans L. Social differentiation and anomie: emile Durkheim. http://www.zetterberg.org/Books/b93e_Soc/b93eCh5.htm

Comparative Political Systems. Lecture #2 - Theoretical Antecedents - Marx, Weber, & Durkheim." 2003. Towson University. 22 Nov. 2006. www.towson.edu/~roberts/339/A02marx.doc

Durkheim, Emile. The Division of Labor in Society Translated by George Simpson. New York: The Free Press, 1933. p. 200

The Division of Labor." Emile Durkheim Archive. 2003. The Bettmann Archive. 22 Nov. 2006 http://durkheim.itgo.com/divisionoflabor.html

Grabb, Edward G. "Theories of Social Inequality: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives" second edition, Toronto: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1990. p. 79

Sociology 318." Web site of Paul Gingrich. 23 Oct. 2002. 22. University of Regina. Department of Sociology and Social Studies. Nov. 2006 http://uregina.ca/~gingrich/318o2302.htm

The Division of Labor." Emile Durkheim Archive. 2003. The Bettmann Archive. 22 Nov. 2006 http://durkheim.itgo.com/divisionoflabor.html

Zetterberg, Hans L. "Social differentiation and anomie: emile Durkheim." European Proponents of Sociology Prior to World War I. 1993. [Page under construction]. 23 Nov. 2006 http://www.zetterberg.org/Books/b93e_Soc/b93eCh5.htm

Ibidem

Clyde Hudgins, Clyde, Richards, Michael. G. "Individual, Family and Community: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Contemporary Life. Introduction." 2000. San Antonio College. 23 Nov. 2006 http://www.accd.edu/sac/interdis/2370/intro.html

Ibidem

Zetterberg, Hans L. "Social differentiation and anomie: emile Durkheim." European Proponents of Sociology Prior to World War I. 1993. [Page under construction]. 23 Nov. 2006 http://www.zetterberg.org/Books/b93e_Soc/b93eCh5.htm

Clyde Hudgins, Clyde, Richards, Michael. G. "Individual, Family and Community: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Study of Contemporary Life. Introduction." 2000. San Antonio College. 23 Nov. 2006 http://www.accd.edu/sac/interdis/2370/intro.html

Zetterberg, Hans L. "Social differentiation and anomie: emile Durkheim." European Proponents of Sociology Prior to World War I. 1993. [Page under construction]. 23 Nov. 2006 http://www.zetterberg.org/Books/b93e_Soc/b93eCh5.htm[continue]

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