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Lecture 4

Lecture 4- Durkheim vs. Tarde

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McGill University
ANTH 222
Ronald Niezen

ambiguity about where modern societyindustrial society is goingbegin to see in the foundational texts of anthropology and sociology an element of critique of modernityconsider the authors Durkheim and Tarderadically different positions on the origins of society and the science of societies very different conceptions of societyTarde is less wellknown but his stuff is growing in popularityhow to understand societys construction instead of just taking it for granted human dynamics and asking questions about how society originates through processes of communication and globalization his conception of society fell into oblivionsociety the state or condition of living in company with other people the system of customs and organization adopted by a group of people for harmonious coexistence or mutual benefit OEDtakes place within a system of customs and organization which is importanthow people arrive at developing relations with society how society itself emergesDurkheim on social consciencewrote three very influential booksIt is not ourself but society living and acting within ushumans are made up of two beings an individual being that originates in the organism and whose sphere of action is strictly limited by this fact and a social being that represents within us the higher reality of the intellectual and morel order that we know through observationby which I mean societyhe privileges the social being as the source of freedomfor him society was everything and the individual was basically subject to this higher powerSociety consists of real living active forces which because of the way they determine the individual prove their independence of him Durkheim The Division of Labour in SocietyEvery precept of law can be defined as a rule of sanctioned conductThe juridicial conceptions of the most inferior societies are no less significant than those of the most elevated societiesThus the biologist would have given vital phenomenon a very inexact definition if he had disdained to observe mono cellular organismsanalogy here is that primitive simpler societies were those that can tell you about the foundations and structural makeup of societyexperiment to look at ethnographic material from primitive societies to see how humans were in older times before institutions were developedgrand comparison between modern and premodernrepressive sanctions inflict suffering or at least loss on the agent They make demands on his fortune or on his honour or on his life or on his liberty and deprive him of something he enjoysthought that when we go far back in time we have a much greater incidence of and scope for repressive sanctions and punishment for people responsible to breach of conduct the relations which are regulated by restitutive law are of a totally different character from those of penal law they express a positive union a cooperation which derives in essentials from the division of labour the conclusions that most people draw are the opposite of Durkheims they see trend towards restorative relationships reestablishing relationships that work mechanical solidarity Originally society is everything the individual nothing Consequentially the strongest social feelings are those connecting the individual with the collectivity society is its own aimBut gradually things change As societies become greater in volume and density they increase in complexity work is divided individual difference multiply and the moment approaches when the only remaining bond among the members of a single human group will be that they are all men in primitive society we do not have this development of different functions that produce society but we have elements that are similarthe individual is absorbed into the societysociety is uniform and allpowerful but things gradually changeas societies become greater in volume they become more complex and detailed until the only common bond for us is that we are all men humancritique of modernity because as society becomes greater in volume and density the bonds that unite the individual to society are weakened people are very often cast on their own the moorings are cut they have to find their own waythis kind of loss of attachment becomes a principle source of human misery and is reflected in institutional failurein primitive societies wherethe law is wholly penal it is the assembly of the people which renders justiceAn act is criminal when it offends strong and defined states of the collective conscienceThe further we look into the past the smaller becomes this difference between man and woman The woman of past days was not al all the weak creature that she has become with the progress of moralitysees them as fainting and succumbing to the vapours that they are fanciful and weaksees this as a function of the division of labour and how it affects the individualreflects the gender prejudices of Durkheims society and what he thought the power of society was the collective conscience is shared similarly and in similarly powerful ways by every member of that primitive society meaning it will have profound consequences on everyoneorganic solidarity as defined through legal comparison While repressive law tends to remain diffuse within society restitutive law creates organs which are more and more specialized consular tribunals councils of arbitration administrative tribunals of every sot Even in its most general part that which pertains to civil law it is exercised only through particular functionaries magistrates lawyers etc who have become apt in this role because of very special trainingmore and more s
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