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Chapter 6- Durkheim.docx

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Sociology 2240E
Charles Levine

Chapter 6- Durkheim -2 main themes: priority of social order over the individual and society can be studied scientifically -society is made up of ‘social facts’ that must be studied through observations and measurements -often seen as the father of soc -to separate soc from philosophy, he argued that soc should be oriented toward empirical research -attacked Comte and Spencer for relying on preconceived ideas of social phenomena instead of actually studying the world Social Facts: -distinctive subject matter of soc should be the study of social facts -social facts are the social structures, cultural norms and values that are external to actors -social facts should be treated as ‘things’ and studied empirically -2 ways of defining a social fact, one by external constraint rather than an internal drive, two by general throughout society not attached to an individual -referred to social facts with suigeneris- meaning unique -social facts have unique character not reducible to individual consciousness -social facts can only be explained by other social facts -language is a social fact- it is a thing that must be studied empirically, it is external to the individual, coercive of the individual, changes in language can only be explained by other social facts and never an individual’s intentions Material Social Facts: -are directly observable ie: styles of architecture, forms of technology Non-Material Social Facts -powerful reaim of moral forces ie: norms and values -found in the minds of the individual -have their own level of reality ‘relational realism’ -morphological facts- most material things ie: population size/density, housing, etc. -structural component- mixture of morphological components and nonmaterial social facts -he was concerned for moral health of modern society -he didn’t think society was immoral because if the collective interest of society became only self-interest it could lose its moral force -if society doesn’t limit us, we will always want more -collective conscious- occurs throughout a given society, it is independent and capable of determining other social facts, ‘realized’ through individual consciousness, its general structure of shared understandings, norms and beliefs -collective representations- collective concepts and social force ir: religious symbol, myths, etc. ways in which society reflects on itself, they emerge out of social interactions, studied more directly because they are connected to material symbols -social currents- social facts which do not present themselves in a crystalized form, can’t be reduced to the individual, viewed as sets of meanings that are shared by the members of a collectivity and can only be explained intersubjectively in terms of interactions between individuals, exists at the level of interactions not at the level of individuals, the complexity of interactions between individuals cause a new level of reality to emerge that can’t be explained in terms of the individual The Division of Labor in Society -traced the development of relation between individual and society -examined the modern crisis of morality because in the mid 19 century people thought only of themselves NOT society -the division of labor happens when different people are assigned specialized tasks, they no longer share common experiences -the division of labor in society can be seen as a refutation to Comte’s analysis that soc should create a new pseudo-religion that would reinstate social cohesion -division of labor creates a new social morality -division of labor pulls together society by forcing them to be dependent on each other -mechanical solidarity- all people are generalists, all people have similar responsibilities and activities -organic solidarity- held together by the differences among people, different responses and tasks -modern society is held together by the specialization of people -primitive societies have a greater collective conscious because of the shared norms, beliefs, etc. -modern society has division of labor holding it together with no collective conscience -Giddens says collective conscience can be differentiated on 4 dimensions: 1. Volume- the number of people enveloped by the collective conscience 2. Intensity- how deeply individuals feel about it 3. Rigidity- how clearly it can be defines 4. Content- form the collective conscience takes in the two types of society -dynamic density- transition from mechanical to organic solidarity, the number of people in a society and the amount of interaction -division of labor allows little conflict with each other and greater efficiency -organic solidarity allows less competition and more differentiation, more cooperation -society with mechanical solidarity is characterized by repressive law, people are very similar, believe in a common morality -society with organic solidarity is characterized by repressive law, offences committed against a particular individual -‘abnormal’ forms that the divison of labor can take: anomic, forced or poorly coordinated -anomic division of labor has a lack of regulation in a society, isolates the individual, doesn’t tell people what to do, prone to become this in times of social and economic crises -forced division of labor can lead to conflict, isolation and increase anomie -poorly coordinated division of labor functions by certain people are poorly coordinated -Durkheim most important reason for studying suicide was to prove the power of the new science of soc -2 ways of evaluating suicide rates: one compare different societies (cross-culturally) and two in the same society over time (historically) -differences in suicide rates were to be found in the differences at the level of social facts, social currents affect individual decisions about suicide -integration- strength of attachment we have to society -regulation- degree of external constraint on people 4 types of suicide: 1. Egoistic suicide- found in societies where the individual is not well integrated into the larger social unit, society is not part of the individual, lacking moral support, leads to depression, Protestants emphasis individuality not community therefore are more likely to become this a
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