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CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

Durkheim Lecture overview 1. Recap 2. Emile Durkheim: historical context 3. The Division of Labour in Society 4. Underlying assumptions in Durkheim’s theory 2. Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) o Sociological positivist  In a sense that he wanted to use scientific method to study crime in society  Character of society will determine the levl of crime in it  He is noted as founder of academic sociology o French intillectual  Individual  society o Structural determinism (society should be studied by this)  Should focus on how structures in society determine character of particular societies  Social structures determine character of society  Determinism- positivists focused on this o He wanted to know how ….??? o Historical context:  Paris Commune (1871) • Franc oppression war • 1st working class ruling power • Rest of France was concerned about the Paris commune (lack of social cohesion) • Fragmentation due to Paris commune • Fear remained that French lacked social order • Nationalistic approach was favoured over religious approach  Third Republic • Secular government • Removed church's influence on country • Known for secularizing education (no more religious education): uniform schooling • Durkheim supported third republic o Durkheim was a professor and proposed moral education (non-physical values) o Moral education  Basis of our value system  Suggested that moral education can socialize students to be members of society  Punishment was therefore based on moral education o National unity and social cohesion o Societies bind themselves into single unit  Canada ex: civics class, hockey, as a nation we unite around national sports and a food chain  Durkheim interested in what keeps society together 3. The division of labour in society o Role of law as national unity :  As societies evolve they will undergo changes in social solidary o Social solidarity refers to an integrated system of social relations, social practices and social norms  Pattern of social organization integrated in social relations practices and norms o What holds society together?  Crime holds society together because it provides an opportunity for punishment. Punishment functions as a ritualistic celebration and reaffirmation of social solidarity.  Crime has a positive social function for Durkheim  Punishment- collective vengeful response that will ..??.. and will teach society social norms  Punishment for Bec was meant to act on the criminal to deter person  Lombroso punishment acts on criminal through incapacitation or rehabilitation Durkheim it acts on law-abiding public (have an effect on morally upright citizens of society) o The public's moral outrage will provide the dynamic for punitive response  This would be an expression of collective consciousness o Durkheim suggests we have: 1. Individual consciousness that helps constitute us as individual personality 2. Collective consciousness : states of feelings that are common to whole of society so this collective consciousness represents shared mental and oral outlook organized around social norms o On-lookers  ‘We may state that punishment is above all intended to have its effect upon honest people’ (excerpt p. 63/course kit p.109) Conscience collective o Ambiguous translation of conscience :  Conscience ( include a moral and emotional) + consciousness ( and also include cognitive)  Not everything in conscience collective is conscious o Is the ‘totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of a society’ (pp. 38-39/p. 97 ) o Can also include unconscious (latent) sentiments  We have beliefs that are not fully formed and therefore is not a fully conscious and rational entity o Is a social fact  It naturally exists  Durkheim treats conscience collective as a given and doesn't provide the story of emergence of conscience collective. Tells us the content of conscience collective would change as societies evolve  The reason we don’t know has to do with his methods o Durkheim is interested effects not origins  Punishment is important cause of effects  Doesn't consider intent or causal entities What is crime? o ‘An act is criminal when it offends the strong, well-defined states of the collective consciousness’ (p. 39/97). o ‘We should not say that an act offends the common consciousness because it is criminal, but that it is criminal because it offends that consciousness. We do not condemn it because it is a crime, but it is a crime because we condemn it’ (p. 40/98) o Durkheim is disentangling cause and effect o Crime is only a crime when affects collective consciousness so we need collective consciousness before there can be crimes that offend it o Collective consciousness explains why something is criminal o Says there are crimes who don’t have the CC o Crimes against the state  The state as society’s ‘brain’  State has a main function to defend collective conscious against its enemies  State is a living expression of the CC  An act of treason ag. State is an attack on CC, and therefore that act is a crime.  Through this logic he concludes that acts against state are crimes because they effect the CC o Crime is a normal and necessary feature of society  Crime- necessary for proper function of society, it keeps our society healthy  Lombroso thinks crime is abnormal and Bec thinks crime is a normal inclination amongst self- interested individuals that need to be eliminated  Durkheim thinks of society as unit of analysis rather than the individual  Crime has existed in both poverty and prosperity  It is impossible to imagine society where crime is entirely absent • Every society has crime  Crime entails same effect everywhere  Durkheim- highlights universality of crime • Universal because provokes same reaction everywhere • Durkheim is a good positivist because he provides a scientific theory that can be provided to every society (his theory was meant to be universal)  ‘However numerous its varieties, crime is essentially the same everywhere, since everywhere it entails the same consequence, that is punishment’ (p. 42/99) How does crime contribute to social solidarity? o by provoking punishment as a soldiery reaction and provides social cohesion and reaffirms CC o Crime and punishment have important functions of : 1. Boundary-setting function 2. Group solidarity function 3. Adaptation (innovation) function 4. Tension-reducing function o When crime is punished, public is informed of the moral and social boundaries that should not be crossed : you're guaranteed to be punished if you cross boundary o Tells us what moral and social norms of society are o Punishment is symbolic to moral values of society o Crime unites us against a common enemy (common enemy being the criminal )  We are strengthening bonds of our community by having this common enemy and will therefore have a stronger community and therefore a stronger society. o Adaptation or innovation function  With this he tries to explain changes in attitudes towards crime  Believes that crime can move society forward by helping society adapt and be more flexible to changing environments  Adaptive function of crime is what will allow society to change its rules (esp. during times of social changes)  We have different norms and values because we all have different jobs in society  Adaptive function is a demonstration that not everyone in society is alike ( we don’t all agree on what is right/wrong). If we all believed in the same things we would have universal conformity which is harmful because it suppresses creative and independent thinking therefore someone who commits crime is not conformity to society  Society had internal tensions …. Maintain natural .. Anomie o Greek nomos (law and norms) o Anomie is a state of normlessness or lawlessness  Some societies are most likely to be inflicted by this problem  Advanced industrial societies are likely to be effected by anomie • There is too much individualism and therefore too much detachment fr. CC • Anomie also effects society in transition between different forms - may have state of normalness bc. Its transitioning between one mind of society to another society with its own different kind of norms o Anomie might produce crime and suicide o Counteracted by: 1. moral education 2. crime and punishment o When someone commits crime, people are re-educated about norms of society and we can correct for this normlessness, which will in turn correct society's problems 4. Underlying assumptions 1. Society = nation-state o There is slippage between his idea of society and the idea of nation-state o In society you are a member of the nation state and therefore you are going to display basic resemblances and that is the reason for social cohesion o If you live in society you are nationalistic and prefer national unity o This means that for durk. There is only one inbreed ( a social grp. With which a social member identifies)  You therefore feel a … of psychological … ?? o ‘Not only do fellow-citizens like one another, seeking one another out in preference to foreigners, but they love their country’ (p. 60/108) o Only one in-group  Out- groups are foreigners  We live in a multicultural society where there are many out groups to which people identify with Underlying assumptions 1. Biological metaphors and social evolution o ‘It would be like the biologist whose definition of living phenomena would be very inexact if he had scorned to observe single-cell entities. If he had looked at organisms alone – and particularly the higher organisms – he would have wrongly concluded that life consists essentially in the organization of cells’ (excerpt p. 32/course kit p. 94)  Conceptual metaphor: one idea articulated in the terms of another conceptual domain • Functions as a short form of explanation of an entire theory • You articulate one idea in a conceptual idea of another • He is articulating society the way biology is studied  Society as a social organism: single-cell vs. higher, multi-cellular organism  We cannot understand complex social organisms unless we go back in time and study its primitive forms when it was a single cell
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