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Required Information and Knowledge for Final Exam.docx

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Western University
Sociology 2260A/B
Daphne Heywood

Durkheims Contribution to the Sociology of LawBasicsDurkheims idea that public reactions to crime can bring a community closer together and subsequently reinforce social norms and increase social consensus o Crime is a normal part of any society because it performs important functions reinforcing social norms increasing consensusDurkheim specifically reverses the jurisprudential view of law as a priori being and predicates law upon the social o Durkheims sociology is primarily directed to an analysis of society and his statements on law are secondary to thatDurkheim is most concerned with social solidarity or how society is held together o He rejected the prevailing methodological individualism that assumed the individual to be a basic starting point for the study of groupsInstead Durkheim insisted that the collective social being should serve as the starting pointSociety is independent of individuals that it molds and shapes o Understands society as prior and external to individuals o Society exercises a power of constraint over the individuals within it o Society offers a unique object for social inquiry that focuses on social factsWays of acting thinking and feeling external to the individual and supplied with the power of coercion by reason of which they control himDurkheim regarded society as an independent ritualbased order that is a composite of all consciousnessa kind of fusion of all individual consciousness that is created out of social interactions in a given historical contextCollective consciousnessthe totality of beliefs and sentiments common to the average members of society forms a determinate system with a life of its own individuals pass on but it abidesIT IS THE WHOLE THAT PRODUCES THE PARTS SOCIETY HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN QUITE INDEPENDENT OF THE MEMBERS OR GROUPS THAT IT SHAPES o Within this the interests of the whole are not necessarily those of the partthis means that society cannot be formed or maintained without individuals making perpetual and costly sacrificesMost of our consciousness would not have occurred among men isolated from one another society creates individuals and their consciousness o The determining cause of any social fact should never be sought from states of individual consciousness rather the cause of one social factor should be found in anotherScience Morality and Social SolidarityDurkheim did not share Comtes faith that modern society was advancing in a progressive direction o His science of society was drawn to the cause by empirically analyzing social facts and various social interactionsHe found that when people joined together in a common purpose or around events that they denounce in unison emotions and opinions are exchanged in ways that sometimes strengthen into a collectively constraining force that is greater than any one individualEx Canadians singing their anthemEarly small cohesive groups divide tasks in simple waysmore population more strangers population spreads into a larger geographic areamembers become more specialized in their laborcollective consciousness diversifies contents become less tangible coalescing around abstractions like justice and fairnessreliance on each other binds people closer together a differentiated division of labor in fact strengthens society because socially produced individuals depend on the specialized tasks performed by others to surviveAs above Durkheim analyzes the organizational structure of traditional societies by comparing them with more advanced societies focusing on the different ways in which each achieves social solidarity o Yet for him we cannot directly measure social solidarity for it is a wholly moral phenomenon which by itself is not amendable to exact observation or measurementWe must therefore find an external factor that symbolizes the morality of social solidarity in a given society this factor is law for is offers a general indicator of moral feelings within a society
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