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Chapter 6

SOC*2700 Chapter 6

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SOC 2700
C Yule

Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 Chapter 6: Durkheim, Anomie, and Modernization - Emile Durkheim argued that inequality is a natural and inevitable human condition that is not associated with social maladies, such as crimes, unless there is also a break- down of social norms or rules - this breakdown is called “anomie” - argued it had occurred in his own society as a result of the rapid social changes ac- company the modernization process - in part a reaction to the classical assumptions that humans were free and rational in a contractual society - focus on society and its organization and development - Robert Merton revised Durkheim’s conception of anomie and applied it directly to American society - strain theories - Travis Hirschi used Durkheim’s theory of anomie as the basis of his control theory - Durkheim’s view of “crime as normal” is the basis for social reaction views of the law- enactment process Emile Durkheim - “one of the best know and one of the least understood major social thinkers” - sociology had been developed by August Comte in the first half of the 19th century largely in response to the effects the French Revolution and by the rapid industrialization of French society - it was part of a more general effort to construct a rational society out of the ruins of the traditional one - sociologists saw themselves providing a rational, scientific analysis of the monumental social changes that were occurring in order to “mastermind the political course of ‘social regression’” - Durkheim’s analysis of the processes of social change involved in industrialization is presented in his first major work “The Division of Labor in Society”, here he described these processes as part of the development from the more primitive “mechanical” form of society into the more advanced “organic” form - in the mechanical form, each social group in society is relatively isolated from all other social groups and is basically self-sufficient - individual live largely under identical circumstances, there is little division of labour, lit- tle need for individual talents and the solidarity of the society is based on the uniformity of its members Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 - the organic society has different segments that depend on each other in a highly orga- nized division of labour, diversity of functions - all societies were at some stage between the mechanical and organic - laws maintain the social solidarity of the 2 societies but in different ways - in the mechanical society, law enforces the uniformity of the members of the social group and thus is oriented toward repressing any deviation form the norms of the time - in the organic society, laws regulates the interactions of the various parts of society and provides restitution in cases of wrongful transactions - because law plays such different roles, crime appears in different forms - societies that remain mechanical are pathologically overcontrolling crime - as societies move toward more organic, it is possible for a pathological state (anomie) to occur, producing social maladies (crime) - in his second major work, “The Rules of the Sociological Method” he developed the concept that crime is normal Crime as Normal in Mechanical Societies - all uniformity that exists in a society is the “totality of social likenesses” or the “collec- tive conscience” - “there cannot be a society in which the individuals do not differ more or less from the collective type” - solidarity will come from pressure for uniformity exerted against diversity - strongest form of pressure consists of criminal sanctions, - “society cannot be formed without our being required to make perpetual and costly sacrifices” - these sacrifices are the price of membership in society, fulfilling the demands gives the individual members a sense of collective identity, an important source of social solidarity - these demands are constructed so that it is inevitable that a certain number of people will not fulfill them - this enables the large mass of the people, all of whom fulfill the demands of the collec- tive conscience, to feel a sense of moral superiority, identifying themselves as good and righteous - the primary source of social solidarity - criminals play an important role in maintaining social solidarity - the punishment of criminals plays a role in the maintenance of social solidarity - it maintains the allegiance of average citizens to the social structure, without it they may lost their commitment to society Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 - punishment is a visible, societal expression of the inferiority and blameworthiness of the criminal group - crime itself is normal because there is no clearly marked dividing line between behav- iours that are considered criminal and those that are considered morally reprehensible or merely in bad taste - a society without crime is impossible - if all the behaviours that err presently defined as criminal no longer occurred, new behaviours would be placed in the crime category - crime is inevitable because there is an inevitable diversity of behaviour in society - the abnormal or pathological state of society would be one in which there was no crime - if crime is eliminated so is the possibility of progressive social change - social change is usually introduced by opposing the constraints of the collective con- science - in the same way, individual growth cannot occur in a child unless it is possible for that child to misbehave Anomie As a Pathological State in Organic Societies - to the extent that a society is organic, the function of law is to regulate the interactions of the whole - if this regulation is inadequate, anomie will occur - in “Le Suicide” Durkheim expanded and generalized his notion of anomie - he showed that suicide rates tend to increase sharply in both periods of economic de- cline and of economic growth - Durkheim proposed that society functions to regulate not only the economic interaction of its various components, but how the individual perceives his or her own needs - the theory of anomie began with a comparison of animal and human nature - appetites in animals are naturally limited by the physical body - animals with full stomachs and safe warm places to sleep feel satisfied, but humans have active imaginations that al
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