Emil Durkheim the main ideas of the French sociologist and philosopher are summarized in this article.
Durkheim main ideas briefly
Emil Durkheim (1858-1917) was a supporter of the positivist sociological tradition. He was guided by the principles of accuracy, empirical validity, and the proof of theoretical principles.
The goal of sociology according to Durkheim is the study of cause-and-effect stable relationships and patterns. The subject of sociology is the special reality of social facts like things. Facts exist independently of the individual, are impersonal, formulate the laws of the functioning of society.
The main ideas of Durkheim:
- Facts as an aspect of society
Since the facts make up the reality in which humanity exists, 2 types of facts stand out - spiritual and morphological. To spiritual or intangible facts include: rites, traditions, customs, rules of human behavior and beliefs. They constitute a general or collective consciousness. Morphological facts include: birth rate, population density, mortality rate, form of dwellings, nature of communication lines, and the like. They constitute a quantitative aspect of society.
- The principle of autonomy and specificity of social reality.
The idea of the principle is that society exists and develops as a holistic system, which cannot be reduced to the sum of individuals. That is, collective representations cannot be deduced from the individual, society cannot be deduced from the individual, the whole cannot be deduced from the part. E. Durkheim endowed society with physical and moral superiority over individuals, identifying with God. Society is a rich reality (richer than an individual) that dominates a person and is a source of higher values. All social phenomena can be explained by the social environment where they exist.
- The problem of social solidarity.
The solution to this problem should explain what unites people in society. E. Durkheim built a typology of societies with organic and mechanical solidarity as two links in the evolutionary chain.
Mechanical solidarity is inherent in pre-industrial societies and is determined by the similarity of the individuals who live in it, as well as their identical social functions and undeveloped individual traits. Society with mechanical solidarity subjugates the individual, conditioning his behavior and consciousness. The main features are a high degree of intensity of public consciousness, strictly regulating the behavior of the individual, the dominance of religious traditions, customs and beliefs.
Organic solidarity is inherent in modern societies and is determined by the division of labor. The division of labor provides differences for individuals who develop personal and individual abilities, talents according to their professional role. Each member of society depends on each other, as between them there is an exchange of products of human activity. The main features are ensuring the unity of the social organism, the integration of individuals, the formation of a sense of solidarity, freedom, and autonomy of members of society.
Durkheim solidarity is the highest moral principle and the highest universal value.
- The concept of religion without God.
The idea of God or the supernatural is not that attribute of religion without which it cannot exist. Religion is a symbolic social expression. Therefore, a believer, in fact, worships society as a real-life object of religious cults. Religion is a product of society and forms social ideals, and also strengthens social cohesion.
We hope that from this article you learned what are the main ideas of the sociology of Durkheim.