Durkheim is one of the social theorists, who studied an array of social principles such as religion, crime, politics, and public morality and viewed them as important constituents of social solidarity. He discovered the development and functioning of these social entities due to their defining role in maintaining order in society. This entirely new perception revolutionized the development of sociology and helped discover it from a purely different angle. Consequently, the primary goal of this essay is to assess Durkheim’s ideas on the concept of social solidarity and discuss the significance of its contribution to his functionalism-related theories.
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Durkheim’s Ideas on Social Solidarity
To establish a foundation for discussion, Durkheim discovered social facts as the core of his theory, and they were represented by external aspects such as values, dogmas, and social structures. In his theory, the scientist was highly focused on the need to connect individuals and their preferences to common social norms, as the era was characterized by a paramount significance of individualism. In the first place, in Rules of Sociological Methods, Durkheim underlined the need to distinguish sociology from other sciences, as it could be studied separately, and the functioning of society was dependent on a variety of social facts that defined its order.
In turn, in his work, Division of Labor, he stated that one of the driving forces of social solidarity was the law, as this aspect divided solidarity into a mechanic (a low division of labor) and organic ones (a high division of labor). As for Le Suicide, Durkheim discovered suicide as a consequence of an imbalance in the society, as matters such as social integration and mortality tended to be highly affected during times of crisis. As for religion, his work Elementary Forms of Religious Life unveiled that religion was one of the essential elements of social solidarity and discovered it as an element of emotional security when living in the community. Generally speaking, the analysis of these works implied that Durkheim viewed social solidarity as a complex phenomenon, and the factors such as religion and social norms had a clear impact on its degree and defined the ability of the individual to bond with his/her community.
Importance of His Contribution to His Functionalism-Related Theories
The concepts depicted above are highly linked to the ideas of functionalism that implies that any changes in its state require a reaction to maintain stability. In this instance, it is possible to alter the current condition of the community by using the aspects such as religion, law, and policies, and in functionalism-related theories, these concepts can be discovered as functions of society. For example, the government tries to provide free and high-quality education to children, but it starts becoming dysfunctional while causing an increase in crime levels. In this case, the authorities attempt to reach stability by improving the educational system and devising punishments for crimes. A similar situation may incur in healthcare or religious institution and hurt the emotional well-being of society.
Nevertheless, apart from these adverse consequences, Durkheim views crime as an essential element of the theory of functionalism. Only with its assistance, it is possible to reach improvement and aim at stability. Overall, making constant adjustments is necessary to reach social equilibrium while the contribution of the findings mentioned in the previous readings is immense because along with social solidarity, they become a basis of Durkheim’s theory of functionalism by defining its key factors.
In the end, Durkheim’s theories had a positive impact on the development of sociology. Meanwhile, with the help of his theory of functionalism, he was able to supply the governmental authorities with the tools that could help control the dynamics of society. His contribution could not be underestimated, as, without it, it would not be possible to discover paramount importance of religion, social norms, and other matters as defining forces of functionalism-related dogmas.