• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically assess the concepts used by Emile Durkheim in his analysis of the social changes caused by rapid industrialization and modernization.

Extracts from this document...


Title: Critically assess the concepts used by Emile Durkheim in his analysis of the social changes caused by rapid industrialization and modernization. Distinguished himself from Marxist insistence on economic factor as the determinant of social change and Weber's famous view on the great influence of religion, Durkheim tries to explain social change by means of explaining the society itself apart from its individual members, through the analysis of the functional relationship between 'social facts'. By differentiating between social solidarity - one of the most important social fact that he is concerned with, Durkheim developed a series of theories to interpret the social change caused by industrialization and modernization. Durkheim's analysis of society is based on his view of social facts. Unlike his colleagues, he sees human society as an objectively existing entity preceding the individuals who comprise it. He believes that the behaviours of each individual do not evolve from one's desire, rather, these behaviours are lead by the social system. In his opinion, 'Members of society are constrained by 'social facts', by 'ways of acting, thinking and feeling, external to the individual, and endowed with a power of coercion, by reason of which they control him'. ...read more.


And such solidarity is still spacious enough to allow for further division between individual conscience and collective conscience. However, the collective conscience is still the essence to maintain the social unity and can not be neglected. Nevertheless Durkheim also perceived the potential instability of this type of solidarity caused by the substance of division of labour from the view of human nature. His 'homo duplex' model interprets the fact with the self-interest behind an individual's behaviour. And when this side of human nature predominates, it will seriously affect one's ability to accept the collective conscience. Consequentially, self-interest will become the sole guideline of social life and the disintegration of the society will take place. For Durkheim, this collapse of a society is an extreme case of 'Anomie', the term he used to describe the society under normlessness. According to him, anomie will occur when the rapid social change seriously disrupt the existing moral regulation and common conscience while the new social order is yet to be formulated. Norms will be questioned and the level of individual's life desire will be confused. This disruption therefore will encourage the dependence on self-interest, thus reducing the degree of social integration. ...read more.


On the other side, Ferdinand Tonnies also rejected Durkheim's analysis of social solidarity, seeing that solidarity is disintegrating during the transition from Gemeinschaft (community) to Gesellschaft (societal) (Grint, 1998, p95). However, illustrated with the situation in modern China, many of Durkheim's theories should still be seriously considered especially when analysing the changes of human society. As a virtual functionalist, Emile Durkheim produced series of concepts based on his unique interpretation on 'social facts'. He concentrates himself on the analysis of social solidarity by explaining how it changed by the development of division of labour and showing its importance of integration of a society. He also expounds the situation in which social solidarity might break down and termed 'anomie' to define such scenarios. His concepts have proven themselves to be still up to date and valuable by providing a reasonable explanation to the current situation in the Chinese society. Reference Haralambos, M. Holborn, M. (2000) Sociology, Themes and Perspectives 5th ed. England, Collins Educational Publisher, London, the United Kingdom Morrison, K. (2000) Marx Durkheim Weber, SAGE Publications Ltd., London, the United Kingdom Observer Report: China's Industrialization to Take 20 Years: Academician, People's Daily, 28th Oct. 2002, Beijing, China Durkheim, E. Moral Education, The Free Press, Glencoe Grint, K (1998) The Sociology of Work 2nd ed. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Discuss the key concepts within, and state the similarities and differences between, the following ...

    For example in a capitalist society, the forces of production include the production of goods collectively by large numbers of workers, yet the means of production are privately owned and profits are collected by individuals. Thus the contradiction between forces and relations of production lies in the collective nature of production and the private nature of ownership.

  2. A-Level Sociology Theory + Methods Revision.

    * Normal science is a puzzle solving activity. Kuhn says "Failure to solve the puzzle reflects not on the scientist but on the paradigm - a research tradition, a whole way of thinking + working. Essential Features Of A Paradigm * It forms the underlying theoretical model on which a

  1. In what ways does education effect social changes between one generation and the next?

    If you did not fit this stero typical module you were not given the chance to excel or indeed experience higher education. With little education you were restricted and limited as regards to what social class you belonged to. During this period there was only two universities in England ( Oxford and Cambridge)

  2. The Social Effects of the Industrial Revolution

    industrialization as a whole led to the deterioration of workers' standards of living. They relate the Industrial Revolution to the slave trade, claiming that the factory system binds men to do services for man's needs, resulting in an atmosphere reminiscent of the slave trade (Doty 67).

  1. The Cherry Orchard is pessimistic in its analysis of social transition.

    peasant" to differentiate that she is aristocracy and he is nothing more than a peasant and what he takes as a term of endearment is actually an underlying condescension (Chekhov, 2). Her kindness is only that of a noblewoman to a peasant; nothing more.

  2. This essay will explain the functionalist, Marxist and Social action theories of race and ...

    (Race section 8 Handout page 306) However, typically the indigenous working class feel superior, possibly as a result of the immigrant's meagre existence, or the considerable amount of current prejudice supported by a vast amount of historical documentation stating 'white superiority'.

  1. what have caused the increase in lone-parents?

    the evangelical bond of grid morality which intertwined the cultural fabric of conformist mores and habits and the declared public conscience.

  2. The following essay will use the ideas of Durkheim to construct my social biography ...

    Emilie Durkheim (1858-1917) viewed society as a structure of social facts. Society has a life of its' own and can shape our thoughts, ideas and actions. Durkheim argues that society is held down by set of norms which are transmitted to us by social institution..

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work