Sociology Index


There is anomic division of labour where the division of labour in the workplace is based on power and social and economic status, rather than on differentiations of individual ability or effort. In such circumstances, according to David Emile Durkheim (1858-1917), the division of labour cannot command normative consensus and may become a source of anomie and breakdown of social solidarity. Only in folk society there is no anomic division of labour.

From Anomie to Anomia and Anomic Depression: A Sociological Critique on the Use of Anomie in Psychiatric Research - Mathieu Deflem, - Abstract —The author of this paper demonstrates that the sociological concept of anomie has undergone important transformations when applied in psychiatric research.

It is argued that these transformations are not fully in concordance with the original theories of anomie as they were set forth by Durkheim and Robert King Merton. Two approaches in social and cross-cultural psychiatry are examined in this context. First, the concept of anomia as introduced and applied in the research of Leo Srole is discussed. Second, attention is paid to the concept of anomic depression as it was introduced by Wolfgang Jilek in his research among the Coast Salish Indians.

Durkheim first employed the concept of anomie in his doctoral thesis The Division of Labor in Society in which he devoted a chapter to the "anomic division of labour". Here Durkheim argues that under normal circumstances the division of labour produces social organic solidarity. Under exceptional circumstances, that is, when all the conditions for the existence of organic solidarity have not been realized, the division of labour presents pathological or anomic forms. The conditions for the existence of organic solidarity are two-fold: first, there should be a system of solidary organs, and, second, the way in which these organs come together must be predetermined, that is, regulated by a set of rules. In the case of industrial or commercial crises and with respect to the conflict between labour and capital, and the lack of unity in the sciences, regulation does not exist or is not in accord with the degree of development of the division of labour.

The Anomic Division of Labour
Extracts from Emile Durkheim - Book 3 Chapter One: The Anomic Division of Labour, Section 1 
Abnormal forms where the division of labour does not produce solidarity. Necessity for studying them. 
1. Abnormal cases in economic life; industrial crises more frequent as labour is divided; antagonism of labour and capital. Likewise, the unit of science is lost as scientific labour becomes specialised. 
2. Theory which makes these effects inherent in the division of labour. According to Auguste Comte, the remedy consists in a great development of the governmental organ and in the institution of a philosophy of the sciences. Inability of the governmental organ to regulate the details of economic life; - of the philosophy of sciences to assure the unity of science. 
3. If, in these cases, functions do not concur, it is because their relations are not regulated; the division of labour is anomic. Necessity of regulation. How, normally, it comes from the division of labour. How it fails in the examples cited. 
This anomy arises from the solidary organs not being in sufficient contact or sufficiently prolonged. This contact is the normal state. 
When the division of labour is normal, it does not confine the individual in a task without giving him a glimpse of anything outside it.