Social Solidarity, Organic Solidarity, Collective
Mechanical solidarity is a term used by Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) to refer to a
state of community bonding or interdependency which rests on a similarity of beliefs and
values, shared activities, and ties of kinship and cooperation.
Emile Durkheim introduced the terms "mechanical solidarity" and "organic solidarity" as part of his theory of the
development of societies in "The Division of Labour in Society" (1893).
In mechanical solidarity, its cohesion and integration comes from the homogeneity
of individuals. People feel connected through similar work, educational and religious
training, and lifestyle. Mechanical solidarity is found in "traditional" and
small scale societies.
In mechanical solidarity social integration is based on mutuality of interests
found in those societies with little division of labor and modernization.
Organic solidarity: Emile Durkheim used the term used to
refer to a state of interdependency created by the specialization of roles and in which
individuals and institutions become acutely dependent on others in a complex division of
labour. The basis of organic solidarity is abstract and may be weakened by anomie when
people fail to comprehend the ties that bind them to others.
In developing his mechanicalorganic distinction, Durkheim drew on the
organicist thinking that influenced many intellectuals of his generation, where human
societies are analyzed with analogies to biological organisms.
Incorporation and Mechanical Solidarity in an Underground Coal Mine
Charles Vaught, David L. Smith
Virgina Polytechnic Institute and State University
Work and Occupations, Vol. 7, No. 2, 159-187 (1980) DOI: 10.1177/073088848000700202
Mechanical solidarity exhibited by work groups within a dangerous work setting. Building
upon the notions of Ralph Turner and Louis Zurcher, the argument is made that groups which
must continually deal with potential disaster will manifest mechanical solidarity as the
dominant form of social integration. In the
underground coal mine, games and dramatic performances which subvert outside behavioral
expectations are utilized to emphasize the "different world" context of the work
setting. Deviant from dominant cultural norms, these games serve as powerful mechanisms
for the direct bonding of individual and group.
Scapegoating and the Simulation of Mechanical Solidarity in Former Yugoslavia:
Ethnic Cleansing and the Serbian Orthodox Church - Keith Doubt, Wittenberg
Humanity and Society (Vol. 31, No. 1, February 2007), 65-82.
ABSTRACT: I use the concept of scapegoating to explain the ritualized character of
ethnic cleansing after the break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. I provide an
overview of the political background behind these events, introduce the role and influence
of the Serbian Orthodox Church, and analyze the collective violence known as ethnic
cleansing through the concept of scapegoating.
The Serbian Orthodox Churchs use of a scapegoat paradigm to incite violence created
a pseudo-sense of solidarity among the Serbian people. Although this solidarity resembles
Émile Durkheims concept of mechanical solidarity, I question the stability of this
solidarity insofar as it is based on the negativity of war crimes and genocide.
Implications for understanding collective violence in other areas such as the Middle East
and Iraq are drawn by way of conclusion.
A Proposal to Recycle Mechanical and Organic Solidarity in Community
Perry, Charles - Rural Sociology, v51 n3 p263-77 Fall 1986
Abstract: Explores geographical definition of communities and tendency for community
relations to transcend geographical boundaries. Reinterprets Durkheim's theory of social
solidarity to argue that division of labor directly reduces solidarity but indirectly
increases solidarity through secondary groups, the state, and the cult of individuality. -
Solidarity, Mechanical and Organic - Anne M. Hornsby
Extract: French sociologist Émile Durkheim (18581917) coined the terms mechanical
and organic solidarity to describe two types of social organization, that is, ways in
which individuals are connected to each other and how they identify with the groups and
societies in which they live. Social solidarity is a state of unity or cohesion that
exists when people are integrated by strong social bonds and shared beliefs and also are
regulated by well-developed guidelines for action (values and norms that suggest worthy
goals and how people should attain them). In The Division of Labor in Society (1893),
Durkheim argued that social solidarity takes different forms in different historical
periods and varies in strength among groups in the same society. However, reflecting the
popularity of social evolutionary thought in the late nineteenth century, Durkheim
summarized all historical forms of solidarity into a traditionalmodern dichotomy.
Mechanical solidarity is a simple, pre-industrial form of social cohesion and organic
solidarity is a more complex form that evolves in modern societies.