Sociology Index

Social Solidarity

David Emile Durkheim was interested in understanding what holds society together though it is made up of people with specialized roles and responsibilities. In The Division of Labor in Society, Durkheim provides an answer using an external indicator of solidarity, the law, to reveal two types of social solidarity, Mechanical Solidarity and Organic Solidarity. To build a good society altruism, morality, and social solidarity are essential ingredients. Altruism and social solidarity are about activities intended to benefit the welfare of others. Morality entails distinctions between good and evil, and between right and wrong. Altruism and social solidarity are lead to moral culture.

Societies with mechanical solidarity are generally small with a high degree of religious commitment, and people in a mechanical society have similar jobs and responsibilities, indicating a low division of labor, one based on shared sentiments and responsibilities. Societies with organic solidarity are more secular and individualistic due to the specialization of tasks. Organic solidarity is more complex with a higher division of labor. Organic solidarity is a term used by Emile Durkheim 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.

Collective Solidarity refers to a state of social bonding or interdependency which has foundation in similarity of belief, values and shared activities. 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 traditional modern dichotomy. Difficulty in discussing social solidarity arises from the generality of the term. Durkheim argues in The Division of Labor in Society that the type of social solidarity has changed, due to the increasing division of labor.