The functionalist view focuses on the of social objects or actors, that is, on what they do. Durkheim believed that harmony, rather than conflict, defined society. He examines social phenomena with regard to their function in producing or facilitating social cohesion. He studied the division of labor, religion and suicide from this perspective.
Durkheim first mentions the concept of anomie in , but he develops the idea more completely in . The concept has been widely used by sociologists since. To understand the term, it is necessary to start with its context. Durkheim attempts to explain the function of the division of labor, and makes the observation that it creates social cohesion. The industrial revolution, of course, produced great tension and turmoil, and Durkheim recognized this. He resolved the contradiction by developing the notion of .
Free College Essay Durkheim Division of Laber
As a society becomes larger, division of labor increases. A complex organization of labor is necessary, in larger societies, for the production of material life (as Marx suggested). Because people begin to specialize, the basis for the collective conscience is diminished. Solidarity based on the common belief system is no longer possible. Complexity does not lead to disintegration, Durkheim argued, but rather, to social solidarity based on interdependence. Since people are no longer producing all the things that they need, they must interact. Integration results from a recognition that each needs the other. Societies of organic solidarity are arranged around economic and political organizations. Their legal systems regulate behavior based on principles of exchange and restitution, rather than punishment.