Readings from Emile Durkheim (Key Texts)
Readings from Emile Durkheim : Professor Kenneth Thompson :
Kenneth Thompson Editor. Emile Durkheim is regarded as a "founding father" of sociology, and is studied in all basic sociology courses. This handy textbook is a key collection of translations from Durkheim's major works. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published July 24th by Routledge first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews.
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Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Classical social theory. Have loved Durkheim's thought since years ago, but especially liked the two chapters on education. Tabitha rated it liked it Jul 07, Kamyar rated it really liked it Jul 07, John Ervin rated it it was amazing Oct 14, Will Newman rated it really liked it Jun 22, Alexa Therese rated it really liked it May 06, David Dalakishvili rated it really liked it Feb 10, Jane Yu rated it liked it Mar 23, Brian Rosenberg rated it liked it Nov 02, Nicole rated it really liked it Jan 26, Elective Affinity rated it really liked it Jan 10, Mahvesh rated it it was amazing Nov 22, Vinicius Teixeira rated it it was amazing Jan 25, Katherine rated it it was amazing Apr 13, Emily rated it really liked it Feb 21, Donald Steiny rated it it was amazing Feb 08, B rated it liked it Sep 03, Ari Denardo rated it really liked it Jun 02, Kam Millar rated it liked it Jan 17, Bailey J rated it really liked it Nov 30, Hasan Makhzoum rated it liked it Feb 27, Pritam Chattopadhyay rated it it was amazing Jul 24, Becky Nasadowski marked it as to-read Jun 29, Tiny Pants added it Aug 15, Michael marked it as to-read Dec 09, Mary added it Mar 28, Amanda added it May 23, Royce added it Sep 24, While there are many critics of his work, it is still widely respected and influential.
For Marx, it is the base economy that determines what a society will be like. Additionally, Marx saw conflict in society as the primary means of change. Economically, he saw conflict existing between the owners of the means of production—the bourgeoisie—and the laborers, called the proletariat.
Marx maintained that these conflicts appeared consistently throughout history during times of social revolution. Most recently, with the end of feudalism, a new revolutionary class he called the bourgeoisie dominated the proletariat laborers.
The bourgeoisie were revolutionary in the sense that they represented a radical change in the structure of society. In the mid-nineteenth century, as industrialization was booming, industrial employers, the "owners of the means of production" in Marx's terms, became more and more exploitative toward the working class. Add to that the long hours, the use of child labor, and exposure to extreme conditions of heat, cold, and toxic chemicals, and it is no wonder that Marx and Engels referred to capitalism, which is a way of organizing an economy so that the things that are used to make and transport products such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.
For Marx, what we do defines who we are. In historical terms, in spite of the persistent nature of one class dominating another, some element of humanity existed. There was at least some connection between the worker and the product, augmented by the natural conditions of seasons and the rise and fall of the sun, such as we see in an agricultural society. But with the bourgeoisie revolution and the rise of industry and capitalism, the worker now worked for wages alone. His relationship to his efforts was no longer of a human nature, but based on artificial conditions.
Marx described modern society in terms of alienation. Alienation refers to the condition in which the individual is isolated and divorced from his or her society, work, or the sense of self. Marx defined four specific types of alienation. An industrial worker does not have the opportunity to relate to the product he labors on.
Readings from Emile Durkheim
Instead of training for years as a watchmaker, an unskilled worker can get a job at a watch factory pressing buttons to seal pieces together. The worker does not care if he is making watches or cars, simply that the job exists. In the same way, a worker may not even know or care what product to which he is contributing. A worker on a Ford assembly line may spend all day installing windows on car doors without ever seeing the rest of the car.
A cannery worker can spend a lifetime cleaning fish without ever knowing what product they are used for. A worker does not control the conditions of her job because she does not own the means of production. If a person is hired to work in a fast food restaurant, she is expected to make the food the way she is taught.
All ingredients must be combined in a particular order and in a particular quantity; there is no room for creativity or change.
Everything is decided by the bourgeoisie who then dictate orders to the laborers. Alienation from others.
- Blue Skies (Mira).
- Steven Lukes on Durkheim – Social Science Space.
- Readings From Emile Durkheim.
Workers compete, rather than cooperate. Employees vie for time slots, bonuses, and job security. Even when a worker clocks out at night and goes home, the competition does not end.
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A final outcome of industrialization is a loss of connectivity between a worker and her occupation. Because there is nothing that ties a worker to her labor, there is no longer a sense of self. Instead of being able to take pride in an identity such as being a watchmaker, automobile builder, or chef, a person is simply a cog in the machine. Taken as a whole, then, alienation in modern society means that an individual has no control over his life. Even in feudal societies, a person controlled the manner of his labor as to when and how it was carried out.
But why, then, does the modern working class not rise up and rebel? Indeed, Marx predicted that this would be the ultimate outcome and collapse of capitalism. Another idea that Marx developed is the concept of false consciousness. In fact, it is the ideology of the dominant class here, the bourgeoisie capitalists that is imposed upon the proletariat. Ideas such as the emphasis of competition over cooperation, or of hard work being its own reward, clearly benefit the owners of industry.
Therefore, workers are less likely to question their place in society and assume individual responsibility for existing conditions. Only once society entered this state of political consciousness would it be ready for a social revolution. While Karl Marx may be one of the best-known thinkers of the nineteenth century, Max Weber is certainly one of the greatest influences in the field of sociology. Like the other social thinkers discussed here, he was concerned with the important changes taking place in Western society with the advent of industrialization.
And, like Marx and Durkheim, he feared that industrialization would have negative effects on individuals. Similar to Marx, Weber saw class as economically determined.
Society, he believed, was split between owners and laborers. Status, on the other hand, was based on noneconomic factors such as education, kinship, and religion. Unlike Marx, Weber believed that these ideas formed the base of society. A rational society is one built around logic and efficiency rather than morality or tradition. To Weber, capitalism is entirely rational.
Although this leads to efficiency and merit-based success, it can have negative effects when taken to the extreme. In some modern societies, this is seen when rigid routines and strict design lead to a mechanized work environment and a focus on producing identical products in every location. Weber was also unlike his predecessors in that he was more interested in how individuals experienced societal divisions than in the divisions themselves.
For Weber, the culmination of industrialization, rationalization, and the like results in what he referred to as the iron cage, in which the individual is trapped by institutions and bureaucracy. Indeed a dark prediction, but one that has, at least to some degree, been borne out Gerth and Mills In a rationalized, modern society, we have supermarkets instead of family-owned stores. We have chain restaurants instead of local eateries.
Superstores that offer a multitude of merchandise have replaced independent businesses that focused on one product line, such as hardware, groceries, automotive repair, or clothing. Shopping malls offer retail stores, restaurants, fitness centers, even condominiums. This change may be rational, but is it universally desirable?
In a series of essays in , Max Weber presented the idea of the Protestant work ethic , a new attitude toward work based on the Calvinist principle of predestination. In the sixteenth century, Europe was shaken by the Protestant Revolution. While Catholic leaders emphasized the importance of religious dogma and performing good deeds as a gateway to Heaven, Protestants believed that inner grace, or faith in God, was enough to achieve salvation.