Mechanical and Organic Solidarity

Define Mechanical Solidarity and Organic Solidarity. Do these ideas help you understand the division of labor in your family of origin? In your most recent or current place of employment? Who, and why? Be precise.
Mechanical solidarity, according to Emile Durkheim, refers to the social integration of persons in a certain group who share the same values and ideas. As a result, there is a ""collective conscience"" that drives these people to initiate cooperation. As a result, Durkheim compares the collaboration in this circumstance to the cohesive energies that hold molecules of an object together (Edles, & Applerouth, 2008).On the other hand, Durkheim explains organic solidarity as social integration which stems from the dependence of one another because of different abilities in the provision of services. In societies with organic solidarity, there is the higher division of labor compared to those exhibiting mechanical solidarity. Hence, in a society with organic solidarity, there is a little imposition of similar rules to every individual.

Regarding the division of labor, it stems from the need for material abundance to promote survival. There is a little division of labor in families as there is no specialization. Where it occurs, it is usually temporal as all members of the family are competent to perform the duties within the home. On the other hand, the division of labor is more prevalent in employment places compared to families. The primary reason for this is due to the need for intensive specialization (Edles, & Applerouth, 2008). Moreover, some tasks like in the production lines require refinement and in-depth details in finishing the final good. Therefore, mechanical and organic solidarity assist in explaining the concept of division of labor as they relate closely to the family and the employment settings.

2. Discuss Durkheim's Notion of Collective Conscience. How Can It Be That the Collective Conscience Is not just a Sum of Individual Consciousnesses? Use Concrete Examples to Explain.

Collective consciousness is the concept which explains why individuals share common knowledge, beliefs, ideas and attitudes. Therefore, it creates the identity and belonging in society. Collective consciousness examples stem from examples such as the state which pushes for nationalism and patriotism. Similarly, the media plays a significant role in determining the spread of ideas and practices, how to marry and date, the appropriate manner to dress among other issues. It is important to note that collective consciousness forms something shared among the members of the society. The same values, traditions and beliefs move down through generation with the help of collective consciousness. Durkheim purported that this phenomenon exists independent of individual consciousness.

There are instances where collective consciousness is not merely a sum of individual consciousness. The ancient sociologists perceived people as idolized, which is not true as at some cases where a man is separated from the society. In particular, people have imagined or perceived and social patterns or forms. Therefore, influence can stem from being a member of a given species or through collective psychology. For this matter, there are two forms of collective consciousness, which include the general examinations of the people belonging to a particular group and the specific psychologies of individuals in subgroups. A good example is when individuals make an ego which is subject to variation despite the inclusivity of others in the notion (Randrup, 2002). Thus, the individual mind comes into play to create a belief for every other person, but only exists in a single person’s mind, creating a divergence from collectiveness.


Edles, L., & Applerouth, S. (2008). Classical and contemporary sociological theory (1st ed.). Northridge: Pine Forge Press.

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