The claim of Durkheim that social life has moved from mechanic to organic solidarity is examined in this paper. It is revealed that indeed, such transition, from mechanic to organic solidarity, has occurred. However, the transition has been gradual, preventing major oppositions to the specific trend.
According to Durkheim, the move from mechanic to organic solidarity has been related to the industrialization of the society. More specifically, before the appearance of industrialization, social life had a particular form: ‘small groups of persons were organized together, sharing common beliefs’ (Groenman 1992, p.274). These groups have been characterized as communities organized on specific values, accepted by all the members of the community (Groenman 1992, p.274). After the appearance of industrialization, social life has started to be transformed. Community life has been weakened, while individualism has been increased. The various aspects of personal life, ‘family, work, friends’ (Groenman 1992, p.274), exist independently. In the context of organic solidarity emphasis is given ‘on independence and on division of social functions’ (Groenman 1992, p.274). In general, organic solidarity is based on the view that ‘social functions can exist independently, much likely as the organs of a living organization’ (Groenman 1992, p.274). An indicative example of the move from mechanic to organic solidarity is labour, which has been divided, so that different social and economic needs are served (Groenman 1992, p.274). According to the above, the move from mechanic to organic solidarity has been inevitable, following the industrialization of societies.
The move from mechanic to organic solidarity, as described above, had a series of implications for social life around the world. Of particular importance has been the fact that this move has not been always gradual; in certain cases, the