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Lecture 2 Durkheim: Individual, society and morality.

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1 Lecture 2 Durkheim: Individual, society and morality

2 When I fulfil my obligations as brother, husband, or citizen, when I execute my contracts, I perform duties which are defined, externally to myself and my acts, in law and in custom. Even if they conform to my own sentiments and I feel their reality subjectively, such reality is still objective, for I do not create them; I merely inherited them through my education (Durkheim, The Rules of sociological Method) Society is a social fact

3 Mechanical solidarity Cohesion in society is the result of resemblance Common beliefs and practices The individual is not distinct from the group

4 Organic solidarity Based on the division of labour Individuals are grouped according to social activity Evolutionary development towards greater complexity The space for the individual becomes greater. The autonomous person.

5 Every society is a moral society Altruism is the basis of social life Morality binds us to society It is the source of solidarity It forces us to regulate our own individual interests and take account of others. Repressive morality gives way to individual morality Cult of the dignity of the individual is the moral basis of modern society Reflection, personal responsibility, choice Moral diversity

6 Collective effervescence In the midst of an assembly animated by a common passion, we become susceptible of acts and sentiments of which we are incapable when reduced to our own forces; and when the assembly is dissolved and when, finding ourselves alone again, we fall back to our ordinary level, we are then able to measure the height to which we have been raised above ourselves. (Durkheim, Émile (1968 [1915]) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life p209)

7 Collective Conscience The man who has done his duty finds, in the manifestations of every sort expressing the sympathy, esteem or affection which his fellows have for him, a feeling of comfort, of which he does not ordinarily take account, but which sustains him none the less. … Because he is in moral harmony with his comrades, he has more confidence, courage and boldness in action …. It thus produces, as it were, a perpetual sustenance for our moral nature. (Durkheim, Émile (1968 [1915]) The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life)

8 Homo duplex On the one hand is our individuality – and more particularly, our body in which it is based; on the other is everything in us that expresses something other than ourselves. (The Dualism of Human Nature and its Social Conditions )

9 Summary Society is objectified as a thing separate from the individual The scope for individuality is a product of the form society takes Morality is located in the society, rather than the individual The individual is opposed to society

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