Mechanical solidarity

Durkheim distinguishes between two forms of solidarity: mechanical solidarity, which is based on similarity and resemblance, and organic solidarity, which is based on complementary differences and interdependence. He suggests that organic solidarity tends to grow over time as the division of labor increases, but he also argues that if the division of labor is “abnormal” or unhealthy, conflict prevails instead. Durkheim identifies three different abnormal forms of the division of labor: the anomic division of labor, in which individuals feel a sense of detachment from the whole; the forced division of labor, in which individuals occupy positions that do match their talents; and the discontinuous division of labor, in which there is poor coordination of different individuals.

The goal of this assignment is for you to evaluate the division of labor and solidarity within the University of Utah community. The University of Utah community includes students, faculty, administrators, office staff, maintenance staff, and anybody else who regularly visits the University of Utah campus.

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Your assignment is to make an explicit argument for ONE of the following three propositions:

[a] in contrast to Durkheim’s expectations, within the University of Utah community, mechanical solidarity is more prevalent than organic solidarity;

[b] consistent with Durkheim’s expectations, within the University of Utah community, a developed division of labor produces organic solidarity;

[c] as per Durkheim’s concern, within the University of Utah community, the division of labor is abnormal and therefore produces conflict rather than solidarity.

An effective essay will present a compelling argument for one of the above claims. Do NOT try to argue for more than one claim.

The first sentence of the essay should indicate whether you are arguing in favor of proposition (a), (b), or (c). In the remainder of the essay, you should elaborate and explain two reasons (no more and no less) why you believe the proposition is correct.

Be sure to provide concrete evidence or examples for each of the two reasons. You may draw on your own personal experiences, information you gathered from news sources, or stories you heard from family and friends. Make sure that it is clear where you gathered your evidence. When appropriate (e.g. news sources), cite your sources at the end of the essay but do NOT include these citations in your word count.

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