The Division of Labor in Society

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9780029079607: The Division of Labor in Society

Originally published in 1893 and never out of print, Emile Durkheim's groundbreaking work remains one of the cornerstone texts of the sociological canon--now updated and re-translated in this new edition.As the Industrial Revolution was changing the landscape of society, Durkheim presented a new vision of the social structures at the root of capitalism, and the issues he grappled with still resound today. If pre-industrial societies were held together by common values, sentiments, and norms, equally shared by all, what holds modern societies, with their complex division of labor and non-cohesive social structure, together? What did this new social order mean for the autonomy of the individual? Durkheim argued that class conflict is not inherent in a capitalist society, as Marx contended, but that the unfettered growth of state power would lead to the extinction of individuality. Only in a free society that promotes voluntary bonds between its members, Durkheim suggested, can individuality prosper. In this new edition, the first since 1984, world-renowned Durkheim scholar Steven Lukes revisits and revises the original translation to enhance clarity, accuracy, and fluency for the contemporary reader. Lukes also highlights Durkheim's arguments by putting them into historical context with a timeline of important information. For students and scholars, this edition of "The Division of Labor" is essential reading and key to understanding the relevance of Durkheim's ideas today.

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Product Description:

Émile Durkheim is often referred to as the father of sociology. Along with Karl Marx and Max Weber he was a principal architect of modern social science and whose contribution helped established it as an academic discipline. "The Division of Labor in Society", published in 1893, was his first major contribution to the field and arguably one his most important. In this work Durkheim discusses the construction of social order in modern societies, which he argues arises out of two essential forms of solidarity, mechanical and organic. Durkheim further examines how this social order has changed over time from more primitive societies to advanced industrial ones. Unlike Marx, Durkheim does not argue that class conflict is inherent to the modern Capitalistic society. The division of labor is an essential component to the practice of the modern capitalistic system due to the increased economic efficiency that can arise out of specialization; however Durkheim acknowledges that increased specialization does not serve all interests equally well. This important and foundational work is a must read for all students of sociology and economic philosophy.

About the Author:

Emile Durkheim (1858–1917) was a French sociologist who formally established the academic discipline and, with Karl Marx and Max Weber, is commonly cited as the principal architect of modern social science.

Steven Lukes is a professor of sociology at New York University. An emeritus Fellow of the British Academy and an editor of the European Journal of Sociology, he is the author of Emile Durkheim: His Life and Work and, most recently, Moral Relativism.

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