The French sociologist Emile Durkheim explained the structure of modern society more than anyone else with his analysis of the Labor Organization. In this memo, I look at the foundation of an evolved society from the perspective of Emile Durkheim.
Trade unions as a family
As I wrote in the “Social Solidarity” note, the result of population growth and industrial production is the accumulation of population in large cities and within large industrial complexes. The migration of working people to large cities, along with long working hours outside the home, weakens people’s connection to their “basic family.”
This rupture, on the one hand, creates a sense of insecurity and, on the other, blurs the “collective conscience” based on “emotional and intellectual similarity.”
The result of such a process is drowning in feelings of “forlornness” and “moral nihilism,” the former of which is harmful to the individual and the latter to society. According to Emile Durkheim, the way out of this crisis is to create “trade unions” that fill the gap of family support in industrial society and also “Professional Morality” could replaced with “Collective Conscience” which is based on beliefs and the common rural feelings.
“When people find that they have common interests, they form a union, not just to defend common interests, but also to enjoy the joy of being together and not feeling lost,” says Emile Durkheim.
According to Emile Durkheim, in modern society it is the work of unions and trade unions that compel individuals to observe moral discipline; And since it is very specialized to determine the framework of “professional ethics”, it is beyond the competence of the government. Therefore, in modern society, government is not the reference for determining the moral issue and its frameworks.
In Durkheim’s view, only inequalities that are the result of natural inequalities are legitimate, and social inequalities that arise from legal and cultural frameworks and deprive individuals of an equal opportunity to compete are illegitimate.
For Durkheim, the more incorrigible this “inferiority” and the more it lacks a “history of consumption then it’s more illegitimate.” In pre-modern society, the government is the advocate of the upper class, so government is the custodian of legal and cultural frameworks that maintain and reproduce existing inequality, while in modern society “the role of government is not to organize repression but to protect equality of social competition.”
Restorative law instead of criminal law
According to Emile Durkheim, the more developed a society is, the higher the ratio of “restitution and compensatory law” to “criminal law” (criminal law and penal sanction). Restorative law is cooperative in nature and organizes citizenship, business and administrative interactions in a way that provides the conditions for social solidarity resulting from membership in the “work organization” and thus prevents criminal behaviour while the burden of criminal law is heavy. Punishment shows that in a society, the purpose of the legal procedure is to punish the offender after the crime has been committed and to prevent the recurrence of the crime due to fear and restriction.
Dr. Mohammad Reza Sargolzaei – Psychiatrist
Translated by: Negar Kolkar
Photo From: dailytimes.com.pk
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