Division of labour by Emile Durkheim
Emile Durkheim was a notable French sociologist who wrote extensively on the works of human behavior. However, his most recognizable work was on division of labour, and how the society as a whole, is involved on the whole topic of division of labour. For the purpose of this essay, I will discuss in details the conception of occupational practices and demonstrate how their constitutive rule character, which creates social coordination, which is necessary to have social facts in common. It is important to note that economic life through division of labour cannot be regulated or controlled by any outside force such as the state, but rather the members who were intimate and understand the formation of the occupational group. Occupational group is a corporation formed by agents of the same industry.
Durkheim notes that people in the same organization have similar interests because their occupation and he gives an example of a tradesman who relates with other tradesman not because of the industrial constitution it is purely because of occupational similarity. Because of the same circumstance, the people in this profession say, tradesman, may converge and meet temporarily to address a cause or an issue. Their relationship is never permanent, it is occasioned by chance: of being in the same occupation, thus, they are somewhat bound by circumstance of being in the same occupation. The social coordination in this aspect is temporary and occasioned by circumstance of being in the same problem/situation. As a social fact, it is worthy to note that people in different levels of the occupations, cannot have the same bonding or relations. For instance, the union or syndicate of the employers and that of employees only meet occasionally, like when there is a conflict that needs to be arbitrated. Each syndicate represents a different view point and interest thus at the end only the superior one will carry the day.
Historically, occupational groups were viewed as part of the administrative machine, which fulfilled official obligation and duty to the state. Therefore, people drawn to those group or constituencies were motivated by the thought of duty and obligation towards the state. Socially, people are usually motivated and encouraged to serve their states and this is a social fact. Therefore the emperors did all that they could do in order to instill the spirit of servitude to the workmen, thereby obligating their duty towards the emperors themselves and top the state as a whole.
The conception of occupational groups were critical not only to the economic advantages and benefits that it bring to the workers, it has a vital power of containing individual egos of maintaining a spirited sentiment for a common solidarity. Occupational groups could serve as political power for the people. For instance, when tradesmen converged and meet together during crisis and times of need, the same members of the unit or an occupational group could form a political force to address circumstance. However, in the long run, only the bigger interest either of the syndicate of the employers or employees will carry the day.
Occupational practices also guide the relations of the employers to the employees and the relation of the employee to fellow employee. These regulations change with each and every season and/or time. Therefore, occupational practices and regulations are to be determined by judgments of that particular time and not some base background. These regulation are inspired by zeal not for the individual workers benefits but that of the corporation, so that in the long run, the corporation will accrue maximum benefits.
Politically speaking, occupational groups have the capacity and the ability to exert moral pressure. Members of the same occupational with ideas, interests or sentiments which differ in principle with those of the rest of the population would be automatically attracted to one another at least due to their common interest. If this likeness and bond f ideology continues over time, the members with the interests will form a group within the population, which will be different from the mainstream idea. Once a stable group is formed, a moral lesson or idea or life will appear carrying the mark of the specific conditions in which it has developed. In any given group, an individual’s ideas and viewpoints are subordinate to those of the group. By subjecting oneself to under the umbrella of the group is the moral political activity, in this line of reasoning.
In the above essay, I have established the functional relationship between occupational practice, political power, social and economic interest and the moral authority/political activity that can accrue from therefrom. People of the same occupational group are bound by the same circumstance not by design but rather by chance or as Emile Durkheim puts it, “Chance of meeting.” People who find themselves in the same occupational group are connected and bound by circumstance and/or interest which may affect the. This explains why the syndicate of employers is different from those of the employee in terms of organization structure and the interest that each syndicate represents.