Difference between Mechanical Solidarity and Organic Solidarity

The concept of solidarity is a complicated one to explain. It is a value (or a virtue, depending on who describes it) that is based on unconditional support for an interest or an external or alien cause. This interest or support occurs mainly in adverse or complicated situations. Solidarity is always well-intentioned, that is, it has positive connotations.

Within sociology, solidarity receives a meaning only slightly different from the original one. In sociology, solidarity is all the social bonds that unite the members of a society. These links are actually common interests, goals and objectives whose achievement is considered positive and enriching for society as a whole.

The French sociologist Émile Durkheim was particularly interested in defining this concept. Durkheim defined it as “…the action of giving without receiving something in return.” According to him, solidarity allows all members of a society to unite under the same principle of seeking a common good, not so focused on altruism or charity. Durkheim’s solidarity is not limited to small actions, but to the set of principles that motivate a society to seek to build the best possible version of itself. In his work “The Division of Social Labor”, Durkheim divided solidarity into mechanical and organic solidarity.

Comparison chart

mechanical solidarity
organic solidarity
In what kind of society does it occur? This type of solidarity is found in pre-industrial societies. That is, in those groups with small social nuclei. Instead, organic solidarity is typical of industrialized societies.
Definition Mechanical solidarity implies that the members of said community support each other because there are common interests. These same common interests were originally part of the reason for the founding of the same community. In these communities there is homogeneity. The members are not so different from each other as they all carry out similar tasks. There is the collective conscience, which is formed through the cohesion of shared values ​​and beliefs. Within organic societies, on the other hand, people associate and organize themselves according to the kinds of skills they are capable of. In fact, the term “organic” comes from its similar arrangement to that of the organs within the human body; each one in its place and each one with its function. People specialize; there is no homogeneity, there are complementary activities. Personal conscience is heavier than the search for the common good.
examples Agricultural communities and ancient societies. The modern society of the big cities, especially the capitalist ones.

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