Essay about Durkheim and the Relevance of His Theories in Modern Society

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“Treat social facts as things” is an expression that epitomises the works of Emile Durkheim. This essay focuses on four main sociological concepts proposed by the functionalist Emile Durkheim; the division of labour; mechanical and organic solidarity; anomie and suicide, and examines their relevance in contemporary society.
Along with Marx and Weber, Durkheim is considered one of the founding members of modern sociology. He is also credited with making sociology a science through his application of scientific and empirical research. Durkheim believed that sociology should be seen as a science separate from other sciences such as psychology, by studying “social facts” objectively as things. (Kiviston, 2011)
Through his four major
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(Macionis and Plummer, 2005, p.93) Of all of Durkheim’s theories, anomie is without doubt the most prevalent today.
Durkheim believed that anomie occurs because of rapid growths in industrialisation resulting in huge changes to social structures. This can leave people feeling disconnected from the society they live in. (Share et al, 2007) The advent of the ‘internet age’ is a prime example of societal norms not able to keep up with fast paced industrial changes. The rising popularity of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc. changed the way individuals interact with one another. Lack of human contact between individuals can result in loneliness and feelings of detachment from society can emerge. Another symptom of social media’s increasing popularity is cyber bulling which can cause a high level of anomie amongst the people affected by it. (Giddens, 2009) (Alexander et al, 2012)
An extreme example of anomie today, is the plight of celebrities; becoming ‘famous overnight’ results in individuals becoming detached from the secure surrounds of the world they once knew causing society’s support and regulation of the individual to become disrupted. This issue can be life threatening to some celebrities e.g. overdose of Kurt Cobain (1994) and more recently of Amy Winehouse (2011). (Macionis and Plummer, 2005) Other examples can be seen as a result of the economic