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Emile Durkheim: Socialization

Updated on March 11, 2013

In today's society,socialization is seen as being the process of inheriting norms and customs by individuals so that they are able to possess the necessary skills and habits to participate within his or her own society. During the time that sociology was being discovered, there were many different sociologists who had different theories and perspectives on how we view society.One of these sociologists goes by the name of Emile Durkheim.

Emile Durkheim believed that society existed beyond the human race. In other words, he felt that society was more than just an atmosphere composed of human beings, but that it was here before we were here, it is still here while we remain here, and that it will continue to be here long after we are gone from this Earth. In a sense, I would agree with Emile Durkheim's theory about society because I feel that there was a society before we were here; there were living organisms that were on this Earth that made up a society. The components of human behavior such as norms, values, and beliefs have a reality of there own beside the lives of human beings. Society has the ability to guide our thoughts, actions,and demands obedience from us due to it taking on a life of its own.

Emile Durkheim believed in the society functioning as a system only in the part that the components that make up a whole are necessary for the ongoing life of society itself. He felt that social facts helped in the operation of the society. For example,a crime that is being committed is necessary because it is a part of the whole society but also keeps the society functioning and growing. He felt that deviance was necessary because it defines acts as wrong that people do and defends morality, which gives direction to our lives. For example, he didn't view crime as being abnormal but felt that it was normal and necessary in keeping the existence of society.

Also, Emile Durkheim believed that society not only existed beyond ourselvesvut that it existed within ourselves helping to form personalities. He thought that the way we feel, act, and think is based on our society that helps us to grow and teaches us about the norms, values, and beliefs. I agree with Emile Durkheim in a sense that our society or environment helps shape, who we are as a person and how we act. If we grow up in a poor neighborhood, we might have the belief or stereotype that we can't be anything more than what society offers us because of how we were raised. Likewise, if we were to grow up in a rich neighborhood, we might have the stereotype that we are powerful, inteliigent, and better than others that are not in our society because of how we were raised and the principles that we were brought up on. On the other hand, these predispositions might not affect who were are in the future but it still will shape our personality and who we could be as a person. This means that if we were all right we might not necessarily have that mentality that we are better than others and we might grow up to be humble about the life that we live.

All in all, I feel that it depends on the person and how they decide to view the norms, beliefs, and values of their society and how they want to incorporate them into their lives. Similarly, Emile Durkheim believed that society gives us moral discipline that guides our behavior and controls our desires. He believed that we need restraints beause we have the desire to want more and more and that we are in danger of being overpowered by our own desires. He said that the more we have, the more that we want because our needs are not fulfilled and that they are only stimulated. I agree with this because even the most powerful people are wanting less tax cuts so they could have more money even though they have more than enough money to last them six lifetimes, while there are people in the world who don't have food to eat and water to drink. Later on, in Durkheim's study of suicide, he concluded that the less sociable you are the more prone you are to suicide. I agree with this theory because being around other people helps build self esteem, trust, connections, love, care,and respect for someone else, helping you to be somewhat content with life even after you are financially stable and having that ability to share it with someone else.

However, Emile Durkheim felt that that more freedom we obtained; the less moral guidance we would have within the society and that this would destroy us as human beings. For example, fame seperates people from their daily routine and families, ultimately disrupting established norms and values, and breaking down society's support and regulation of the person. Hence, Durkheim speaks of our desires being balanced by the guidance of society. I agree with Durkheim's theory, I feel that something such as fame disrupts what we have learned as far as norms and values go and we tend to act on other behaviors due to the now lack of support and regulation that we get from society.

Emile Durkheim believed in mechanical and organic solidarity, which are social bonds that are strong among members of preindustrial societies and industrial societies. Basically, this means that he believed that tradition is the social cement that binds people together. I agree with this theory because I feel that norms and values can only be stretched so far. In some cultures, tradition is taken very seriously and there are great consequences if you were to go against those strong values and beliefs. For example, in the Chinese tradition, they would bind your feet because small feet were valued as a thing of beauty and structure, which would help you to have better opportunities for marriage with well-to-do families.

Emile Durkheim theorized that the key change in society would be in expanding the division of labor, which are economic activities. He believed that members of society depend on tens of thousands of others for the goods and services needed on a daily basis. He deduced that we depend more and more on people that we trust less and less. We depend on these people that we don't know and don't trust because we can't survive without them. Despite his concern that we would belowering morality and risking anomie, Durkheim remained optimistic about the direction that society was taking. He believed that we would create more laws and rules that would help contain our behavior. I agree with Emile Durkheim because as a society we are constantly growing, working, depending on others for foods/services, and creating more laws and rules that restrict human beings from acting out beyond the rules, norms, values, and deviances of society.


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    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      @m abdullah javed thanks for your comment and I agree with you that he is a great sociologist and I like his viewpoints

    • m abdullah javed profile image

      muhammad abdullah javed 

      4 years ago

      Hi Torylinn, Nice hub and beautiful description of Durkheim's view of society, he is one of my favorite sociologists who gave many a dimensions to look beyond the routine concept of society. Thanks for sharing.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @insightfultiger I appreciate the fact that you commented on my hub and that you agree on Emile's perspective as well as my own and the way I was able to further incorporate my explanation of why I felt the way that I felt

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 

      5 years ago

      I loved this article! I totally agree with that theory of wanting to die if you are lonely. We see it in babies that are not shown affection or interacted with. They actually just die. That's why people invented the isolation tents that have places where parents and nurses can stick there hands in the tent and caress and hold these babies that are in isolation. I feel sorry for people that feel like they have no one. God bless them. Thank you for sharing! Voted up!

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Vinaya thanks for feedback yes his suicide theory is interesting but in a sense I feel that he might be partially correct but not fully correct about society and suicide rates

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @aviannovice i agree somewhat. i feel that society views loners as not wanting or trying to be apart of society therefore loners feel that they have no one to express their feelings or thoughts to. we at least someone in our lives to care or to be there because it is human tendency and yearn for a connection with someone else. thanks for your comment.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Durkheim has more psychological theories than sociological ones. People need other people for various options. Loners are not prone to suicide, but they tend to think outside the box. Society tends to view loners as oddballs, which they sometimes are.

    • torrilynn profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @dahoglund yeah i understand your viewpoints about Emile Durkheim and thanks for voting up

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I would have to delve into his theories more if I were to evaluate them, however I think I would probably favor other theorists. voted up, and interesting.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 

      5 years ago from Nepal

      Among many others I find Emile Durkheim's theory of suicide very interesting.


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