Your Morning Durkheim

Not a lot of time to post today, as I am busily note taking for prelims. But I came across this gem at the beginning of Durkheim’s The Division of Labor in Society, which I wanted to share. Somehow my theory sequence completely skipped any mention of DoLiS, focusing on Rules and Elementary Forms of Religious Life instead, so I was not treated to this stunning little rejection of functionalism from the supposed functionalist himself (on the first page of the first chapter no less):

If we have chosen this term [function], it is because any other would be inexact or ambiguous. We cannot use ‘aim’ or ‘purpose’, and speak of the goal of the division of labour, because that would suppose that the division of labour exists for the sake of results that we shall determine.

So, Durkheim chose to investigate the function of the Division of Labor in part because he didn’t want to assume, teleologically, that the division arose because of the function it later fulfilled. Well, that, or I am reading my anti-functionalism into everyone and everything in the hope of not being so disappointed.

On a more humorous Durkheim-related note, here’s another snippet (p. 17 of DoL):

We are therefore led to consider the division of labor in a new light. In this case, indeed, the economic services that it can render are insignificant compared with the moral effect that it produces, and its true function is to create between two or more people a feeling of solidarity. [Emphasis added.]

Is it just me, or is it hard not to imagine Darth Vader reading that line? Maybe it’s just me.

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