What is the Difference Between Mechanical and Organic Solidarity

The main difference between mechanical and organic solidarity is that mechanical solidarity is a result of similarities between members of a society, but organic solidarity is a result of the interdependence among members of a society.

Solidarity is the unity shown by a society, based on the community of interests, objectives, and standards. Mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity are two concepts developed by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim. According to him, the type of solidarity correlates with the type of society. Mechanical solidarity was the type of solidarity we could observe in pre-modern societies, but organic solidarity is the solidarity seen in most modern societies.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Mechanical Solidarity
     – Definition, Characteristics, Society
2. What is Organic Solidarity
     – Definition, Characteristics, Society
3. What is the Difference Between Mechanical and Organic Solidarity
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Émile Durkheim, Mechanical Solidarity, Organic Solidarity

Difference Between Mechanical and Organic Solidarity - Comparison Summary

What is Mechanical Solidarity

Mechanical solidarity is the social integration and cohesion that originate from the homogeneity of individuals. This is a concept we could observe in pre-modern societies. We can also observe this type of solidarity in small and isolated villages and traditional societies. The people who lived in such societies shared many similarities. For example, imagine a small village in the medieval era where everybody believes in the same religion, has similar occupations, ate the same type of food. There was no specialization or division of labour in such a society. Moreover, people had the same common values and beliefs, which creates a “collective conscience” that works internally in individual members, causing them to cooperate.

Main Difference - Mechanical vs Organic Solidarity

People in societies with mechanical solidarity are like cogs in a large machine. Moreover, it is their homogeneity that actually drives the social integration and cohesion.

What is Organic Solidarity

Organic solidarity is the social integration and cohesion that originate from the division of labour and interdependence on each other. This type of solidarity is usually seen in modern societies, i.e., complex and industrial societies. Furthermore, members of such societies do not share many similarities. They may believe in different gods, eat different food, have different cultural practices, hold very different jobs, and have different values and beliefs.

Difference Between Mechanical and Organic Solidarity

However, more people differ from one another, more they need one another, and more they are dependent on one another. Moreover, differentiation and specialization in such societies have reached such a high level that human beings have become interdependent on each other. In fact, they cannot survive without one another – for example, if you remove one profession like policemen, train drivers, cleaners, the society wouldn’t function properly.

Difference Between Mechanical and Organic Solidarity

Definition

Mechanical solidarity is the social integration that arises out of the homogeneity of members of a society, but organic solidarity is the social integration that arises out of interdependence of members in the society.

Members of the Society

Mechanical solidarity occurs in societies that have similar members, but organic solidarity occurs in societies that have various types of individuals. 

Type of Society

While mechanical solidarity was seen in pre-modern societies, organic solidarity is seen in modern societies.

Interdependence

Moreover, there is less amount of interdependence in mechanical solidarity in comparison to organic solidarity.

Division of Labor

There is a minimum division of labour in societies with mechanical solidarity, but there is a complex division of labour in societies with organic solidarity.

Conclusion

In brief, mechanical solidarity and organic solidarity are two concepts by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim. Mechanical solidarity is the social integration that arises out of the homogeneity of members of a society while organic solidarity is the social integration that arises out of interdependence of members in the society. Thus, this is the main difference between mechanical and organic solidarity.

Reference:

1. “Mechanical and Organic Solidarity.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 Feb. 2010, Available here.
2. Williams, Yolanda. “Mechanical Solidarity: Definition & Examples.” Study.com, Study.com, Available here.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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