How is social solidarity tied to the division of labor in society? What are the two types of social solidarity that Durkheim identifies? How is criminal justice handled in these two types of societies? How is criminal justice handled in our society today? Is this consistent with Durkheim’s writings on this topic?

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According to Durkheim, solidarity is a result of division of labor in society because, when properly divided, each member of the group brings an essential function to the group at large. For instance, if there is a small town of three individuals, one of whom is a seed salesman, the...

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According to Durkheim, solidarity is a result of division of labor in society because, when properly divided, each member of the group brings an essential function to the group at large. For instance, if there is a small town of three individuals, one of whom is a seed salesman, the next of whom is a farmer, and the third of whom is a baker, they have each divided up the labor of producing crops and food among themselves, and without one another, they would not survive. Solidarity arises from this because they are unified in pursuit of common needs, and each individual takes a specialized portion of the burden.

Durkheim outlines mechanical and organic solidarity as two opposing types. Mechanical solidarity is essentially enforced solidarity, that is, punitive measures for actions that go against the community that are repressive and typically harmful. Organic is the opposite—aiming to restore the balance and repair damages done. In modern times, criminal justice tends toward mechanical solidarity. Some countries, particularly in Scandinavia, have more organic forms of justice, but most Western societies have punishments for lawbreakers that involve discipline as opposed to restitution.

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Social solidarity is tied to the division of labor in society by dynamics. Mechanical solidarity is a type of social solidarity characterized by a relatively small society dependent on religion. Since the number of people is less, there are plenty of resources to cater for everyone; therefore, individuals don't see the need for division of labor. They can still do the same jobs and afford to take care of themselves. Organic solidarity is another form of social solidarity characterized by a huge society with a lot of emphasis on division of labor and specialization. Workers have to be good at a certain job if they want to reap maximum benefits in a society where people are competing for scarce resources. Additionally, organic solidarity practices repressive justice, while mechanical solidarity supports restitutive justice. Today, criminal justice is handled using restitutive punishments. This is consistent with Durkheim's writing on the topic because nowadays most people prefer to live in the cities, where there's competition for jobs. Hence, we live in organic solidarity, where criminals are accountable to the person they wronged instead of the community.

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Durkheim believed the division of labor is beneficial for social solidarity because the division of labor draws people together, puts people into frequent contact, and increases the opportunities for people to engage in mutually beneficial relationships. The two types of social solidarity are mechanical solidarity, in which an individual is tied to the larger society without any force except the collective conscious (a system of shared values), and organic solidarity, in which people are connected to each other through the functions they perform and a division of labor that breeds interdependence. 

Societies with mechanical solidarity rely on repressive laws—that is, laws that punish the perpetrator—and have a great number of penal laws. Societies with organic solidarity have rules with restitutive penalties, meaning the laws aim to make the situation right and restore the situation to an earlier state. It could be argued that our society has come to rely more on repressive laws than restitutive laws, and this reality contradicts Durkheim's idea that societies move from repressive to restitutive laws as they become more advanced.

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