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In Durkheim's concepts, what does sui generis mean?

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Durkheim argues that the study of a society should be carried out in a way that acknowledges its uniqueness, its individuality. Far from seeing society in mechanical terms, as many of his functionalist contemporaries did, Durkheim conceived of society as a vast organism.

He viewed society as almost like a giant onion, with layers of meaning that needed to be peeled back in order for us to gain an understanding of the whole. Each individual layer (e.g., family, social class, professions) consists of members of society and their often complex interactions with one another; and each layer in turn contributes to the overall makeup of society.

Cohesion and integration are important concepts in Durkheim's sociology. And in examining each layer of society, Durkheim sought to discover their unique cohesive properties and how they contributed to the overall stability of society as a whole. Durkheim recognized that if these individual layers did not cohere, the society on which they were built...

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