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What is Durkheim's theory of progress?

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Durkheim's sociology is very concerned with progress: the way society evolves, moving through its various phases. Other sociologists also focused on societal progress, like Marx, but Durkheim disagreed that the change would happen quickly.

Durkheim believed that sudden change didn't carry significant meaning. Rather, because the characteristics of a society and its morality often run deep within, progress occurs very gradually. Durkheim also felt that this was the only way to create change that would last. It requires careful thought, extensive planning, and guidance and supervision by institutions and their organizations.

Durkheim recognized the importance of state institutions and other secondary institutions to usher progress and protect it. He also made an important point about science and technology, which most believe is indicative of societal progress. Durkheim rejected that progress is simply a consequence of scientific and technological advancement; progress does not necessarily mean a rising curve or a sense of widespread optimism. It is far more spiritual.

Durkheim also believed that society was actually an entity within itself; it influenced the people in it, not necessarily the other way around. It influences and determines individuals within the society through social norms and currents. The changes in these norms and currents may mark the beginning of progression.

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