Emil Durkheim’s Radical Teachings

ANTHROPOLOGY FOR BEGINNERS: Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim was born in France in 1858, and died 15 November 1917 in Paris. Durkheim was a French Sociologist and a German Jew. Today he is studied as one of the fathers of sociology. But in addition, he can be perceived as a thinker whose thinking is revolutionary and radical in relation to social values in our time. Interestingly, while he is taught, his radical conclusions, which actually go against much of the conventional way of thinking & are far from embedded in the standard way of thinking. Durkheim, as R.D. Laing in Britain, or Louis Althusser in France, were going out against deep-rooted ways of thinking, presenting a different, unique angle, which is radical not in its demonstrativeness, but in its internal embedded values. The three of them tried to show that while society was supposed to be a nest that cares for its chicks, a system that man established so that he could develop and find himself, the golem got up on its creator and evolved into a mega-system with great powers, most of them are hidden and are subconscious. Which could and even use the individual for the purposes of preserving its hegemony. Laing has some very good sayings, but it’s still worth dwelling a little on Althusser. Well, Althusser, (especially in his mass on ideology) writes that man falls under coercive mechanisms and ideological mechanisms: education system, journalism, law, etc. Each mechanism imposes itself, without power, and legitimizes through respectable people, human beings, professors, psychologists, doctors, judges. They carry the voice of the authority of the establishment. And so they pass undercover warrants enslaving the individual to obey the system. Obedience makes the individual a selfless subject, a subject who is dismissed before a subject greater than him (“human progress,” the state, etc.). Thus it comes out that the person who sees reality through society’s eyes; believes that he lives his life and realizes himself, but is actually a tool of a server in the hands of mechanisms much greater than himself. According to Althusser, it is not the establishment and the social organization that allows the individual to live his life, but the only one that allows the mechanism to continue functioning, with the life of the individual largely marginalized to the life of the apparatus. (And that’s what Kafka tried to describe in some of his stories, among other things). In return, the apparatus controls the life of the individual and robs him of his greatest curse: his personal freedom. (And writes Erich Fromm about it in his “Manus of Disguise”). And now to Durkheim; The great importance of Emil Durkheim’s work lies in his insistence that the study of the person and his behavior must avoid an approach that takes into account only elements that are in the structure of his personality or heredity and genetics. He argues that studying the person and trying to explain his life and behavior must first and foremost take into account the influence of society on him. Durkheim objected to a biological or psychological interpretation, exclusively, of human behavior, he focused his attention on the social structure and how it affects human life and behavior. It comes with an approach of total criticism against these explanations that are briefly called reductionist explanations. Reductionist explanations are explanations that advocate hereditary (biological) or personal interpretation specific to the person (psychological). He argues that human behavior is less explainable by elements and elements that are at a biological or psychological level, and more at the sociological level. One of the explanations that it gives priority to social impact over hereditary and psychological effects is that human behavior remains similar and the same over many years, while specific people (with very specific biology and psychology) die and in their place come other individuals. And what does not change is the tremendous power of social structure, public opinion, social norms, etc., they remain to have a tremendous design influence on the person as a person. It is true that the social structure and norms themselves can also change, but not the tremendous impact they have on human life itself. “They have corrective power, they force themselves on man, bypassing his willpower.” Each person has very strong social limitations and requirements, but they remain long hidden, and they appear and rise to the surface only when social demands are violated in one form or another. Then sanctions are imposed on the individual, thus channeling social priorities towards him. He argues that these demands come on behalf of very solid social facts, even if they are not openly clear. These facts are defined, in his tongue, as: “Any course of action, fixed or not, that has the ability to impose external limitations on the individual.” In his early works, he focuses on the external and legitimate aspects of these social workers, and the limitations they impose. But in his later works, he has already emphasized the sheer assimilation of these social workers into the individual’s consciousness. There they become guides, effective guides who control the behavior of the individual. In accordance with this cohesive approach of Dokraheim, the behavioral limitation is no longer a duty or necessity imposed on the individual from the outside who controls his willpower, but a moral obligation to obey it. That is, society is not only outside, exerts external pressure on us, it has already penetrated and is part of our psychology and in its tongue, society is beyond us and something in ourselves. From this point on, Durkheim refers to social phenomena not as something that is found only in the institutions of society and its leaders, but as already exists within the psychology of the individual. I mean, he’s talking about it being no longer enforcement, it’s more brainwashing. Because in enforcement one must continue and constantly enforce, but in brainwashing it occurs during adolescence and then the individual already acts out of the fact that he is convinced that the social facts to which he obeys are part of his personal psychology, and it seems to him that he does so at all because it is his will. A great example of these hidden ways of enforcing, which penetrate inwards without us not being noticed and becoming part of our psychology, Louis Althusser brings in the same mass of ideology, where he writes that the school is not a place where knowledge and education are bought, but a place where the establishment holds the children so that parents do not get in the way of working. He argues that these studies are one big waste of time and no one uses this knowledge for his life, but receives many hidden messages from the apparatus, for example he learns what order is, respect for status, ability to meet tasks (lessons), etc. That is, he receives hidden messages: how to be an ordinary citizen, a loyal subject and lack his own personality. And so we have a paradox; Any attempt to understand the individual by digging into his personal consciousness will result in failure, only a search of his behavioral sources in society and how it is organized will lead to a more complete understanding of the individual. In his impressive studies of suicide (the book, by this name, published some time ago by Nimrod Publishing) he showed that the suicide rate increased in a society in the process of an anomaly (the disintegration of norms); When cracks are created in the unity of that group or society. And the explanation he gives that the weakening of that society and the lack of unity that is in place no longer gives individuals sufficient protection from existential crises. He said companies with high suicide rates are usually companies with solidity and the social common denominator are in the process of retreating. In this book of hi s it reduces the relative importance of personal and psychological factors for suicide and increases the place of the social aspect. Bring about suicide, defense, society or not, from a crisis that could lead to suicide. Human beings who are strongly connected to the group and are integrated into it become significantly protected from frustrations and tragedies that are the part of man wherever he is a person. (And so they will have a reduced tendency to reach the extremes of suicide). He argues that social cohesion is what motivates all societies and constitutes a framework by which people can belong to one society or another. The lack or excess of such cohesion outlines the development or freezing of society. The catchy explanation found by Durkheim is in the relationship between the degree of cohesion of the social group, to which a person belongs, and his chances of suicide. The ratio is presented as an inverse relationship & the higher the level of social cohesion, the smaller the suicide rate and vice versa. Durkheim’s conclusion in the end was that people live in frameworks that dictate their behavior to the point of intervention (conscious or unconscious) even in their deaths. Society consists of a collective consciousness and its power over the individual, by dictation of his behavior. Durkheim saw social reality as a product of the actions of individuals in society and its existence is not external to them. For Durkheim, social integration is an outgoing verb of the amount of interactions the individual has with other individuals. For example, participating in religious ceremonies, or activities in the workplace, or walking in the evening to concerts or plays all of these increase the number of social combinations it creates, thus creating a strong effect of protection and recession of the individual (“I’m fine”). And the more united, strong, and more consensus-in-the-nation society is, the more protection it provides to the individual against anxieties, internal and existential conflicts. Thus, the importance of Durkheim’s thinker actually intensifies when studied outside of pure sociological fields. And precisely in the context of personal freedom of choice and an attempt to understand the individual as an individual. His importance as a thinker lies in the fact that he presented society not as a fabric that allows the unit complementary ecology to self-realization. But as a sophisticated system that wants to buy control over the individual’s life, thus sending branches of control into his soul and his consciousness. Thus, in fact, motivates him in his personal life & as a puppet on a string, as a poppet on string. But the marionette felt free and had freedom of choice, did not feel the strings linking her to an array of norms and social facts that drove her out of it. Durkheim understood that more than individuals shape the image of society in which they want to live, society comes and shapes the personal life that individuals live. He did not see it (society) as the creation of individuals, but as an entity that had its own existence and power, beyond the private life of each person. And it is a kind of eternal being that continues to exist even after the deaths of the friends whose lives it shapes. Durkheim, for example, believed that the motive in religious life was not necessarily the personal connection between man as an individual and god, but rather the connection between the individual and society. He showed that religious life consisted precisely of worshiping the admirable power of their own society, and wanted to show that the object of religion is nothing more than society itself, in a different way. Emil Durkheim also discovered that deviation and crime are not a necessary evil that society tries to destroy and is unable to destroy, but that for it they have a positive meaning, because they radically provoke a punishing response and thus reinforce the moral identity of the rule. This argument relies on the fact that every society has fixed deviation rates. That is, if society wanted to ; it could get rid of most if not all criminals and criminals, but it nurtures them out of defined social needs. A radical change and theory without a doubt. And although written about 100 years ago, it is topical, jolting, thought provoking and puffy even in a postmodern generation like ours…

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