Difference Between Mechanic and Organic Solidarity

Key Difference – Mechanic vs Organic Solidarity
 

Mechanic and Organic Solidarity are two concepts that emerge in the field of sociology between which a key difference can be identified. These concepts were first introduced by Emilie Durkheim, a key figure in Sociology. Durkheim was a functionalist who was rather optimistic about the division of labor in the society. His view is captured in the book titled ‘The division of labor in society’ which was first published in 1893. In this book, he presented two concepts known as mechanic solidarity and organic solidarity. The key difference between mechanic and organic solidarity is that while mechanic solidarity is visible in pre-industrial societies, organic solidarity is visible in industrial societies.

What is Mechanic Solidarity?

The concept of solidarity is used in sociology to highlight the agreement and support that exists in a society where people share their belief systems and work together. Durkheim uses the term mechanic solidarity to refer to societies governed by similarities. Most of the pre-industrialized societies such as hunting and gathering societies, agricultural societies are examples of mechanic solidarity.

The key characteristics of such societies are that people share common belief systems and work with others in cooperation. Communal activities are at the heart of such societies. There is a lot of homogeneity among people in their thought, actions, education and even in the work that they perform. In this sense, there is very little room for individuality. Another feature of mechanic solidarity is that there exist repressive laws. Also, there is very little interdependence among people as all are involved in similar types of work.

Difference Between Mechanic and Organic Solidarity

What is Organic Solidarity?

Organic solidarity can be seen in societies where there is a lot of specialization which leads to high interdependence among individuals and organizations. Unlike in mechanic solidarity, where there is a lot of homogeneity among the people, a contrasting image can be seen in organic solidarity. This is visible in industrialized societies such as many of the modern societies, where people have specific roles and specialized work. Since every individual is engaged in a special role, this leads to a high level of interdependence because a single individual cannot perform all tasks.

Some of the key characteristics of organic solidarity are high individuality, constitutional and organizational laws, secularization, high population and density. Durkheim points out that although there is a high division of labor in organic solidarity, this is necessary for the functioning of the society because the contribution that each individual makes to the society enables the society to function as a social unit.

Key Difference - Mechanic vs Organic Solidarity

What is the difference between Mechanic and Organic Solidarity?

Definitions of Mechanic and Organic Solidarity:

Mechanic Solidarity: Mechanic solidarity to refer to societies governed by similarities.

Organic Solidarity: Organic solidarity can be seen in societies where there is a lot of specialization which leads to high interdependence among individuals and organizations.

Characteristics of Mechanic and Organic Solidarity:

Focus:

Mechanic Solidarity: Mechanic solidarity focuses on similarities.

Organic Solidarity: Organic solidarity focuses on differences.

Individuality:

Mechanic Solidarity: There is little room for individuality.

Organic Solidarity: Individuality is promoted.

Laws:

Mechanic Solidarity: Laws are repressive.

Organic Solidarity: Constitutional, organizational laws can be seen.

Division of Labor:

Mechanic Solidarity: Division of labor is low.

Organic Solidarity: Division of labor is very high as specialization is at the heart of organic solidarity.

Beliefs and Values:

Mechanic Solidarity: Beliefs and values are similar.

Organic Solidarity: There is a great variety of beliefs and values.

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Pieter Bruegel the Elder- The Harvesters – Google Art Project” by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) – PAH1oMZ5dGBkxg at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum. [Public Domain] via Commons

2. “Crystal Palace – interior” by J. McNeven – collections.vam.ac.uk. [Public Domain] via Commons