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Organic Solidarity: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 Example and Definition
  • 1:07 Emile Durkheim's Work…
  • 2:17 More Examples of…
  • 2:47 Organic vs Mechanical…
  • 3:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that American society is built on a foundation of organic solidarity? In this lesson, we will learn all about organic solidarity, how it differs from mechanical solidarity, and more.

Example and Definition

Jake has always dreamed of owning a five-star restaurant. After spending years getting his MBA, completing internships, and learning as much about the restaurant industry as he could, Jake has finally decided to open up his first restaurant. Although he knows how to manage a restaurant, there are several other people and professions that Jake must rely on to make his dreams a reality.

Jake hires a lawyer to help him with his contracts and legal issues and meets with a realtor, who helps him find the perfect location. Jake then hires an architect to design his restaurant and a construction firm to build it. Once his restaurant is completely built, Jake hires two chefs, wait staff, and other employees to work at his restaurant. With the help of all of the professionals previously mentioned, Jake is able to open and run a successful five-star restaurant. This process is an example of organic solidarity. Organic solidarity refers to societies that are held together by the division of labor, which causes people to be dependent upon each other.

Émile Durkheim's Work on Solidarity

The term 'mechanical solidarity' was first coined by sociologist David Émile Durkheim, better known as Émile Durkheim. In his 1893 work titled The Division of Labor, Durkheim set out to explain social solidarity, or the forces that hold societies together. Durkheim determined that there are two types of solidarity: organic and mechanical. Mechanical solidarity refers to solidarity found in smaller, pre-industrialized and/or un-industrialized societies. Mechanical solidarity is based on people's similarities. So what, then, is organic solidarity?

Organic solidarity, which is based on the division of labor, is largely seen in industrial and/or post-industrial societies. The division of labor results in people who are specialized in specific areas or functions. As a result, people have become highly dependent upon each other, since no one person can do everything. For example, Jake had to depend on lawyers, a realtor, chefs, etc. to make his dream a reality. It's because the people are dependent upon each other that society thrives.

More Examples of Organic Solidarity

The United States of America is based on organic solidarity. For example, harvesters pick the raw material to make fabric; another set of workers spins the raw material into fabric; purchasers buy the fabrics that are used to create clothing; designers develop the designs for clothing; and seamstresses make the fabric into clothing.

Farmers grow and harvest the food we eat. Distributors transport and store the food. Store owners purchase and stock the food for consumer purchase.

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