The Conception of Occupational Practices in Durkheim

The Conception of Occupational Practices in Durkheim





Durkheim came up with a theory relating to society and the conflicts that occur within a community. He particularly focuses his approach on the role of the society as an object and what it does (Durkheim & Coser, 1997). Throughout Durkheim’s study of sociology, he was able to differentiate the field of sociology with respect to the other fields of social sciences. According to Elwell (2003), Durkheim defined social facts as behavioral patterns, which are capable of exercising coercive powers towards individuals. The social facts, in other words, are external controls and guides of conduct that surround a person. They can be internalized in the consciousness of the particular person by means of education and socialization (Elwell, 2003). As part of the societal role, education and socialization are key guidelines and limits that determine the moral values. These moral values encompass the well-being of a society. Throughout his study, Durkheim believed that a society is defined more by harmony instead of conflict (Shortell).

In Durkheim’s theory of modernity, the notion of self-organizing constitutive performance presents in it a visionary picture of a modern and more flexible society (Durkheim & Coser, 1997). This society can be easily differentiated. The theory also identifies the society as strong and democratic therefore; it can be able to support individual freedom and equality (Durkheim & Coser, 1997). The same theory, at the same time, facilitates communal solidarity and unity without the use of force or unnecessary forms of brutal strengths (Rawls, 2012). Using Durkheim’s theory of the MITRE organization, a non-profit organization views itself as a secondary institution despite the fact that it is a high security facility (Rawls et al., 2009).

Such a campus style method of work relations ensures that problems that are identified in the initial stages of research are identified then addressed collectively. Even though MITRE is a large corporation, certain dilemmas befall the organization. With one of the corporation’s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures project, the MITRE team faced certain dilemmas. The dilemmas include trying to explain the data provided by the company’s standards team. The data states that each potential stakeholder dwells in a certain societal environment and in that environment; information obtained has a different meaning as compared to other contexts (Rawls et al., 2009). Because of this, each stakeholder subgroup conceives similar vulnerabilities, but in different ways. This means that there are indexical properties presented by the data manufactured article.

One of the main themes behind Durkheim’s work is concerned with the basis of public order and confusion (Durkheim & Coser, 1997). According to Elwell (2003), the needs and self-interests of an individual can only be kept in check by external forces that are acting and originating outside the individual. In his theory, Durkheim characterizes the external forces as part of a collective sense of right and wrong. The collective sense of right or wrong is a common societal bond that is articulated by the use of ideas, beliefs of one’s culture, and also theories and norms by individual members of a particular culture (Elwell, 2003). In the context of relating semantic problems and levels of thought, part of the MITRE team argues that as the level’s thought diminishes while the human understanding still applies, then the rate of semantic levels decreases, as well (Elwell, 2003). Relating the levels of thought and semantic problems to the human understanding and communication practices by the MITRE team would destroy the company team’s efforts. This is possible because it would make Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures as well as the Common Configuration Enumeration quite inaccessible (Durkheim & Coser, 1997).

The other study conducted exclusively by Durkheim pertains to the idea that a society should not rely on other factors such as a psychological feature. In this study, suicide was one aspect that was perceived widely as one of the most powerful individual acts (Elwell, 2003). Irresponsibility was also perceived as pure and was a determinant among the psychological factors, as well as biographical factors. An example is the perception one has regarding their life history and psychological state in case of committing suicide (Elwell, 2003). An individual may be despised by the rest of the community due to his social lifestyle and in the end, prompting the person to commit suicide.

The other theory of societal communication as characterized by the contemporary individual is suffering (Elwell, 2003). Durkheim describes anomie as a state of relative norm in the community and a part of its component cluster. It is argued that when societal regulations break down the influence that control personal desires and interests, then individuals are left to make their own choices in case of ineffectiveness. The anomies identified by Durkheim are associated with modernization. These anomie causes include the rapid changes in the social lifestyles and the division of labour (Durkheim & Coser, 1997).

In conclusion, Emile Durkheim is innovative, democratic and restrained as compared to his predecessors who include Carl Marx and Weber (Shortell). During Durkheim’s time, he emphasized the need for a government to fully comply with the law. Such governments can either be in an organization or in a community. In so doing, such organizations would create and sustain the social solidarity together with the moral fibre that holds the society. Durkheim’s theory of sociology also encourages the development of a modernized society by means of peaceful interactions instead of coercion.


Durkheim, E. & Coser, L.A. (1997). The division of Labour in Society. New York: Free Press.

Elwell, F. W. (2003). The Sociology of Emile Durkheim. Retrieved January 26 2013 from: HYPERLINK “”

Rawls, A. W. (2012). Durkheim’s theory of modernity: Self-regulating practices as constitutive orders of social and moral facts. Journal of Classical Sociology, 12 (3-4), 480-506. DOI: 10.1177/1468795X12454476.

Rawls, A. W., Mann, D., Garcia, A. C., David, G. & Burton, M. (2009). Ethnomethodology and MITRE Information Assurance Data Standards. Retrieved January 26, 2013, from

Shortell, T. (N.d.). Division of Labour & Social Integration. Retrieved January 26 2013 from: HYPERLINK “”

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