Abnormal Division of Labor

Division of labor does not necessary means that the society is working in ideal condition but its a continued struggle in DOL helps to tackle those abnormal forms which otherwise shake the equilibrium of social structure. Durkheim identifies three types of anomalies in his book DOL.
First he deals with Anomic DOL which occurs when certain functions of society are not
synchronized and which becomes a source of decomposition. It gives the feeling of isolation to
individual and he is limited to his own activity, neglects his colleagues and have no sense of achieving common goals. But Durkheim believes that enervation in collective consciousness is
normal process and social life is impossible without struggle. It is not DOL which is responsible
for this anomie but ‘relationship between the organs in the system are not well regulated’.
If the contacts between the two organs are obstructed, the rules which stem social solidarity to
fix equilibrium and relationship become vague and useless. Therefore DOL turns the worker into
‘lifeless cogs’. Durkheim argues that DOL does not create this circumstances but it’s the lack of
diversity and the dysfunction of certain organs which is responsible for that, while DOL
emphasis workers to interact with each other to break compartmentalization and promotes social solidarity.
Secondly, in order to create social solidarity, DOL does not require that everyone should be assigned some work but also the work ‘agreeable to him’ otherwise it is forced DOL. If work produces some unrest and panic among workers, one needs to investigate the distribution of social functions and its correspondence to distribution of natural abilities. In ideal conditions labor is divided according to their aptitude but inequality develops with the passage as perfect spontaneity does not exist in society. The common sentiments do not have substantial strength to keep individuals together in group in organic society. It is contract which develops the DOL and challenges inequality. In mechanical societies there are certain people who are born as poor or rich but in organic solidarity there would be no poor or rich unless the contract is unjust. He further states that these abnormalities are more prevalent in less modern societies where mechanical relationships are dominant over contractual obligations which ultimately causes inequality.
Third abnormal form of DOL also mentioned as another abnormal form occurs when ‘organs of the system’ are too dysfunctional to produce efficient social solidarity. In this typology, highly developed DOL sometimes is insufficiently integrated and the regulator fails to distribute work among individuals to keep them busy to get optimum output. It’s a functional failure which causes this form of abnormal DOL. On the other hand if the functions are smooth and DOL is evenly distributed this activity will increase in social solidarity with more active participation and function in this way becomes more continuous.
As actions are more solidly linked to one another , they become more dependent on one another. The more individuals which work in a society, the more each individual will specialize. At the same time, each worker must increase his activity to meet the needed amount of product. Hence, a second reason for why the DOL fosters social cohesion: 'It fosters the unity of the organization by the very fact that it adds to its life.'
Durkheim classifies these abnormal forms of labor and then investigates into the causes of those anomalies. He does not stop here but also prescribes the solutions to fix those anomalies. Being an ardent supporter of DOL, he firmly believes that change in social structure is only possible through normal distribution of DOL. Like Marx, he also digs deep into the anomalies such as inequality and deprivation but his analysis of causes more scientific and methodological. His prescription for social change is for transformation from mechanical to organic by using the instrument of division of labor. But Marx, social change perspective is revolutionary and immediate. Though both have contributed a lot for modern sociology but it seems that Durkheim doctrine is more prevalent and acceptable in modern society.

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