compare and contrast durkheim and marxist Essay

Compare and contrast a Durkheim and a Marxist analysis of penalty in modern society.

Emile Durkheim is good known for his work on suicide related issues. However, Durkheim is non sole to the country of self-destruction, he had ample experience and expertness in other countries of sociological involvement and one outstanding field is offense and penalty. Why do societies penalize wrongdoers? This is a inquiry that has been profoundly explored by many sociologists including Binding who felt that a society’s “right to punishment…was nil but the right to obeisance of the jurisprudence, which has been transformed by the offender’s disobedience.” The chief aim of penalty therefore was “the inmate’s subjection under the power of jurisprudence for the interest of keeping the authorization of the Torahs violated.” Therefore, penalty was meant to “represent the sanctity and inviolability of the responsibilities to which it is attached.”Durkheim assigns the power of penalty to the province for the intent of reconstructing and keeping societal and corporate scruples. He felt that offenses shatter social solidarity and when there is a right to punishment, and so society can reconstruct its religion in each other by penalizing the wrongdoer.

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However, Durkheim contends that in complex modern societies, corporate feelings of retaliation have been slightly replaced by Anomie. And this anomy has weakened penalty which leads to more offenses and offenses against the society.Durkheim argues that people are shaped by their societal experiences and it follows that if the corporate scruples is weakened by, for illustration, excessively much condemnable behaviour, the moral ties that bind people together are besides weakened. When this happens, the construct used by Durkheim to show this weakening of moral ties was that of Anomie.For Durkheim, anomie occurred when traditional norms of behaviour were undermined without being replaced by new norms.

In the absence of clear moral guidelines for their behaviour, people experience feelings of anxiousness, purposelessness, aimlessness, freak out and so forth. Anomie, hence, was seen by Durkheim to be a really unsafe phenomenon, chiefly because when people no longer believe in their duties to others, they revert to opportunism. In consequence, they attempt to look after themselves without trouble oneselfing excessively much about how this may impact the lives of others.How has this alteration occurred if at all? Is the condemnable justness system truly more indulgent in modern societies than it used to be? This is the inquiry that forms the footing for Durkheim’s full premiss on the topic of condemnable justness in modern society. The fact that there is a close connexion between Durkheim’s construct of anomy and alterations in the condemnable justness system can non be denied.

One of his sternest critics acknowledged that “there is besides an implicit in cogency in the importance that Durkheim attaches to the jurisprudence for any apprehension of society” [ 9 ] p. 36. Surely the phenomenon of jurisprudence was of important importance in Durkheim’s sociological theoretical account because it was an external index of a degree of societal life at which moral forces became crystallised and institutionalized to a grade where they were formalized and backed by countenances.Durkheim could see the difference between the jurisprudence prevailing in traditional and modern societies. Though he went somewhat overboard with his divisions, it is a fact that Durkheim was among the first few to foreground the differences that had led to a displacement in penalty from bodily penalty to institutionalised retaliation. On a milder note, Durkheim said, “The responsibility of the solon is no longer to impel societies violently towards an ideal which appears attractive to him.

His function is instead that of the physician: he forestalls the eruption of illness by keeping good hygiene, or when it does interrupt out, seeks to bring around it. ( Durkheim, 1982: 104 )Let us now study the differences in more item. What was the primary difference? Harmonizing to Durkheim the difference lied in the strength of penalty. In traditional societies, penalty was more bodily in nature ; it focused on the organic structure of the wrongdoer. In modern societies, things have become more complex and focal point has shifted to institutionalization. This institutionalization has led to a indulgent signifier of penalty. And a batch of this can be attributed to breakdown of societal coherence.The modern society is different from what you would anticipate a traditional society to be.

Modern society is normally more “progressive, ” “industrial” but at the same clip mercenary. This facet of the society makes it extremely individualistic excessively. The individuality factor leads to the creative activity of what you would name a egoistic civilization. In this egoistic zone, people are more concerned about their ain public assistance than the public assistance of the society on the whole. Durkheim blames this individualistic run for the dislocation of societal coherence and corporate scruples that is the primary cause of societal decay every bit good as indulgent penalty.I agree with Durkheim that penalty today is indulgent. It does concentrate on retaliation but there is a greater focal point on rehabilitation of wrongdoers which gives the whole image a compassionate position therefore ensuing in lenience which is non frequently desired.

Leniency is non desirable in all instances and in traditional societies or old universe societies when penalty was stricter, offense rate was lower and recidivism was about negligible.There is another of import construct which should be instilled here. Conformity is what Durkheim would desire in a societal system today but this conformance factor has been losing since people want to hold their ain individualistic run. They do non desire to conform.

But for a society to care about each other’s public assistance and to construct coherence, conformance is desirable. Ethical motives and values can frequently take a backseat or they lose their strength when there are excessively many groups and each has its ain position. ( Anthony Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory. An Analysis of the Hagiographas of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press ( 1971 ) , 103 ) .When there is deficiency of conformance, there is besides an increased hazard of struggle and this can jeopardize the greater involvement of the society. Durkheim feels that deficiency of conformance is one of the chief grounds for growing of struggle and for farther division of involvement and for this ground ; he suggests that conformance should be. He besides suggests the usage of restitutive jurisprudence as a possible solution delivery and keeping jurisprudence in a modern organic society.

Durkheim’s position of modern society’s jurisprudence and indulgent penalty emerges from his positions on alienated division of labour. Harmonizing to this construct division of labour of alienated type takes topographic point when norms modulating activities break down or neglect to emerge. One beginning of this anomy has been the rapid growing in economic conditions which gave rise to new “interests in struggle ( which ) have non yet had clip to be equilibrated” p. 370.Another major beginning was the disagreements that existed between a group’s outlooks and their accomplishments. In such an air of “relative deprivation” , regulations that antecedently governed the agencies to end attainment interrupt down, and anomy and increased upset could ensue. Some sociologists have sought to do international comparings, keeping that, on the footing of this theory, it should be possible to foretell that in states with an advanced division of labour, greater inequality and/or want and/or rapid rate of alteration would be of import forecasters of higher degrees of political instability and struggle.

One general effect is that the absence of ordinance can take to unspecified desires, and the other is that for the single specializer worker, work itself can lose its significance. With respect to the forced division of labour, the possible effects are, foremost, a bitterness of development and an effort to run into force with force ( opposition or revolution ) ; secondly, there is the response of fatalistic credence of domination. In a society where anomy and forced division of labour are combined, the limitless desires/resentment and meaninglessness/fatalism braces reinforce each other. Some critics ( Horton ) have sought to contrast Durkheim’s construct of anomy with Marx’s construct of disaffection, but the contrast merely holds up if anomy is kept separate from the forced division of labour ; whereas in pattern, as Durkheim perceived, they are often combined. There can be absence of ordinance ( anomy ) at one degree and coercive ordinance at another degree ( forced division of labour ) , as exemplified by unrestricted competition and deficiency of understanding over the ordinance of monetary values and incomes, on the one manus, and inequality of chances on the other. However, in Durkheim’s position, self-generated fond regard to norms ( as distinct from coerced fond regard deducing from an imposed political orientation ) could merely happen when the forced division of labour was mitigated.Durkheim drew a crisp contrast between two systems of jurisprudence: one dominated by inhibitory countenances and matching to mechanical solidarity, and the other characterized by a predomination of restitutive rules matching to organic solidarity.

Critics pointed out that the contrast was overdrawn, and besides that many of the societies he used as illustrations of mechanical solidarity and inhibitory penal systems were in fact non simple tribal or kin societies, but already possessed the basicss of cardinal province organisation, as in the instance of the ancient Jewish and Roman societies.The most of import add-ons or alterations to his original thesis were concerned with his categorization of offenses, and with respect to the political factor. Whereas, in the original thesis, the chief contrast was between inhibitory and restitutive countenances, in the ulterior article the contrast involves a categorization of offenses into those that are basically spiritual in character—offences against shared moral dogmas that constitute the corporate conscience—and those that are “individual” , in the sense of affecting the basically private involvements of progressively independent persons.

Penal countenances besides change in measure and quality, with a motion off from bodily penalty and toward striping the person of ownerships or freedom, i.e. mulcts and imprisonment. This development corresponds to the increasing distinction within society, and the increasing focal point on the person, in this instance as condemnable or victim.

Durkheim makes an interesting point about prisons merely coming into being when a society reached a sufficiently advanced phase of stuff development to allow the being of secure and bastioned constitutions, such as palaces or other big homes of a male monarch or category of luminaries.This was the sort of institutionalization I mentioned earlier in the paper. Now that a state has driven towards institutionalization, it has resulted in automatic lenience. Wrongdoers do non endure bodily penalty because it is by and large disapproved of in the society. Such an attitude leads to lenience of penalty which may frequently turn out to be damaging for societal coherence and general peace.

One characteristic of Durkheim’s societal thought—one that most modern pupils are likely to notice—is that he can be placed upon either side of the political spectrum in a reasonably straightforward mode. This surely suggests something about the denseness of his idea, every bit good as the legion ways in which his Hagiographas can be misunderstood. Basically, Durkheim borrowed parts of what he considered to be “social facts” from the left and the right. This should non be surprising sing Durkheim’s primary apprehension of society: society, to him, is a moral world.The societal truths can merely be grasped as such if they are reflected in moral beliefs.

In other words, he believes there is an nonsubjective world because societal battles serve to bespeak to single human existences that they are contending for something independent of their ain sense perceptual experiences ; something abstract and universal. Nevertheless, sociological account must basically be concerned with what is independent of psychological science and single points of position ; it consists of the hunt for the aim within the context of the subjective.To Marx, nevertheless, even if this signifier of understanding proposed by Durkheim is come-at-able, the material universe environing humanity is necessarily altered through the procedure of cognizing it.

Consequently, human perceptual experience is non to the full capable of hold oning the truth behind events ; it is merely able to develop some representative illustration of it. So, the scientific observations of the universe and the cognition gained from these observations enable worlds to acknowledge and enforce forms of behaviour upon the physical universe, therefore, to pull strings it in a mode that can ne’er be wholly comprehended.History, to Marx, has been misconstrued by the impression that some conceptual theoretical account can be used to qualify the history of production and labour.

He attacks this manner of understanding the patterned advance of human history: “Thus, history must ever be written harmonizing to an immaterial criterion. The existent production of life appears as something unhistorical, while the historical appears as something separated from ordinary life, something superterrestrial, ” ( Marx 125 ) .There is no such thing as nonsubjective truth, but our forms of idea can germinate if human milieus are besides to germinate. Consequently, to continue the position quo is to selectively disregard the go oning procedures of human idea and geographic expedition.Durkheim, on the other manus, is concerned with doing wide sociological and psychological averments about humanity.

In order to carry through his end, Durkheim must do usage of a instead hard term: surroundings. Broadly, Durkheim contends that every characteristic of societal phenomena must be viewed through the lens of the peculiar clip period in which it exists—its “milieu.” Put otherwise, if we are concerned with sociological analysis, so the unit of step of the “individual” is about immaterial ; the lone unit that can be productively employed is the surroundings.Consequently, Durkheim believes that the societal position is the most cardinal point of view to see human life ; hence, psychological theories are inconsequential. So it should non be surprising that Durkheim argues that the societal division of labour is non simply an abstract societal phenomenon ; alternatively it is a natural jurisprudence of human being. Although world interacts closely with his environment, the societal worlds of his life trump the more concrete worlds:“The same cause which increases the importance of the corporate environment weakens the organic environment in such a mode as to do it accessible to the action of societal causes and to subordinate it to them, ” ( Durkheim ) .The most prevailing expostulation to Marx’s theory of the province is that the mechanism needed to guarantee this equality of the categories is an important province.

Historically, this is why communist provinces have ne’er been genuinely successful in the manner Marx envisioned. To Marx, the continuance of category struggles can merely ensue in a signifier of communism. Others have asserted that the state of affairss that are mature for communism are simply situational and non ineluctable. As a consequence, capitalist economy will non needfully come on to communism, but may take an wholly new signifier. Broadly, the differences between Marx and Durkheim’s readings of societal establishments reveal the failing inherent to both.

Durkheim chose to take a strictly mystical position sing society ; it was the result of abstract impressions and societal norms. Marx, on the other manus, saw it as strictly a mercenary construction ; it was based upon touchable and physical worlds. Surely, neither can be wholly accurate, but both maintain a degree of truth every bit good as value for the hereafter.


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