ANOMIC DIVISION OF LABOUR
There is anomic division of labour where the division of
labour in the workplace is based on power and social and economic status, rather than on
differentiations of individual ability or effort.
In such circumstances, according to Emile Durkheim
(1858-1917), the division of labour cannot command normative consensus and may become a
source of anomie and breakdown of social solidarity.
From Anomie to Anomia and Anomic Depression: A Sociological Critique on the
Use of Anomie in Psychiatric Research - Mathieu Deflem, www.mathieudeflem.net
Abstract The author of this paper demonstrates that the sociological concept of
anomie has undergone important transformations when applied in psychiatric research. It is
argued that these transformations are not fully in concordance with the original theories
of anomie as they were set forth by Durkheim and Merton. Two approaches in social and
cross-cultural psychiatry are examined in this context. First, the concept of anomia as
introduced and applied in the research of Leo Srole is discussed. Second, attention is
paid to the concept of anomic depression as it was introduced by Wolfgang Jilek in his
research among the Coast Salish Indians.
Durkheim first employed the concept of anomie in his
doctoral thesis The Division of Labor in Society in which he devoted a chapter to the
"anomic division of labour" [5, 6]. Here Durkheim argues that under normal
circumstances the division of labour produces social (organic) solidarity. Under
exceptional circumstances, i.e. when all the conditions for the existence of organic
solidarity have not been realized, the division of labour presents pathological or anomic
forms. The conditions for the existence of organic solidarity are two-fold: first, there
should be a system of solidary organs, and, second, the way in which these organs come
together must be predetermined, i.e. regulated by a set of rules. In the case of
industrial or commercial crises and with respect to the conflict between labour and
capital, and the lack of unity in the sciences, regulation does not exist or is not in
accord with the degree of development of the division of labour. In these cases, the
relations among the organs are not regulated, they are in a state of anomie. -
The Anomic Division of Labour
Extracts from Emile Durkheim - mdx.ac.uk/WWW/STUDY/XDUR.HTM - Book 3 Chapter One: The
Anomic Division of Labour, Section 1
Abnormal forms where the division of labour does not produce solidarity. Necessity for
1. Abnormal cases in economic life; industrial crises more frequent as labour is divided;
antagonism of labour and capital. Likewise, the unit of science is lost as scientific
labour becomes specialised.
2. Theory which makes these effects inherent in the division of labour. According to
Comte, the remedy consists in a great development of the governmental organ and in the
institution of a philosophy of the sciences. Inability of the governmental organ to
regulate the details of economic life; - of the philosophy of sciences to assure the unity
3. If, in these cases, functions do not concur, it is because their relations are not
regulated; the division of labour is anomic. Necessity of regulation. How, normally, it
comes from the division of labour. How it fails in the examples cited.
This anomy arises from the solidary organs not being in sufficient contact or sufficiently
prolonged. This contact is the normal state.
When the division of labour is normal, it does not confine the individual in a task
without giving him a glimpse of anything outside it.