The Industrial Revolution


Between the 7th and 8th centuries, there werefull of evolving economic and social ideas. The social structureviews of urban society came about through the ideas developmentacquired from the past revolutions. The Progress of IndustrialRevolution throughout the world created a gap in between the classstructures. One favorable achievement of the upper class was thedevelopment of a capitalist society. The use of advanced methods forproduction by the Industrial Revolution helped to earn a substantialsurplus from the ruling class. Therefore, the current class of lifewas maintained while the middle class were degraded and exploited(Crow, 2002). At that particular time in history, social theoristslike Emile Durkheim challenged the idea of social structure in theirtheories and ideas. Emile Durkheim was widely known as afunctionalist and he stated that everything in the society serves afunction and his main concern was to discover what the function couldbe.

Durkheim and the Anomie

The Anomie concept was used to describe changes in the society byearly sociologists by the Industrial Revolution. The disruption offorms and the death of traditional communities, values, and a used towas of life was a big concern to the sociologists and philosophers ofthe 19th century (Adler et al., 2005).

The word Anomie was used by Durkheim to mean “without norms,” soas to describe the interference that societies went through with thechange from agrarian, village based economies to industrialrevolution. According to Lemert (2010), Anomie can be used todescribe a societal state by referring to social systemcharacteristics and not those of the individuals even though theseindividuals may have been affected by this state.

Durkheim’s Idea on Mechanical Solidarity

Emile Durkheim from his point of view gave an example of a villagelife that based on agriculture and had consistency even before theIndustrial Revolution. It had well-established norms that governedindividuals’ day-to-day lives (Adler et al., 2005). Obligations,expectations, and behavior are the patterns prescribed by the norms.Emile Durkheim called this social life’s pattern mechanicalsolidarity. At the time of Industrial revolution, those communitiesthat were involved with “mechanical solidarity” hadself-contained small units in which the village and family providedfor all their member’s needs. The emergence of industrialcapitalism and the start of population shifts to the cities fromhinterlands, mechanical solidarity could not structure the sociallife successfully. Emile Durkheim had believed that a new “organicsolidarity” that was based on the division of labor would beexperienced, and with a standardized normative structure.

Durkheim’s Idea on Organic Solidarity

Before the emergence of organic solidarity, Durkheim knew that itcould take time. Just with the case of Industrial Revolution, thetransitional period was associated with normative disorganizationwhich Durkheim on his case described it as anomic (Crow, 2002). Bythis, he did not imply the state of literal normlessness but a stateof regulated normative disorder, which was less structured with apattern of life that was less ordered.

The industrial revolution experienced a lot of challenges andaccording to Durkheim’s organic solidarity, people did not know howto behave or what to expect. With a rapid change of industrializingEurope, Durkheim blamed it on normative yet inadequate regulation.


Crow, G. (2002). Social solidarities: Theories, identities, andsocial change. Buckingham: Open University.

Adler, F., Laufer, W. S., &amp Merton, R. K. (2005). The legacyof anomie theory. New Brunswick, N.J: Transaction Publishers.

Lemert, C. C. (2010). Social theory: The multicultural and classicreadings. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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