Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CBS Morning News - April 1, 2009 (Not an April Fools Joke)

London - G-20 Conference - Protester's sign in street - CAPITALISM ISNT WORKING

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Durkheim - The Causes

Durkheim postulates that the segmentary (mechanical solidarity) structure must be eliminated, to some degree at the very least, for the organized structure "to appear". The greater the degree of organization, the greater the individuality. And, logically, the epidermis of each segment found in the mechanical environment is neutralized and breaks down inexorably as organization becomes dominant. Durkheim stated that as "partitions" between segments in a mechanical solidarity environment are penetrated, organic solidarity begins to develop and take over. Essentially, social contracts, dictated by the division of labor's resultant interdependence, predominate. Social, psychological, emotional, and physical movements between and toward organically-oriented individuals occurs, and of course, as Durkheim stated, reciprocity to meet needs in the aforementioned domains is a consequential, driving force that helps sustain these relationships. Durkheim claims that each individual is found within a system with like-participants (i.e. with individualized qualities) along the specialized, professional dimension; a member of a unique "alveolar system"; and it is within this specialized system are intra-social relationships. This fits quite well within the organic solidarity structure promulgated by Durkheim. Each individual's connectivity between alveolar systems is plausible and occurs for each individual becoming more and more organically integrated. This in turn generates a more integrated division of labor. It appears these two variables have a mutually reinforcing nature. Of course, Durkheim reinforced the dynamic quality of this social structure.

Durkheim posited the deep relationship between moral and physical density; the latter can be utilized to measure the former and the former unable to increase without a corresponding increase in the latter. "They are inseparable." In this vein, towns and cities are able to grow via a desire to merge together as humans, to seek greater interdependence, reciprocal relationships, and social contracts. Social contracts are characterized by, among other aspects, standards of behavior, discourse, and obligations mostly of a prescriptive nature inherent to professions and corollary relationships that stem from the integrative and quality of the organized division of labor.

Organic societies have characteristically greater physical density than mechanical. Towns do not exist in the segmentary dimension, also quite logically so. The fact that towns have become cities, cities metropolises, metropolises megalopolises, might in itself reveal or lend credibility to Durkheim's contention that humans gravitate to one another within the context of organizational growth for moral reasoning. Perhaps not, given the fact that there exists not a pure organic environment. Instead, it is advanced at this point that it may simply be for employment. However, in general, with employment in a more highly populated area comes greater access to goods and services related to modernity. Given the potential for these to go hand-in-hand, the outgrowths of individualization and interdependency may come readily, and therefore, if morality is consistent with these variables, an increase in this variable as well.

Durkheim touches on communication, citing that as population density increases, so do the means and number of communications. With the advent of the world wide web, population density becomes irrelevant. However, the Internet does not in terms of furthering the breadth of communication, and therefore, increasing the connections between humans, engendering an increased interdependency between humans. This means of communication, and intra-relationship development, along with other electronic instruments, is a facet of an organic society. It, along with other variables, increases the density of, in this case, world-society, and this includes moral density. Make no mistake about it, there seems to be some substance to this observation. The division of labor begets scientific knowledge and the computer's essence is a contemporary example of this. This invention was obviously accompanied discoveries, essential to its development. The implicit endeavors associated with this invention encompass a multitude of specializations beyond this writer's immediate count. The resultant endeavors beyond the more immediate include a myriad of interdependent and intra-relational encounters (i.e. obviously in an organic society these are more than encounters) that as time goes by may be categorized as infinitesimal. In the end, Durkheim stipulates all are governed by a morality based in social contracts. This morality is greater than displayed in mechanical societies. Given the fluid nature of this entire scenario, in theory it is manageable; de facto, it is much harder to measure or "take a snapshot" in time to evaluate its ascension.

Durkheim maintains social volume (number of individuals) and population density influence the diviison of labor in like manner.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Durkheim Critiquing Spencer's social solidarity viewpoint

Durkheim takes on Spencer in Book One, Chapters VI and VII, comparing, contrasting, and critiquing as he goes. I plan to do an above average job of delineating Durkheim's impressions of Spencer's understanding of social solidarity. I am going to number more than a few pertinent points. At this point, I may perceive some of Durkheim's interpretations ambiguous. I hope somebody takes the time to "chime in" and give me their interpretation of my interpretation of Durkheim's interpretation (I just had to write that, didn't I?). I may use Durkheim's terminology to maintain consistency throughout and when using Spencer's terminology, will hopefully note this.

1. According to Durkheim, Spencer observed the ascendancy of the individual as the division of labor produced specialization.
2. Spencer posited that in mechanical societies, the individual inevitably was "absorbed" into the collective group by virtue of frequency of war. The frequency is demonstrated by Durkheim using the terms "the state of warfare that is endemic in lower societies". Durkheim ensures he presents a distinction between the two philosophers/sociologists by maintaining Spencer saw this diminution of the individual as a product of a "constraint" in the society.
3. Thus, survival is through a collective force. (No different along this narrow dimension from Durkheim's viewpoint, since the collective consciousness is necessary for survival to repel a threat.)
4. Perhaps consistent with Durkheim's collective consciousness is Spencer's understanding of the allegiance to a higher authority, in this case, a governmental structure or "organ" as Durkheim frequency states. Inherent to the build up of a military segment within a society is the necessity of an extremely powerful authority irrespective of time in history until a shift in the form of division of labor.
5. Spencer generalizes and stipulates that the individual's will is subservient to the government in all transactions, "public and private".
6. Durkheim understands Spencer to theorize an "organised despotism", based in militarism, in "lower" society. Therefore, it is defined as a military society by Spencer.
7. In contrast, Durkheim observed the "rubbing out" of the individual due to a dearth of centralization and, instead, homogeneity among inhabitants in viewpoint and behavior.
8. Spencer maintained that it took a coercive power to eliminate individuality. No!...stated had and has nothing to do with this...yesteryear, mechanical folks did not give up individuality in thought or action, it "did not that moment in history". It could not have existed, logically, Durkheim sets out due to the simple division of labor and the solidarity type necessary for survival.
9. Durkheim postulates that Spencer "twists" his explanation to fit his theory when he labels non-military and authoritarian societies as "democratic". Spencer creates a step in the process that does not exist, Durkheim stated (the process from mechanical to organic). The authority figure in the form of a coercive government is not the focal point at all; the collective consciousness would exist in either case due to the division of labor's makeup.
10. The collective group becomes the collective authority in the form of a recognized single authority. Collective despotism is obviously possible using this logic. The collective authority is manifested in an authorized position; the one occupying the authorized position is meaningless; the collective authority is the despot, the power, the controller of all individuals, giving its authority, vision, needs, and expectations to the centralized authority; but still retaining its authority. The collective group may not understand this at first glance. It is what it has created. It was and is necessary to survive as perceived by all. The group voluntarily creates the authority figure position and subject themselves to its power and authority. The collective controls itself through the authority and looks to the authority for its power. (My interpretation of Durkheim's viewpoint.)
11. Individualism is not inherent to the species (Durkheim). The environment dictates the degree of collectivity and individualism and the types and degree of consciousness. This is understandably so; even some physiological needs such as thirst and hunger must be met within a social context; reliance upon others is natural in rudimentary ways and learned in others.
12. In other cases within a very simply mechanical solidarity environment, the collective authority may be "diffused", and an authority may not exist. The collective authority is absolute within the collective.
13. Instead of the authority being part of the collective group, as Durkheim points out, this is the first instance of an individual arising out of the masses with the excathedra intrinsic to the position. "This is the first step to individualism". Durkheim made this point to distinguish himself from Spencer; who did not observe the step then taken as the authority figure now has power to make decisions of his own; he may assert his will in the face of the collective will. "The balance is upset". The collective group may not have anticipated this, but came to understand it over time.
14. Durkheim points out that to understand a society and the bestowing of power and authority in a position or political structure, we must look at its complex feelings and opinions ("sentiments"), and not the individual in the position of power. This explains the strength of the collective consciousness. Don't look at the empowered individual, look at the strength of the ideas and opinions that eventually caused judgments and actions.
15. The necessity or opportunity to delegate increases power in the appointed authority (Durkheim).
16. Durkheim notes that in the industrialized societies of Spencer, just as in organic solidarity societies, the division of labor begets "social harmony".
17. For Spencer, industrial society (organic) is spontaneous and coercion is unnecessary for its development or maintenance.
18. "The sphere of social action" will decrease since social intervention and other actions will diminish (as direction outside the individual decreases except cursory governance); transactions are self-contained and directed; and the limited regulation beyond the self will be of a negative nature. (Spencer)
19. Accordingly, the only "link" between persons will be the exclusive "free exchange" transaction. As individualism increases, this type of connection becomes the the "predominant" relationship "throughout society". (Spencer)
20. Exchange is via contract. With industrialization and diminished militarism, centralized power and authority decreases, increasing "freedom of action" and generalizing the contract "relationship". I will venture that Spencer meant that all individualized persons, free to contract with others, will do so independent of others with freedom. This type of relationship is found across the society. Spencer posits that this environment produces a social contract without formal guidelines or even of an "implicit"nature. Durkheim maintains this is false and could not logically be so since we can't govern ourselves in concert at any moment in time, or as we progress through time and change, given our divergent and numerous roles; our "consciousness can't be completely generalized; we and our environment in an organic environment are much too complex and fluid. This theory actually resembles the collective, non-individualized thought patterns of the military societies Spencer advanced, according to Durkheim, and therefore, we may dismiss this oxymoronic ideas. Durkheim continues, advancing again that Spencer assumes a collective consciousness to industrialized society, a folly.
21. Durkheim chastised Spencer for the focus on spontaneity, observing the salience of reflective thought manifested in legislative bodies and their activities in organic societies.
22. "Continuing to live" in a society does not produce a social contract of Spencer's creation, Durkheim stated.
23. Spencer, according to Durkheim, believed that all social relations are based on the economic relationship. No regulations are involved. The transaction occurs exclusively on the volition of the participants. All relationships would be manifested by transactions related to the products of each participants' labor. Durkheim, of course, advances the thought that such a narrow context for social interactions and relationships would create instability. He mentions two obvious repercussions: brevity of interaction and weak bonds between people. He also reveals the conflictual nature to such a superficial and business-like interaction...there is obviously a degree of or exclusive self-interest; as one "re-assumes oneself", moves on, and contemplates how to respond to the next adversarial meeting within the next transaction. Durkheim maintains self-interest is not as prominent as the opposite: the desire to unite and "penetrate" the social to understand the psychological and emotional element supercedes.
24. Spencer and Durkheim agree the more evolved a society is the more you will see the more social and interactive traits that bind humankind.
25. Social action is measured in the "legal form", according to Durkheim. Its growth continues. The "sphere of social activity" actually grows, and does not atrophy with industrialization. Logically, if life requires greater regulations, it is because it is more "abundant". Indeed, the form of regulation changes, it is "transformed" to meet the different social needs of the society. Durkheim warns to not misinterpret this, repressive law may decrease along some dimension (i.e. number of, or the actually enforcement of), but this does not indicate a lesser "social discipline". "Different is not less". Normative social behavior is more governed and defined in response to greater social complexities.
26. Durkheim contended Spencer thought positive social controls were going away. No so, Durkheim claimed...positive restitutive law is alive and well as defined and clarified: (a) Within what parameters "does the relationship exist?"; and (b) What are the inherent obligations? These questions denote procedure to be followed...procedure is guidance. The key is: Do prescriptions or proscriptions dominate. Durkheim claims the former. My experience in the justice system and in life in general tells me he may be accurate.
27. Durkheim takes the position that Spencer did not believe that non-contractual relationships are generated stride-for-stride with contractual relationships within a organically development society.
28. Spencer and Durkheim differ in that the later observed the proliferation of restitutive law, while the former did not as societies move from military to industrial (Spencer) or mechanical to organic (Durkheim). I have found an overview of the present-day Great Britain, Wales, and Northern Ireland court system and present it below. In itself, it does not prove either position correct or incorrect. It does reveal a complexity and functional differentiations.

Courts of law
This information applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland
The county court
The magistrates’ court
The Crown Court
The High Court
The Court of Appeal
The House of Lords
The European Court of Justice
The European Court of Human Rights

The county court
Cases dealt with by the county court
The county court deals with civil cases which are dealt with by a judge or district judge. A case can be started in any county court but it may be transferred to the defendant’s local court. If the case is defended and the claim is for a fixed amount of money, the case will be transferred automatically by the court to the defendant’s local court (if the defendant is an individual not a company). In other cases the defendant can request its transfer.
All claims arising from regulated credit agreements must be started in the county court, whatever their value.
For details of regulated credit agreements, see Credit.
Examples of cases dealt with by the county court
County courts can deal with a wide range of cases, but the most common ones are:-
landlord and tenant disputes, for example, possession (eviction), rent arrears, repairs
consumer disputes, for example, faulty goods or services
personal injury claims (injuries caused by negligence), for example, traffic accidents, falling into holes in the pavement, accidents at work
undefended divorce cases and proceedings to end a registered civil partnership, but only in some county courts. In inner London the Principle registry of the family division in the Strand deals with undefended divorces and proceedings to end registered civil partnerships
some domestic violence cases, but these may also be heard in the magistrates court
race, sex and disability discrimination cases
discrimination cases
debt problems, for example, a creditor seeking payment
employment problems, for example, wages or salary owing or pay in lieu of notice.
Small claims cases
In England and Wales, a case will, if defended, be dealt with in one of three ways. The court will decide which procedure will apply and then allocate the case to the corresponding ‘track’. The three tracks are:-
the small claims track
the fast track
the multi-track.
The small claims track is the usual track for claims with a value of £5,000 or less. The procedure in the small claims track is simpler than in the other tracks and in most cases the losing party will not have to pay the other party's costs.
There is one track to small claims in Northern Ireland for claims with a value of £2,000 or less.
For more information, see Small claims.
Contact details of county courts in England and Wales
The website of HM Court Service has a useful tool which helps you find the contact details of your local county court. It also sets out access details of the court, for example, whether it has toilet facilities and parking places for disabled people. Go to
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The magistrates’ court
Magistrates’ courts deal with criminal and some civil cases, and cases are dealt with either by justices of the peace, who are unqualified and who are paid only expenses, or by District Judges (Magistrates’ Courts) who receive some payment. In Northern Ireland, cases are heard by paid magistrates only. Magistrates' courts usually only deal with cases which arise in their own area. In Northern Ireland, in exceptional cases, they can deal with offences that occur in a number of areas, for example, where several burglaries have been committed across a number of areas.
Criminal cases in the magistrates’ court
All criminal cases start in the magistrates' court.
Some cases begin in the magistrates' court and then automatically go to the Crown Court for trial by jury.
Other cases are started and finished in the magistrates' court. These are where the defendant is not entitled to trial by jury. They are known as summary offences. Summary offences involve a maximum penalty of six months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000 (£2,000 in Northern Ireland).
Magistrates also deal with offences where the defendant can choose trial by jury but decides to have their case heard in the magistrates' court. If the defendant chooses trial by jury, the case will be passed on to the Crown Court.
The youth court
The youth court deals with young people who have committed criminal offences, and who are aged between 10 and 17. The youth court is part of the magistrates court and up to three specially-trained magistrates hear the case. If a young person is charged with a very serious offence, which in the case of an adult is punishable with 14 years imprisonment or more, the youth court can commit them for trial at the Crown Court.
Civil cases in the magistrates’ court
Magistrates can deal with a limited number of civil cases as follows:-
some civil debts, for example, arrears of income tax, national insurance contributions, council tax and VAT arrears, rates in Northern Ireland
some matrimonial problems, for example, maintenance and removing a spouse from the matrimonial home
welfare of children, for example, local authority care or supervision orders, adoption proceedings and residence orders.
Contact details of magistrates' courts in England and Wales
The website of HM Court Service has a useful tool which helps you find the contact details of your local magistrates' court. It also sets out access details of the court, for example, whether it has toilet facilities and parking places for disabled people. Go to
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The Crown Court
The Crown Court deals with the following types of cases:-
more serious criminal offences which will be tried by judge and jury
appeals from the magistrates court - which are dealt with by a judge and at least two magistrates
convictions in the magistrates' court that are referred to the Crown Court for sentencing.
Imprisonment and fines in the Crown Court are more severe than in the magistrates' court.
Contact details of Crown Courts in England and Wales
The website of HM Court Service has a useful tool which helps you find the contact details of your local Crown Court. It also sets out access details of the court, for example, whether it has toilet facilities and parking places for disabled people. Go to
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The High Court
The High Court deals with civil cases, hears appeals in criminal cases, and also has the power to review the actions of individuals or organisations to make sure they have acted legally and justly. The High Court has three divisions, as follows:-
The Family Division
The Family Division deals with complex defended divorce cases, dissolution of civil partnerships, wardship, adoption, domestic violence and so on. It also deals with appeals from magistrates and county courts in matrimonial cases.
In Northern Ireland, the Family Division also deals with the affairs of people who are mentally ill and simple probate matters.
The Queens Bench Division
The Queens Bench Division deals with large and/or complex claims for compensation. It also deals with a limited number of appeals from magistrates courts or Crown Courts, as well as reviewing the actions of organisations to see whether they have acted legally, and with libel and slander actions.
The Chancery Division
The Chancery Division deals with trusts, contested wills, winding up companies, bankruptcy, mortgages, charities, contested revenue (usually income tax) cases etc.
Non-family claims in Northern Ireland
In Northern Ireland, the High Court can be used for a case if the value of the claim is over £15.000. In some circumstances, a case over £15,000 can be remitted to the county court and similarly a case under the value of £15,000 may be transferred from the High Court from the county court.
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The Court of Appeal
The Court of Appeal deals with civil and criminal appeals in England and Wales. Civil appeals from the High Court and the county court are dealt with, as well as from the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Lands Tribunal. Criminal appeals include appeals against convictions in the Crown Court, and points of law referred by the Attorney General following acquittal in the Crown Court or where the sentence imposed was unduly lenient.
In Northern Ireland, there can be a rehearing of a county court case in the High Court and an appeal from there if the case is stated to the Court of Appeal.
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The House of Lords
The Lords deal mainly with appeals from the Court of Appeal, or direct from the High Court, where the case involves a point of law or general public importance. Appeals are mostly about civil cases although the Lords do deal with some criminal appeals.
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The European Court of Justice
If your problem is one which is covered by European law, your case may be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), based in Luxembourg. This may happen if European legislation has not been implemented properly by a national government, if there is confusion over its interpretation, or if it has been ignored.
You must first pursue your case through the national legal system, but the national court can (and in some cases must) refer an issue to the ECJ for guidance (a ruling). The case is then sent back to the national court to make a decision based on the ruling of the ECJ.
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The European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, deals with cases in which a person thinks their human rights have been contravened and for which there is no legal remedy within the national legal system.

This system includes criminal and civil law. If we gravitate to administrative law, and more specifically within the State of Iowa, we see that Iowa has a system set up to ensure state agencies are following laws set for those agencies; hearings are necessary at some point when issues between citizens and an agency arise; Administrative Law Judges preside over these hearings, review evidence, apply law, and either make a recommendation or a final decision.

Spencer also saw the "military apparatus disappearing", but this far from the truth. Whether one focuses on the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) or a more generalized review of restitutive law that relates to the military, the existence of such is extraordinarily extensive and continues to grow.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Human Rights Watch Activist dies

February 15, 2009
Human Rights Activist Dies in Buffalo Plane Crash
As we continue to find out more about those who perished when Continental Flight 3407 crashed near Buffalo, New York, on Thursday night, yesterday's New York Times reported that Dr. Alison Des Forges, a human rights activist and historian who in 1994 tried to call the world's attention to the looming genocide in Rwanda and who later wrote what many consider the definitive account of the eventual slaughter of 500,000 Rwandans, was among the passengers on that plane. Dr. Des Forges was 66.

According to the Times report, her death was confirmed by Human Rights Watch, the New York-based advocacy group; Dr. Des Forges was senior adviser for the group's Africa division for nearly 20 years.
Dr. Des Forges (pronounced deh-FORZH) spent much of her adult life in Rwanda and the Great Lakes region of Africa. She was among a group of activists who investigated killings, kidnappings and other rights abuses of civilians in Rwanda from 1990 to 1993.
The Times story continues:
In May 1994, several weeks into the mass killing of Rwanda’s Tutsi minority, Dr. Des Forges called for the killings to be officially declared a genocide. By then about 200,000 people had been killed.
“Governments hesitate to call the horror by its name,” Dr. Des Forges wrote in The New York Times, “for to do so would oblige them to act: signatories to the Convention for the Prevention of Genocide, including the United States, are legally bound to ‘prevent and punish’ it.”
Peacekeepers should be sent into the country and economic sanctions imposed, Dr. Des Forges said, concluding, “Can we do anything less in the face of genocide, no matter what name we give it?”
After a Tutsi-led rebel group took power after ending the killings, Dr. Des Forges spent four years interviewing organizers and victims of the genocide. She testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, and at trials in Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada. She also appeared on expert panels convened by the United Nations and what is now the African Union, as well as the French and Belgian legislatures and the United States Congress.
According to the Times, Dr. Des Forges was also an authority on human rights violations in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, formerly Zaire.
Dr. Des Forges is survived by her husband, Roger; one daughter, Jessie; a son, Alexander; a brother, Douglas Small Liebhafsky; and three grandchildren. They -- and the rest of the world -- have lost someone special.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Durkheim/Dreyfus Affair/Anti-Semitism/France's Third Republic/Public Sentiment and Political Action

Simply taking notes at this point.

Durkheim appears to take the following viewpoint, and please forgive the order of thoughts...

1. Durkheim, in his explanation of Anti-Semitism in France in the late 19th century, posited that France's moral and social conditions exhibited a diminished degree of social solidarity; a feeling of international embarrassment and inadequacy due to at least two significant military defeats in the prior40 years; an evolving division of labor without a full capacity to integrate all participants into the social fabric; a corresponding rise of militarism; a foul economy; creating a condition of moral and social deprivation keen in the development of Anti-Semitic feelings, attitudes, and behavior of an extreme emotional nature. These factored into a state of anomie, begetting a need for a scapegoat, in this case, Jews. The Dreyfus Affair demonstrated France's torn, social fabric; as two sides engaged in a military criminal court battle lasting 12 years, involving a Jewish Army Captain (Dreyfus), several general and field Army officers, espionage, conspiracy, four convictions of three different individuals (one whom fled the country to avoid imprisonment), community activists and intellectuals, government officials outside the military, politicians, journalists, and had the affect of separating the country into two distinct and opposing segments across the country.
2. Social Solidarity plays an important role in its development, maintenance, amelioration, and elimination of Anti-Semitism. To eliminate a burgeoning, growing or even pervasive Anti-Semitic attitude in a society, social solidarity must be restored and anomie appreciably diminished. Durkheim, taking a Functionalist's point of view, observed that Anti-Semitism proved to re-establish social order within France "by designating the Jew as adversary, it restored social solidarity, uniting society around hatred of the Jew” (Birnbaum 1995: Ch. 6: p. 20). Once again, what is seen and described as dysfunctional is in another sense a functional response to a dysfunction.
3. Durkheim maintained that France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 was extremely debilitating for the French peoples' international and accordingly self-esteem. This gave rise to a perceived need to avenge this defeat and a concomitant rise in militarism in France. The military was glorified and soon had a significant voice in state policy. Durkheim viewed this as one of many "disturbances of a collective order", and how these may lead to societal anomie, and to a "social malaise", which in this instance was personified by Anti-Semitic behavior and attitudes. Anomie, according to Durkheim, set in.
4. Once again, Durkheim's explanation for Anti-Semitism has a building-block quality to it and therefore increases its credibility. Please take a moment and think about his observations in today's world; his advocacy for certain ideals; and how these ideals correlate with a functional state of social solidarity in an organic and well-developed division of labor. (The key is the division of labor.) However, I must add a variable to this explanation. Durkheim posited that non-economic phenomena (i.e. a significant "catastrophe" having expansive, social impact with a resultant collective response) could create conditions for Anti-Semitism and other distorted responses without a rational foundation. Given our global society, the stability created by a well-developed division of labor and its correlative social structure, may not be reasonably attained. However, let's take a look some of his salient thoughts.

He advocated for: (a) equal justice for all; (b) equal opportunity for all; and (c) the growth and development of the individual as an ideal in the context of work and the social order, including fair treatment within law, more especially restitutive law in a predominantly organic environment. If these ideals are adhered to, a viable division of labor and social connectivity are realized within which all persons are actively involved; social solidarity is intact; and social ills, including anomie, are non-existent.

5. Are present-day disenfranchised and/or minority groups in some societies potentially in the same predicament? When anomie arises in a society, is it possible that such groups become scapegoats? Is a "deficient" division of labor without Durkheim's ideals the cause of the social ill?

6. The more equal opportunity for individualized growth within a society, based upon the potential one should experience within work (i.e. within a storng, extensive, and vibrant division of labor), the greater the social solidarity within an organically-oriented society.

7. Has the U.S. suffered a degree of anomie at certain points in time and responded as the French did in the 1890s into the 20th century? Does its social and political fabric remain, to some degree, in this mode? Do other countries suffer for the same reason? Does the dominant culture within the U.S., in times of extreme crisis, point to groups of individuals as the cause of the problem (e.g. Muslims after 9/11/2001 or immigrants from Ireland {19th Century} or Mexico {late 20th and present-day}). Did the country's citizenry "rally around the flag" against an "evilized" group in each case? If so, was the scapegoating only a sign or indicator of a greater social ill? Would Durkheim, if these are a reasonable examples, maintain that there is an inadequacy inherent to the U.S. division of labor? Is there equality? Is the ideal of individualism with equal rights and privileges borne out in practice? Are some left out of the economic and social systems? Is the widening gap between the poor and the rich a sufficient social ill to correlate with another variables to explain irrational behavior and attitudes? Are we involved in class warfare? Are these questions that should focus on the U.S. division of labor, or should we consider the rest of the world, given our reliance upon the rest of the world and its governments for survival? If so, what changes can or should be made?

Got to go. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Durkheim - Organic Solidarity and Contractual Solidarity

Durkheim has written and I am intrigued by the following: "We must indeed not forget that if life is more regulated it is also generally more abundant." Regulated by the number of restitutive laws, or the complexity of these laws, in response to greater social complexities? If I consider what I have experienced in the past 40 years, then I must answer yes to both.

Consider the following: The Iowa Administrative Code Index alone is at present 638 pages; the Code and Index are updated bi-weekly on its website; there is a permanent Administrative Rules Review Committee in the Iowa State legislature; the LSA (Legislative Services Agency) analyzes the fiscal impact of all administrative rules with a potential impact of $100,000 or more; there are uniform rules on agency procedure; and statutes focused on State Sovereignty and Management, Elections and Official Duties, Public Services and Regulation, Public Health, Agriculture, Human Services, Education and Cultural Affairs, Transportation, Local Government, Financial Resources, Natural Resources, Business Entities, Commerce, Property, Judicial Branch and Judicial Proceedings, Criminal Law and Procedures, Mortality Tables, Historical Chronological Outline of Codes and Session Laws, Iowa-Missouri Boundary Compromise, Iowa-Nebraska Boundary Compromise, and Admission of Iowa into the Union statutes providing guidance within the Iowa Administrative Rules section; and another approximately 100 sections governing activities ranging from the Beef Industry to banking, to interior design, to utilities, to real estate, to professional licensing, and many more in the Iowa Administrative Code.

But how does this complexity and great delineation of obligations, and therefore social interaction and relationships, beget greater "life abundance"? Did I just answer my own question, or not? As restitutive law increases, producing more regulation, does it inherently govern as well as increase the number of interactions and relationships, the complexity of these interactions and relationships, and therefore, the types of interactions and relationships, going far beyond the exchange of goods and services? Durkheim suggests that the proliferation of restitutive law in fact "defines and regulates" the "special relationship" between the "different social functions". It appears that Durkheim's theory may have credibility. As persons become more individualized by division of labor, their reliance upon one another increases, reliance has now has evolved to an issue of survival, whether we speak of health care, transportation, child care, shelter (e.g. if a furnace is not maintained by a specialist, death could result), and beyond. These specializations are governed by innumerable restitutive laws. A social network beyond the vocational connectivity between people results, as we now become more involved with one another in a variety of additional roles. How many of us, have been asked to be a part of a Board of Directors, a committee, a fraternal organization, a team, a club, a partnership, or simply invited to an event, etc. as a result of our vocational specialization? All of us have been and will continue to be a part of one another's reality due to the division of labor, the specialization, and the organic solidarity.

Nevertheless, we must also examine the quantitative status of repressive law vis-a-vis restitutive law to come to an accurate conclusion regarding which type may predominantly define and categorize our individual and social reality and type of social solidarity (i.e. of course, mechanical or organic) in our society. I also theorize that each individual is effected differently by her/his environment, and the dominant type of social solidarity may have less or greater impact on each person by virtue of a variety of individualized circumstances. These circumstances include the type of job s/he holds. Yes, the dominant restitutive law environment will impact each person differently, and in broad strokes, may impact those in lesser skilled jobs differently. Of course, these jobs require less specialization. So, logically the impact of an organic environment may have less impact on these persons. This circumstance, along with other variables, may in fact create a greater amount of mechanical solidarity among individuals in this circumstance, with the critical aspect of the collective consciousness coming to the forefront. Accordingly, other variables, all associated with the foundational division of labor, may correlate with a greater collective consciousness and greater mechanical solidarity. Perhaps an alignment of a few or several variables is necessary for the triumph of mechanical over organic in a predominantly organic society. In economically deprived areas, some with a strong allegiance to tradition and organized religion, along with the prerequisite simple division of labor, one might find a mechanical orientation. Of course, the key is, the division of labor. This may not surprise anyone. A simple division of labor circumstance (perhaps isolated in time and location) can be associated with unskilled or under skilled positions, perhaps sporadic employment or unemployment, and low wages. Physical isolation may or may not be a part of the equation, caused by quite a few variables, but reinforced by transportation challenges and diminished access to services and opportunity for change and information. Does this lead to greater isolation, even from those in similar circumstances? In some cases, yes. In others, no. It will depend upon the geographic proximity of "fellow-sufferers". If close by, the social isolation can be diminished within the "fellow-sufferers" domain, but remains vis-a-vis dissimilar groups of persons. This reinforces mechanical solidarity in an organic solidarity environment. If there is commonality in suffering; close geographic proximity; and a slow-changing environment; there is possibly a greater adherence to tradition and a potentially greater reliance upon a greater power that ordains and controls persons' destiny (the locus of control is not within the individual for outside forces have dictated the condition for long periods of time, even generations). Some persons and families may relate to the environment as "caught or stuck" between both worlds, the mechanical and organic, even though there is a dominant type of solidarity that is still creating individuality (organic) and social circles (both types) for all. This "caught or stuck" status is exemplified by a distinct array of coping mechanisms displaying both mechanical and organic solidarity traits that may not be found in the same proportion in other persons. It has been advanced that the importance of relying on others to survive in an organic environment is a critical coping mechanism for all, as a result of the development of the division of labor, specialization, and their by-product, individuality. In contrast, the same holds true in a mechanical solidarity environment, but for different reasons. I advance the thought that in some sectors of a predominantly organic solidarity environment, we will find a greater proportion of mechanical solidarity traits, behaviors, and attitudes. These attitudes and behaviors will be produced in response to a different set of environmental factors that include less reliance on restitutive law given a dearth of complexity in the environment these sectors come into contact. Restitutive law does have some influence in these sectors, but there is simply less of a need for it. These mechanically-based attitudes and behaviors will be reasonable and functional in application, are related to survival (not hyperbole), stem from a localized division of labor factor, are produced independent of the societally-dominant organic forces that may actually be detrimental to these persons if the organic orientation is practiced and accepted; are generational; and are differentially open to change or alteration as practical. With respect to consciousness, for this segment of the population, the ratio of individual consicousness to group or collective consciousness is different that the rest of the population. There is more collective consciousness out of perceived and actual necessity, despite the rest of the population "dancing to the beat of a different drum"; that beat being organic solidarity derived.
Taking a break.

Monday, February 23, 2009


How is Restitutive Law the external evidence of organic solidarity?As I review this blog entry, submitted and retracted last week, I find the task of answering this question quite daunting. How could this be? Simply because one needs to analyze Durkheim’s entire book The Division of Labor in Society, reading it not just once (my reality), and then attempt to capture what took him approximately 350 pages to elucidate in a cogent manner within a respectable amount of time. I foolishly read for two days, felt confident, and wrote a reasonable explanation. Or so I thought. However, as I continued to read others’ interpretations, I felt more than a bit uneasy. So, I began reading what was once read and added a few more readings. So, with this in mind, I shall commence writing.

Within organic solidarity, Durkheim believed that the individual becomes...well, more individual, while more connected to others via specialization in accordance with a greater division of labor. Durkheim explained that he must have an objective measure for us to understand and measure social solidarity accurately. He relied upon types of law for this explanation, dividing law into two arenas: repressive and restitutive. Another author mentioned in his writings that Durkheim used this measuring tool since it would be difficult to measure social solidarity internally (i.e. on an individual and psychological basis). If I remember correctly, Durkheim stated this in a different manner, and also contended that social solidarity held psychological and social dimensions. Of course, Durkheim is right. If social solidarity is not felt in the individual’s mind, then how can it be constructed and maintained across a particular society?

Before I go any further, I have to separate restitutive and repressive law along one dimension or I’ll lose the thought. Durkheim stipulates that repressive law has a specific behavior correlated with a specific punishment, whereas restitutive law may have a specific behavior or condition between two entities (i.e. it may not be an individual against the State as found within the guidance provided in repressive or criminal law) without a specific punishment. When I use the term “specific” I mean the behavior and the punishment are in written form and each “crime” is defined precisely in a code promulgated and disseminated appropriately to the population just as each corresponding punishment is also defined precisely in same code. If constructed accurately in accordance with intent (e.g. legislative), judicial decisions will reflect without deviation the punishment called for each crime. It is of course true that some laws are written with some discretionary judicial latitude allowed, however, even these available options have boundaries for the judicial branch decision. Restitutive law is not concerned with punishment, rather with reinstating the status quo or placing the pieces back the way they were, so to speak; restoring the greater, social equilibrium. Yes, private parties are involved, but the intent and practice goes far beyond the individuals involved. Second, it has an administrative nature to it, and has greater discretionary power attributed to the administrator. It is interesting that the State of Iowa has constructed a position within state government, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), that serves as a representative of both repressive and restitutive law, depending upon function. I served as an Administrative Law Judge in a prison for several years, and my decisional options may have been varied and expansive, but these were almost all repressive in that punishment was the result. (Naturally, punishment is not the only aspect to repressive law. However, it is noteworthy that some of the other aspects of repressive law seem to fit quite nicely {perhaps an odd term to use, yet quite appropriate in one sense}, such as the nature of the division of labor in a prison setting.) Of course, the punishments were not for revenge, but to alter behavior and provide for a safe environment for others. This is not to say that either goal was achieved or not achieved in each instance. However, I bring this up to point out that the use of the term Administrative in this case in a misnomer. I shall mention that it appears that most ALJs in the State of Iowa are involved in restitutive law, attempting to re-establish the status quo for the common good as well as to address the needs of those immediately involved.

The discretionary aspect is perceived as necessary given the individuality inherent to each circumstance or “case” in a restitutive environment. Of course, repressive law proceedings will involve complexities and individuality, but the fact that there is a sentencing phase bears out a distinctive quality from restitutive law. The administrative decision, which includes remedies instead of punishments, requires that all options and remedies be “on the table” and open as potential sources for redress. In this instance, the “judge” is not statutorily limited as one can be in repressive or criminal law in the meting out of punishment.

In addition, Durkheim distinguishes these laws by maintaining that repressive laws are proscriptive, stating behavior that is contrary to the common good and its correlative punishment; whereas restitutive laws stipulate “obligations”, setting out behavior that is engaged in between people and their social and business constructs and contracts. For instance, a marriage is set in motion by a legal contract (obviously not common law marriage, allowable in approximately 10 states in the U.S.), stipulating legal, contractual obligations, not what is contrary to the agreement with associated punishments for transgressions. I presume, if Durkheim is correct in today’s world, the same holds true for any contractual agreement. In working with a variety of agencies, public and private, over the years, and coming into contractual agreements, it appears that Durkheim’s assessment remains accurate. I have worked for many years under contract with many governmental agencies, and these contracts spoke to activities each agency agreed to engage in with stated objectives, outputs, and most importantly, outcomes for the community. Proscriptions for behavior that raised the ire of the “collective consciousness”, as Durkheim stipulated as perhaps one of two key components of repressive law (punishment as the other) did not exist within these contracts. No “deviant” (this term is not used to explain “criminal” acts since the term within this usage needs to explain all activity that simply deviates from the contract) behavior was mentioned as part of the contract, nor punishment.

Studying law within a society is measurable since it is codified. It is “visible” (Durkheim). Codification implies written form. Codification implies a social process has been undertaken by a society, imperfect as it may be. Codification implies an evolutionary process. Evolution implies a social consciousness that allows for “movement” in how a social attitude is personified; from the unwritten but pervasive, such as a custom, to the written and still pervasive, now a law. Can researchers study types of law in certain societies and extrapolate types of social solidarity? Durkheim states that to be certain of establishing the accuracy of social solidarity, the sanction associated with the law, whether restitutive or repressive, must be studied. The former is represented by a restorative justice model, returning social order to disorder. The later is punitive and represented by the infliction of injury to the perpetrator. Durkheim also points out the degree of emotion related to each type of law. Repressive law exudes emotion; a product of many societal attributes. Restitutive law begetting a more diffuse and obscure response.

Durkheim postulated that the more mechanical (i.e. simple) society will display: (1) a simple and less expansive division of labor; (2) greater similarity between people, their “worldview”, work-place skill levels, language, and social relationships; (3) greater “collective or common consciousness” development, usage, and punitive control; (4) a greater reliance upon tradition and religion to explain its origin and present-day viability; (5) a personality type that is “dependent on the collective” and weaker than the group personality type since group consciousness is necessary to control and guide individual behavior and the greater and stronger the uniqueness of character, the greater the differences between group members, and the weaker the strength of the “collective consciousness” to provide social solidarity within the society (i.e. the greater the collective consciousness the greater the mechanical solidarity); and (6) the use of punishment and fear (i.e. includes the importance of vengeance and the need to “circle the wagons” when an act threatens the common good), via repressive law.

Durkheim concludes mechanical solidarity ( and for that matter, organic solidarity) is a label or construct describing a type of social consciousness (including how relationships and order are achieved) explained via type of division of labor and determined by an examination of the dominant type of law in a society. Durkheim maintains mechanical solidarity societies are a result of a limited division of labor and a common consciousness and the use of repressive law as an instrument to maintain the solidarity. The limited division of labor inherently creates similarities and closeness. This, along with aforementioned factors translates into the cohesive social environment. In contrast, in an organic environment, the distinctions between persons lead to solidarity, but not through the same avenue; the “feelings” (e.g. in an absolute sense there is a feeling of “collective consciousness”, a societal mind-set in the mechanical, and a feeling for independence through the establishment/maintenance of boundaries through contractual agreements within the organic) created are different, and the mode of solidarity creation and maintenance is distinct as seen in the type of law relied upon. The distinctive feelings are a product of dependence (mechanical) and independence (organic) solidarity factors. Durkheim noted that Comte saw that the characteristics of the division of labor did not just generate a distinct form of economic mode of operation, instead, it generates “the most essential condition of social life”. Therefore, the division of labor dictates how we respond socially (i.e. “social order, harmony, and solidarity), both formally (e.g. restitutive versus repressive law) and informally (e.g. customs or “collective consciousness) (Durkheim). Law exemplifies this organization and accomplishes this with acuity and permanence.

In greater detail we find that Durkheim believed that penal law emanated from our Judeo-Christian religion foundation. All penal laws emanate from religion and God. Guidance from the Bible includes proscribed actions and punishments. God holds the highest authority “status” for the “collective consciousness” of the mechanical solidarity society. God is superior to all. To break a penal law is to violate the highest of all authority. The “collective consciousness”, found in a mechanical society, holds true to repressive laws with punishments and must protect its unity for social solidarity to survive. A transgression begetting “collective consciousness” ire (i.e. includes emotion) is a transgression against the highest authority.

Perhaps a good starting point to explain organic solidarity is with individuality. And, I can’t miss this Durkheimian point as he begins to explain how organic solidarity arises: “That individuality cannot arise until the community fills us less completely” (The Division of Labor in Society). Durkheim, logically follows with (paraphrasing): “If we have a strong inclination to think and act as ourselves, then we will obviously not think and act in a “group-like” manner”. He, I believe, then alludes to our individual psycho-social makeup, when he mentions that our “image”, and I am going to integrate self-esteem and social-social esteem, becomes a key point of development in an organic solidarity environment. When this occurs, and obviously Durkheim relates this morphological process to an increased division of labor within an organic solidarity environment, we, as individuals, move from a “collective being” to more of an individualized being. Next, solidarity ensues differently as the division of labor changes and individuals assume distant roles and duties in the workplace. As the individual assumes a workplace identity with distinct duties, individuality increases...a “personality” is formed. The greater the division (and specialization), the greater the reliance upon the greater social environment or society, as others specifically and others in general are needed to fill the gaps created by distinctions in work and outside of work. So, the personality grows as the work is divided, and as the personality grows through specialization in the workplace, interdependence increases along all other social dimensions, creating a distinct social solidarity that carries with it different needs, including a different type of cementing structure, to wit: restitutive law, with greater reliance upon cooperation and not conflict and separation found in punishment (e.g. prison, transportation, social degradation, death, and/or additional incarceration in secure settings after prison sentence culmination). (The idea of/with punishment is partially if not predominantly to find separation, fault, differences, illness or sickness (i.e. medical model), or moral deficiencies of the deepest nature between people in the absence of logic found in economic, political, sociological, and legal explanations.)

Durkheim notes that with individual development, we remain connected with one another through professional or vocational guidelines and standards. Therefore, the greater community remains a part of our individual conscious. It is not lost. It grows as each grows as the division of labor grows. This is the growth of organic solidarity as it replaces mechanical solidarity in that specific society. Durkheim equates this social development to the biological development of a species. As the species evolves, it requires greater division of function by body part (i.e. whether organ, limb, or sensate focus apparatus) to exist; from this analogy, Durkheim labels the social solidarity “organic”.

The use of a combination of these two types of law is commonplace across the globe. Within a mechanical solidarity environment individualism is impractical for the development of social solidarity. A collective consciousness dominates and controls. Within organic solidarity, the individual rises to the surface, and persons' activities and thoughts become complementary. When greater division of labor occurs, there is a corresponding change, and each type of law may be represented to a certain degree within a society. Time is a relevant variable in this change as well. Repressive law dominance is found in “lower” and slower developing societies, according to Durkheim. He maintains that unless a mechanical society is forced into change through the greater division of labor, all things move more slowly, tradition is dominant, the “common consciousness” remains strong and slow to change, repressive or criminal law does not change appreciably (few laws are added over time), and repressive law is so well engrained in the public psyche it is independent of the individual citizen’s life-circumstances…it is a part of the culture, a collective, intergenerational, psychological and social mind-set.

It is noteworthy that Dirkheim points out that authority, such as the State, may perceive crimes against it as more serious than the collective consciousness, and will take action as it sees fit. The authority receives power from the collective consciousness, yet takes on a separate role with “autonomy and spontaneity” (Durkheim).

Of course, Durkheim writes of a distinction between the two types of law. Repressive law is well ingrained in a specific society's social conscious; all know of the crime and the punishment; and there is a deep, emotional aversion to the behavior/crime leading to a punishment.Durkheim points out that "crimes" within a society as well as between distinct societies have an "essential resemblance". This common trait, as he describes it, is that each "strike(s) a moral consciousness of all nations". He recognizes that different behaviors represent different responses in different societies. This leads to variations in repressive law in regards to the defining of behavior as a crime or not a crime between societies and nation states. Once again, this time in his words, the "unchanging character" is not the "intrinsic properties" of the acts themselves or the corresponding punishments found in the penal codes, but in "some condition outside" the act, to wit, a "kind of antagonism" between the act and the "larger interests of society".

More later...