Updated September 10, 2022

W.E.B. Du Bois and Emile Durkheim

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W.E.B. Du Bois and Emile Durkheim essay
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W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963) and Emile Durkheim (1857-1917) were well known Sociologists who both use the term “consciousness” when studying individuals and society. Durkheim, through his term organic solidarity, explains that for a modern society to succeed their must be a division of labor with a specialized workforce. Durkheim’s term, individual consciousness, refers to the awareness that individuals have towards one another with each contributing to the success of the other.

Consequently, this organic solidarity, increases productivity significantly making it possible to meet the needs of a growing modern society. Collective Consciousness, according to Durkheim, is the individual awareness of shared beliefs, goals, and that we are all part of the same societal family. We are Americans, we share the same holidays, American customs, obey the same laws, belong to churches, etc.: We are members of larger groups like farmers, teachers, commercial fisherman, lawyers, and of course Aggies, Dawgs, Cougars, Ducks and all social matters where we have a commonality.

Du Bois describes a double consciousness that individual African Americans have dealt with since the Civil War. The culture in America is mostly white. It’s easy to be white living in a white culture. When your black you feel like your conscious identity is double. Du Bois says,(“There is a feeling of looking at yourself through the eyes of a white society.”) Du Bois 1903:131 It is an oppressive feeling. According to Du Bois, (“White society sees you as a black man, subordinate to white.”) Du Bois 1903:131 As a black person, your trying to be part of a white society and at the same time stay true to your black culture.

This causes a double consciousness. Du Bois uses the term “veil” as the darker color of African American’s skin. This has proven to be a barrier demarcation for African Americans. The veil is white people’s inability to see blacks as true Americans. Du Bois says, (“Since the whites own the mainstream culture in America, the black person is always in the passive position. This is one of the main reasons that cause the black people’s double consciousness. African Americans are exploited economically and oppressed politically by white American.”) Du Bois 1903:131

Du Bois’ analysis is a contrast to Durkheim’s analysis. Du Bois analysis’ studies individual interaction instead of group interaction. As a sociologist and black activist, Du Bois explains the struggle of individual identity as an African American in a white society. Durkheim’s analysis studies the needs of a modern society being met through organic solidarity where there is a group awareness that promotes production in a society with a large population. Both Du Bois and Durkheim were significant contributors to Sociology.

W.E.B. Du Bois and Emile Durkheim essay

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W.E.B. Du Bois and Emile Durkheim. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/w-e-b-du-bois-and-emile-durkheim/


What contribution did WEB Du Bois make to sociology?
“Du Bois was the first sociologist to articulate the agency of the oppressed ,” said Morris. He said Du Bois established truth as a standard, elevating sociology to an “emancipatory social science” and by his example encouraged a more open and inclusive academia, for the good of all.
What is the difference between Karl Marx and Emile Durkheim?
Emile Durkheim is known as a functionalist states that everything serves a function in society and his main concern to discover what that function was. On the other hand Karl Marx, a conflict theorist, stresses that society is a complex system characterized by inequality and conflict that generate social change.
What is the difference between Max Weber and Emile Durkheim?
Weber, inspired by the German intellectual position, emphasized meaning and the interpretation of individual action in his studies. Durkheim, on the other hand, represented the French intellectual orientation in sociological theory and proposed ideas like collective consciousness and social collectivity.
What was the main ideas of Emile Durkheim?
Durkheim believed that society exerted a powerful force on individuals . According to Durkheim, people's norms, beliefs, and values make up a collective consciousness, or a shared way of understanding and behaving in the world. The collective consciousness binds individuals together and creates social integration.
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