Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-17, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 2 January, 2017 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2017.


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Organic solidarity

core definition

Organic solidarity refers to a social system based on a form ofthe division of labour in which people depend on each other.

explanatory context

Organic solidarity is a term used in Durkheimian analysis in relation to the division of labour evident in the 'complex' societies of Western Europe, where the division of labour is well differentiated. The individual possesses a large measure of autonomy and self determination and social relationships, because of their complexity, tend to be determined by contract. This is the principle of organic solidarity.

analytical review

Anonymous (undated) wrote on the Boundless:Sociology site (which draws on other internet sources including Wiki's):

Organic solidarity is social cohesion based upon the dependence individuals have on each other in more advanced societies. It comes from the interdependence that arises from specialization of work and the complementarities between people—a development that occurs in "modern" and "industrial" societies. Although individuals perform different tasks and often have different values and interest, the order and very solidarity of society depends on their reliance on each other to perform their specified tasks. "Organic" refers to the interdependence of the component parts. Thus, social solidarity is maintained in more complex societies through the interdependence of its component parts (e.g., farmers produce the food to feed the factory workers who produce the tractors that allow the farmer to produce the food). As a simple example, farmers produce food to feed factory workers who produce tractors that, in the end, allow the farmer to produce more food.

The McGraw-Hill (2004) Sociological Theory site Glossary defines 'organic solidarity' as:

The type of social order that is encountered in a modern society. Durkheim believed that such societies are held together by the substantial division of labor in modern society, because people need the contributions of an increasing number of people in order to function and even to survive.

associated issues


related areas

See also

division of labour

mechanical solidarity



Anonymous, undated, 'Durkheim's Mechanical and Organic Solidarity' , available at, accessed 8 February 2013, page not available without sign up 24 December 2016.

McGraw-Hill, 2004, Sociological Theory: Glossary , available at, accessed 14 May 2013, page not available 24 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2017

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