Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-20, 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 19 December, 2019 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2020.


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Mechanical solidarity

core definition

Mechanical solidarity is a term used in Durkheimian analysis to refer to the principle of the division of labour established in 'simple' societies.

explanatory context

In these societies the division of labour is relatively undeveloped, the individual lacks autonomy and self determination. Status is collective, responsibility is collective and a small part of social life is regulated by contract. The remainder is regulated by custom and habit, by a mechanical routine of social life.

analytical review

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

The type of social order that is encountered in a primitive society. Durkheim believed that such a society is held together by the fact that there is little division of labor and, as a result, virtually everyone does essentially the same things

associated issues


related areas

See also

division of labour



McGraw-Hill, 2004, Sociological Theory: Glossary , available at, accessed 15 May 2013, page not available 22 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2020


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