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Comparing Social Solidarity Across Historical Societies

The purpose of this thesis is to develop the concept of social solidarity such that it can be compared across different societies. This is demonstrated by comparing social solidarity across four different historical societies. This thesis develops the concept of social solidarity through a critical dialogue with the work of Emile Durkheim. By applying contemporary sociological and psychological theory to the concept of social solidarity this thesis develops a conceptual framework of social solidarity such that differing levels and forms of social solidarity can be inferred across societies. In particular this is done by linking human material and psychological needs to social solidarity. This thesis argues that those social institutions which meet the needs of people also increase the level of social solidarity between those people. By examining social institutions and the degree to which they meet people's needs it is possible to infer the extent of social solidarity in that society. This thesis goes on to apply this procedure to four forms of society, feudal, early industrial, Fordist and neo-liberal societies. This thesis argues that the shift from feudal society to industrial capitalist society caused a significant decline in the level of social solidarity, although this social transformation was not without potential for generating a society with a much higher level of social solidarity. Fordist society is an example of one possible society which merges a high level of social solidarity with industrial capitalism. However the brief nature of Fordist society suggests that the underlying logic of capitalism may make such a society with high social solidarity unsustainable.
Type of thesis
Marryatt, N. (2014). Comparing Social Solidarity Across Historical Societies (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8992
University of Waikato
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