A formal restatement of Durkheim's "division of labor" theory

Sociological Theory 21 (2):103-127 (2003)
Abstract
Despite frequent references in the sociological literature to Durkheim's theory about the division of labor, sociologists have made few attempts to test it. The paucity of attempts and the very debatable outcomes thereof are due largely to Durkheim's use of the traditional discursive mode of theory construction. A discursively stated theory's logical structure is likely to be obscure, and for that reason alone tests of it are difficult and controversial. Rather than perpetuate the exegetical tradition in sociological treatments of the subject, this paper restates Durkheim's theory in accordance with a particular formal mode. That restatement identifies the theory's shortcomings and problems. But the eight premises imply only one testable theorem, and the theorem's predictive accuracy appears minimal unless "population concentration" is substituted for "density" in the first axiom. Nonetheless, the restatement clearly shows how extension of the theory (additional postulates) could further its testability
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