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Social disintegration

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Title: Social disintegration  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Community building, Decline, Votebank, Broken Britain, David Korten
Collection: Community, Social Psychology, Sociological Terminology, Sociology Index
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Social disintegration

Social disintegration is the tendency for society to decline or disintegrate over time, perhaps due to the lapse or breakdown of traditional social support systems. In this context, "society" refers to the social order which maintains a society, rather than the political order that defines its boundaries. Society in the sociological sense is not the same as a country.


  • Integration and disintegration 1
  • Debate 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Footnotes 5

Integration and disintegration

The theoretical origins of this idea lie with Émile Durkheim and Ferdinand Toennies. In the work of both these researchers one can see a division into two types of social integration corresponding to two historical phases:

  • First arrives a primitive integration, based on likeness and intimate interaction, which Durkheim called mechanical solidarity and Toennies labelled Gemeinschaft
  • Second arises a more complex and modern integration based on abstracted interdependence, known as Gesellschaft


Those who espouse social disintegration beliefs tend to doubt the integrative capacity of organic solidarity, claiming that if it is not based on primordial ties and relationships, it is fabricated. On the other hand, optimists might argue that new complex forms of integration can emerge, for example through new communal forms of identity formation or through economic interdependence. (But note the social disintegration attributable to economic integration.[1])

See also




  1. ^  
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