Social solidarity is an indispensable part of a well-functioning society which entails the unity among different having a similar spirit. Interdependence is the measure for the active involvement of individuals in society and transcends the sense of co-existence.
Duguit’s theory of social solidarity was based on the fact that the interdependence of man is the essence of society. Every individual has his existence owing to his membership in the society. Each individual cannot procure the necessities of life himself. Therefore, each in his turn has to depend on others for his needs. The ultimate end of all human activities is to ensure the interdependence of men. Duguit further stated that law also serves the same end. His entire thrust was on mutual co-operation and mutual interdependence between individuals, groups and societies according to the principle of division of labour for the purpose of social cohesion.
Social solidarity and state: As all human activity & organisations are to be judged from the manner in which they contribute to social solidarity, the state can claim no special position or privileges. It is only one of the various human organisations which are necessary to protect the principle of social solidarity. It can be justified in so far as it defends and furthers the principle of social solidarity. It is nothing more than an organisation of men who issue command backed by force. If the state acts in a way which promotes social solidarity, it is entitled to be upheld and encouraged. If it doesn’t perform that function, the people have the right to revolt against the state and suppress the state itself. The whole idea of sovereignty is meaningless. All power is limited by the test of social solidarity. Every man and every grouping of men is under a duty arising out of the facts of social existence. That duty is to further social solidarity.
Social solidarity by Emile Durkheim: According to him law is the measuring rod of the society. There are two basic types of solidarity.
Mechanical solidarity (sanctions are preferred than societal reaction)
Social solidarity (societal reaction is sufficient)
Human existence and social solidarity: Human being is a social animal and interdependently is the reason behind its growth. The concept of social solidarity paves the path for comprehensiveness and collective Ideas of the individuals. It seeks the opinion of all on any question of law affecting their rights. Thus the concept works as a means to secure mutual consciousness.
Basic tenets of social solidarity:
Social solidarity is the touchstone of judging the activities of individuals and all organisations. Following are the basic tenets of social solidarity.
(1) All institutions are to be judged according to how they contribute towards social solidarity. The state can therefore claim no special position or privilege. It is not some mystical entity, but an organization of men, which can only be justified so far as it furthers social solidarity.
(2) Duguit proceeded to assert that when the state ceased to promote social solidarity there is a duty to revolt against it.
(3) Interdependence of men is a fact, but ‘social solidarity’ is ideal: For, in the first place, in practice, it becomes a matter of personal evaluation when the question to be decided is whether a given course of conduct is conducive to social solidarity or not. It would appear that Duguit has unfortunately fallen into the error of enlarging a limited truth into an absolute.
(4) Law to secure and serve social solidarity. According to Duguit, the essence of law is to serve and secure social solidarity which is duty oriented as it expects individual to perform their obligations as a member of the community. There is, therefore, no scope for natural or private rights. Thus Duguit stated that law consists of duty which is the basis of co-operation and rejects the abstract concept of right which is the source of conflict. In other words, Duguit exhorts everyone to perform his duties to the society which would help the development of co-operation and social solidarity.
(5) For Duguit, the law is not a body of rights. The only real right of man in society is to do his duty. Law is essentially an objective social fact concerned with the relation between man and man on one hand, and man and state on the other.
Criticism: The critics of Duguit suggest that his theory of Social Solidarity suffers from many weaknesses
(1) It excludes all metaphysical considerations of law and it is itself based on the idea of natural law.
(2) Duguit’s definition of law is also confusing as in laying down the fundamentals to which the law must conform; he confuses to distinguish between what the law is and what it ought to be. For him, anything which does not encourage social solidarity is no law at all.
(3) Who is to decide whether a particular act or rule is in furtherance of social solidarity or not? It is to be decided by the court, then the social solidarity would become a question of personal evaluation of the judge, which would not be the happy situation since Judges too have their own limitations and convictions.
(4) ‘Social solidarity’ may be differently interpreted by different persons to suit their own purposes.
Conclusion: The theory of Duguit is based on the interdependence of men in a society which is known as “Social solidarity”. To procure and to manufacture necessities of life men depend upon society. Functions to behave in society are also dependable upon each other. The end of the result of all human activities and organization is to ensure the interdependence of men which is social solidarity. The aim is to safeguard interdependence or to fulfil all necessities and till this end is not achieved the aim of the law is not fulfilled. Duguit was against State sovereignty. He thinks it is the will of the people who will govern them. So the state is also under a duty to ensure ‘social solidarity’.
Though Duguit emphasizes interdependence in society his theory does not perform well due to minimum interference of state because in modern times social problems of the modern community can be solved better by state activity.