chapter  2
21 Pages

The virtues of travel and the virtuous traveller

One of the main conclusions of the previous chapter was that ethical values are key components of particular societies because they help structure the patterns of behaviour that (at least in part) constitute that society. Durkheim (1968) suggested that ethical values are vital precisely because they function to hold society together; that our respect for common (sacred) values is the bedrock on which a society is founded. He thought that this contribution of morality to ‘social solidarity’ would be most obvious if we examined simple forms of society with little or no social differentiation. Here the lack of any extensive ‘division of labour’ and the fact that each person is capable of fulfilling much the same tasks as any other means that everyone is likely to see and value the world in the same way. In short, the members of such a supposedly ‘primitive’ society stick together because their social roles and values are almost identical.1 For this reason, Durkheim thought that the ‘elementary’ religious/ethical aspects of a society took the form of what he termed a conscience collective. This term was meant to imply

both a collective consciousness in the sense of a shared understanding of the social world and a collective conscience in terms of shared moral values.