Durkheim Social Facts Essays

This review is based on Readings in Social Theory, edited by James Faraganis, pp. 63-68, Chapter 2. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2000. ISBN 0-07-230060-4. Hardcopy.

  • "What Is A Social Fact?"
  • (Hardcopy:op. cit., p. 63 - 68)
    "What Is a Social Fact?Online.
    Online Source: Dead Sociologists Society.

    In Rules of Sociological MethodDurkheim has begun to define the field or discipline of sociology, by recognizing that there are specific approaches and understandings that belong to sociology or the study of social relationships, as different from biology and psychology, which also affect human growth and relationships.

    By a social fact, Durkheim is referring to facts, concepts, expectations that come not from individual responses and perferences, but that come from the social community which socializes each of its members. Although we might embrace the normative community behavior and share its values, we are constrained by its very existence. "When I fulfill my obligations as brother, husband, or citizen, when I execute my contracts, I perform duties which are defined externally to myself and my acts, in law and in custom." (At Farganis, p. 63, col.1.)

    Durkheim describes the constraint as "the public conscience exerciis{ing] a check on every act which offends it by means of the surveillance it exercises over the conduct of its citizens, and the appropriate penalties at its disposal." (At Farganis, p. 63, col. 2.)

    Notice how this language seems to fit with the descriptions we have discussed of dominant discourse. Durkheim brought consideraable understanding to the concept that our agency, in matters of social fact, is severely limited by the structural context in which we find ourselves. He recognized the cost of non-conformance, and the ability of the social group to enforce its normative expectations. There's a good summary of this: "Here, then, is a category of facts [social facts] with very distinctive characteristics: it consists of wqys of acting, thinking, and feeling, external to the individual, and endowed with a power of coerccion, by reason of which they control him." [At Farganis, p.64, col.1.]

    Social Facts Versus Social Action Essay

    710 Words3 Pages

    Sociology is the objective and systematic observation of human interaction. These interactions routinely take the form of ideas that are established by that society; these ideas disclose values held by that society and in turn explain how/why certain behaviors become customary. In a broader scope, sociologists also consider aspects of context such as race, economic class, gender, and age, because all of these things are responsible for shaping values, beliefs, and behavior. Social facts can be described as societal norms that indicate social patterns that exist despite beliefs of the individual experiencing them. Things such as customs and societal values exist outside individuals whereas cognitive activity is responsible for motivation…show more content…

    Sociology is the objective and systematic observation of human interaction. These interactions routinely take the form of ideas that are established by that society; these ideas disclose values held by that society and in turn explain how/why certain behaviors become customary. In a broader scope, sociologists also consider aspects of context such as race, economic class, gender, and age, because all of these things are responsible for shaping values, beliefs, and behavior. Social facts can be described as societal norms that indicate social patterns that exist despite beliefs of the individual experiencing them. Things such as customs and societal values exist outside individuals whereas cognitive activity is responsible for motivation within individuals. Identifying social facts as “things”, Durkheim was born in 1858 and was a French sociologist and early Methodist that was credited for proposing rules for studying social facts. Durkheim believed that sociology was to be studied as an actual science, arguing that aspects of the human social spectrum can be linked to scientific rational. This is a direct reflection of the environment he was raised in (Currie’s discovery of radiation). Much, if not all, accredited findings in any scientific field involve the discovery of a set of inarguable facts. Durkheim believed all social facts were relative to their immediate surroundings. This incorporates the idea that consideration should always be given to context. Durkheim

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