Social Facts Exist Because Of Human Agreement

One of the best known of Durkheim`s work was his discovery of the “social fact” of suicide rates. By carefully examining police statistics on suicide in different districts, Durkheim showed that the suicide rate of Catholic communities is lower than that of Protestant communities. He attributed this to a social thing (as opposed to the individual). [4] This has been seen as a path forward and remains influential. Examples of Durkheim`s social facts include social institutions such as kinship and marriage, currency, language, religion, political organization and all social institutions that we must take into account in daily interactions with other members of our societies. By dering the standards of these institutions, the individual is unacceptable or has no place in the group. In sociology, social facts are values, cultural norms and social structures that can go beyond the individual and exercise social control. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim defined the term and argued that the discipline of sociology must be understood as an empirical prose study of social facts. For Durkheim, social facts are “ways of acting, thinking and feeling outside the individual, which are invested with a coercive power that allows them to exercise control of him.” [1] In The Rules of Sociological Method, Durkheim presented a theory of sociology such as “the science of social facts.” He considered that the facts of society were “made up of representations and actions”, which meant that they could not be confused with organic or physical phenomena that have no separate existence in and by individual consciousness.

[1] Durkheim says that a social fact is something that makes many people very similar, because the socialized community to which they belong has influenced them to do these things. [2] The discovery of Durkheim`s social facts was important because it promised to study the behaviour of entire societies, not just certain individuals. Durkheim refers to individual actions as instances or representations of different types of shares in society. [5] However, some contemporaries, interpreters, sociologists such as Max Atkinson and Jack Douglas refer to Durkheim`s studies for two very different purposes: for Marcel Mauss (Durkheim`s nephew and temporary collaborator), a total social fact (total French social fact) is “an activity that has repercussions on society as a whole, in the economic, legal, political and religious fields.” [8] Various strands of social and psychological life are linked by what he described as total social facts.

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