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Emile Durkheim - The Rules Of Sociological Method and Suicide - Essay Example

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In order to understand the statement of Durkheim that we have to ‘treat social facts as things’ (Durkheim, 1895) we should primarily refer to the main characteristics of social facts as presented by Durkheim; in other words we should refer to the definition of social facts…
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Emile Durkheim - The Rules Of Sociological Method and Suicide
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Emile Durkheim - The Rules Of Sociological Method and Suicide

Download file to see previous pages... In accordance with the specific definition ‘a social fact is anyway of acting, whether fixed or not, capable of exerting over the individual an external constraint; or which is general over the whole of a given society, whilst having an existence of its own independent of its individual manifestations’ (Durkheim, 1895, p.59 in Gilbert, 1989, p.244-245). Through an additional explanation of social facts – including in the above work of Durkheim – it is made clear that ‘here, then, is a category of facts which present very special characteristics: they consist of manners of acting, thinking and feeling external to the individual, which are invested with a coercive power by virtue of which they exercise control over him’ (Durkheim, 1895, Ch. 1 in Lukes, 1982, p. 51). In accordance with the above, social facts can influence all aspects of the behaviour of individuals as parts of the society; for this reason, social facts are closely related with the social ethics held within a specific region at a particular period of time. Because of the above issues, theorists that are asked to interpret the behaviour of individuals towards specific social or political events should start by identifying the social ethics of the society involved; at a next level, any reflection of the individuals to their social and political environment could be considered as a justifiable initiative. In accordance with Morrison (1990) ‘Durkheim, working from a Comtean tradition, essentially sought to bring sociological subject matter within the confines of a positivist methodology; accordingly, most of the programmatic statements Durkheim made about sociological subject matter tended to equate sociological events with external regularity and this may explain Durkheims use of the claim "consider social facts as things"’ (Morrison, 1990, 93). In other words, the use of term ‘things’ by Durkheim when having to ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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