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To what extent are the lives of individuals shaped by external constraints - Essay Example

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In the study of society, Durkheim explored the answer how society was held together. He attributed a category to the society and named it as a “thing” that existed on its own, apart from individuals. Individuals living in the society perform acts, which are individual acts as well as social acts. …
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To what extent are the lives of individuals shaped by external constraints
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Download file to see previous pages Durkheim clarifies that social facts are features of a group and cannot be analyzed from the study of individuals (University of Regina 2013) of the group. Some examples may be legal system, religion, moral values; they are social facts of a group. Beliefs, practices, and consciousness are also social facts, and also belong to a group, which become coercive on individuals who live in that group. As a result, an individual is strongly influenced by the social facts of the group, and performs social duties and obligations. According to Durkheim, sociology studies the society as sui generis, individuals in their social relationship with other individuals, and their connections of social relationships to the society. Social facts In the study of society, Durkheim explored the answer how society was held together. He attributed a category to the society and named it as a “thing” that existed on its own, apart from individuals. Individuals living in the society perform acts, which are individual acts as well as social acts. He prioritizes social acts over individual acts and declares that sociology needs to study the social acts to understand how society is held together. He claimed social acts depend on social facts. What are the social facts? He recommends considering social facts as “things”, which is acting in every way and exerting an external constraint upon the individual behavior (Fairfield University n.d). From physics, if something exerts constraints on another thing, it is considered as a force. Can we then consider these “ things” as forces? If so, a force can always be defined. According to Durkheim, these forces, which he...
Emile Durkheim intended to model sociology as a natural science to study how a society was held together. He postulated that society was not a collection of individuals; it exists apart from individuals. A good analogy of this postulate could be that planet earth, which exists not because there are living beings; it exists apart from living beings. He wanted to study society as a matter apart from individuals. The approach is same as one would like to study earth apart from its living beings. However, earth as a matter needs to be studied through specific parameters quantified with values. Durkheim did the same thing. His parameters were social facts. The study of the planet remains incomplete if one does not consider the planet’s laws that shape the lives of living beings. Analogically, the study of society remains incomplete if one does not derive the laws that shape the lives of individual in the society. Durkheim explained the above phenomenon through the social facts and their interaction with individuals. He established that individual lives encountered external constrains from social facts, and these external constraints shaped individuals’ lives. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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