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According to Lukes (2006) the society is what can be used to best define human beings. Humans are products of their society. The issue of individualism and society maybe seen as being complex and twisted but the most obvious fact about these two aspects is that they are in many ways intertwined together.
Many sociologists as well as other scholars have come up with theories that try to explain the relationship that exists between individuals and the society in general. It has become a fascinating issue to many as society itself cannot even exist without individuals in it but at the same time, this same society shapes individuals. Two of the most profound sociologists, David Émile Durkheim and Georg Simmel came up with very unique and significant approaches to the above issues. The common factor in their work is the involvement of individuals in the society. Simmel (1950) sees the freedom of an individual as being primarily limited to the society they are in. Their success and even full realization of their power is so much attached to their society.
Durkheim specifically aimed to see how the society could stay entire and bound together, particularly in a period when sharing ethnicity or religion was no more seen as imperative. Durkheim (1952) aimed to examine how factors like the laws, education, religion and other related structures influenced the cooperation of society. Durkheim saw these structures as very instrumental in shaping the society as whole. An individual’s perspective and aspect towards these structures had so much to do with the way the society would turn out to be. According to Dingley (2015) Durkheim work helped in understanding the role of each individual in the society.
Durkheim broke down the society as a result of all the interactions of individuals. The society to him was more than just human interactions but instead a
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The approaches that are commonly used to explain human habits are the individualistic and the naturalistic theories (O’Donnell, 2000). The naturalistic notion implies that people’s behaviors are inherited while the individualistic notion suggests that humans are not the same.
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