Thread: Sociology Notes
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Old Tuesday, March 17, 2015
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Default EMILE DURKHEIM Study of Social Facts

EMILE DURKHEIM Study of Social Facts

According to Durkheim, social facts (or social phenomena or forces) are the subject matter of sociology. Social facts are , and must be studied distinct from biological and psychological phenomenon. They can be defined as patterns of behavior that are capable of exercising some coercive power upon individuals. They are guides and controls of conduct that are external to the individual in the form of group norms, mores and folkways. Through socialization and education these rules become internalized in the consciousness of the individual. These social constraints and guides become moral obligations to obey social rules.

The central issue in Durkheim's work concerns the source of social order and disorder.

According to Durkheim, the desires and self-interests of human beings can only be held in check by forces that originate outside of the individual. "The more one has, the more one wants, since satisfactions received only stimulate instead of filling needs." Durkheim characterizes this external force as a collective conscience, a common social bond that is expressed by the ideas, values, norms, beliefs and ideologies of the culture, institutionalized in the social structure, and internalized by individual members of the culture. He elaborated the cause and effects of weakening group ties on the individual in his two works,
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