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Emile Durkheim Theories - Essay Example

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Emile Durkheim Theories

His contribution in literature was also immense and is valued up to date (Cuff and Francis 2004, p. 40).
One of the main concerns of Durkheim was how the society was formed and how it operated. He observed the formation of the society and the maintenance of social order. He was concerned with the integrity and coherence of the modern society. In this case Durkheim recognized how the society was being transformed by the changes that were taking place in the social life of the people. Durkheim looked closely the shared religious and ethnic background that was changing the life of the society.
According to Durkheim, the social changes that were taking place due to religion and ethnic changes could not be ignored in the definition of a normal society. These factors determined how the society was formed and how it operated. To understand the nature of the society and the changes that were taking place, Durkheim constructed as social science model (Giddens 2001, p. 69).
Along with Herbert Spence, they developed the first scientific model that could be used to analyze and explain social phenomena. This model which was based on the social facts could be used to explain the existence and quality of different parts that makes up the society. This was explained well by making reference to the different functions of the social facts in maintaining the quotidian and therefore they can be assured as the precursors to functionalism (Durkheim 1938, p. 301).
Although Durkheim showed that the society was made up of different parts, he also explained that these parts doest not entirely constitute the whole society. The society was more than these parts and their interrelationship. According to Durkheim, the society has a complex arrangement that is held together by a social fabric (Lukes 1982, p. 60).
Durkheim pointed out that while you needed facts in studying science, you do not even know the facts that are relevant to you not until you create the science. This means that we have to use imagination in order to create science that could be used to study the society even before you find out that the science we have created is really imperfect.
Therefore Durkheim explained his understanding of the society in view of social fact. He explained social facts as the phenomena which exist in and of themselves although they are not bound to action of individual members of the society. Therefore social facts were different from the action of the individuals. They had a greater objective than the sum total of actions of individuals that compose the society. (Ritzer 2004, p. 21)
Unlike his contemporaries like Ferdinand Tonnies or Marx Weber who were considered to have made contribution to the study of the society, Durkheim did not focus on what motivates the action of the individuals in the society but he rather focused on the social facts. His studies were not based on the methodological individualism but focused on the social facts that influence the life of individuals in the society although they are very different from the actions of the individuals.
According to Durkheim social facts are made up of different ways of acting and feeling which are not tied to the individual persons. These ways possesses power of coercion which they impose upon individual member ...Show more


Durkheim was a French sociologist who made a tremendous contribution to the modern sociology and anthropology. During his time Durkheim worked on several works which came to be accepted in the social science academic world. He has been considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern sociology and one of those who proposed solidarism as a social way of life.
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Emile Durkheim Theories essay example
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