This paper investigates into one of the most significant contributions to sociological science made by one of the most famous sociologists of the world – Emile Durkheim. The social facts, according to Durkheim, make the subject matter of sociology and separate it into an…
Emile Durkheim is considered to be not only the most famous and significant sociologists of the XIX-XX centuries, but also the founder of sociology as an independent science. He reckoned that his main objective was to prove that sociology was not just a branch of psychology or philosophy. He was successful at this, as he formulated idea of social facts – the subject matter of a newly emerged science about the society. It is necessary to investigate into the essence of social fact and to understand how the rules of Durkheim’s works influence modern development of sociology.
In his work The Rules of Sociological Method, Emile Durkheim gives such definition of a social fact: “A social fact is any way 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). Durkheim insisted that sociology studies social facts that are different from something generally understood under this name, and these social facts belong only to characteristics of society and make sociology an independent science, as, studying these social facts, it has its own subject matter and research basis. According to Durkheim’s ideas, these facts called social are not invented by a single person, but are developed in the society during the previous periods and continuing in the future ones. The social facts can also exist outside of the person. These ones impose themselves upon an individual, and trying to resist those means punishment or something similar to pay the penalty for damages. These are also the facts that are implied, but not necessary to be fulfilled, however, violation of them would fail, and the violator could be ruined himself. The social facts constitute a category of facts that control an individual because ...
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