Social Facts

Topics: Sociology, Émile Durkheim, Suicide Pages: 3 (1010 words) Published: November 10, 2010
Social facts are described by Durkheim as the ways of acting feeling and thinking that are external but coercive of the individual. Social facts according to Durkheim are often linked to each other. There are interrelated and interdependent in their functions or how they work and affect society. There two types of social facts, namely, material social facts and non-material. Material social facts are social facts that are physical and less significant. They are things we see such as architecture and the laws of society and the state. Material social facts also include morphological components, which deals with population distribution in society. Dynamic density which is increase in population and an increase in interaction among them is also an example of social fact. Non-material social fact includes collective consciences, which refers to the “the totality of beliefs and sentiments common to average citizens of the same society form a determinate system which has its own life.” Other examples of non-material are norms and values of a group which constitute culture. Also, funeral rites and outdooring ceremonies are examples of social facts. Durkheim developed a methodology for the study of social facts. He developed this methodology to help in the objective of phenomenon. His methodology or outline was to show that sociology can study phenomenon scientifically. Durkheim applied his methodology in his study of suicide. He was interested in people in groups or societies committed suicide and why the rates of suicide were higher in some groups. He was not interested in studying why individuals commit suicide. The first step in Durkheim’s methodology that, the social fact should be defined, that is, it is to be examined. Durkheim in his study of suicide defined suicide as “all cases of that resulting directly or indirectly from a positive or negative act of the victim himself, which he knows will produce this result. Thus, Durkheim defined what suicide is in his...
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