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Durkheim and study of society

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Cliff S.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Durkheim's model of sociological theory
  3. The study of social facts
  4. Conclusion

As Durkheim points out, our desire to make the study of society a scientific endeavor cannot be limited to focusing on individual actions, feelings, and thoughts. Instead, he argues that we should look to larger ?social facts? that go beyond viewing our society as a simple aggregate of many individuals' accomplishments. Social facts include all ?things? of societal institutions that are not immediately and naturally understood by the individual human.

[...] With this in mind, we can understand why Durkheim says that individuals are mostly unable to change social facts: they are ?malleable and flexible,? but not ?modifiable at will.? While social facts are certainly socially constructed by individuals of society, Durkheim argues that once established, they take on a life of their own and are not easily affected by one person. As mentioned, social facts tend to wield more power and control over the individual than vice versa. On the other hand, the study of social facts is different than other sciences such as biology or psychology. [...]

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