Socio Essay

903 words - 4 pages

In order for an individual to attempt to understand the complexities of the social world, he or she must first grasp the concept of social imagination, or the knowledge of social facts. According to Émile Durkheim in The Rules of Sociological Method, social facts refer to the ideas and values collected from society that structures the pattern of actions performed by its members.
Social facts are characterized as systems of behaviors and beliefs that are derived independently of the individual to control him or her through outside forces. Although most people believe that they embody the normative expectations established by society, they are actually being restricted by the social facts from conflicting with the pattern. As an example, consider the social fact where students take notes in a classroom. Even though most professors do not mandate note-taking, most students write notes. The students might assume that they are writing notes on their own accord, yet in reality, the consequences of not taking notes, mainly failing the class, convince the students to follow the social fact. Furthermore, social facts cannot be easily influenced by individual efforts. However, they are applied to all members of the society and frame the basis of human actions. Consider the case of note-taking again. The widespread thought of taking notes cannot be easily altered by one student not taking notes. When an individual violates social facts, he or she is met with external pressure. To demonstrate the powerful pressure that society exerts on its population, Durkheim describes the conditions that humans are raised into and the consequence when an individual resists these conditions. Children are born into families and religions that provide education to forcibly impose on them the ideas of morality, languages, laws, and traditions of society. These ideas translate into social facts that could extend from fashion to their methods of social interactions. Also, they are taught that an individual who violates any aspect of this education would be punished. If the individual tries to communicate without the given language, he or she would find it almost impossible to do so. If the individual acts outside of the patterns of society, he or she could be punished physically and mentally. For instance, a person who deviates from social fact by committing murder would be physically imprisoned by law and socially disconnected from his or her acquaintances. These consequences bind the children to continue following the social facts throughout their lives since opposing it would limit their abilities in the society.
According to the concept of social facts, even the most seemingly individual decision is a product of society. The understanding that the personal behavior is positioned within a larger framework of social systems is defined by C. Wright Mills as...

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