Why Is The Concept Of 'social Fact' Of Central Importance To Social Scientist?

1590 words - 6 pages

In this essay I am going to be researching why the concept of 'social fact' is of central importance to social science. I will be demonstrating what social fact actually is and how it has been identified by sociologists in the past and present, this will include looking at the works of the famous sociologists Emile Durkheim (1858 - 1917). I will also be introducing the notion of structuralism and looking at functionalism and positivism in social science, demonstrating its relevance to the key concept of social fact. Let it be known that this is a complex question, so therefore by providing specific evidence, also could be seen as arguable to others depending on individual beliefs. Therefore I have chosen to be selective, as no attempt will be made to be encyclopedic, rather I have selected some of the cardinal strengths within the subject matter.By a social fact, Durkheim is referring to facts, concepts, expectations that come not from individual responses and preferences, but that come from the social community which socializes each of its members. Although we might embrace the normative community behavior and share its values, we are constrained by its very existence. Though we as people, or as individuals may think we choose to behave in one way rather than another, in reality the choice is already made for us. It was Durkheim who first stressed the consensus view that even the possibilities of thought and experiences are inherited, not invented. (P, Jones 2000). A good example which I can think of to demonstrate this notion is religion, allow me to elaborate. People who attend a religious service may believe sincerely in their God, but the beliefs and practices of their religion were in existence before they were - these people learned them. Like all other social activity, religious belief and practice is structured by society and by the positions of people in it. A quote taken from Durkeim makes this point, so fundamental to the consensus view of social life:"When I perform my duties as a brother, a husband or a citizen and carry out the commitments I have entered into, I fulfill obligations which are defined in law and custom and which are external to myself and my actions. Even when they conform to my own sentiments and when I feel their reality within me, that reality does not cease to be objective, for it is not I who have prescribed these duties; I have received them through education.... Similarly the believer has discovered from birth, ready fashioned, the beliefs and practices of his religious life; if they existed before he did, it follows that they exist outside him". (Durkheim, 1982, pp. 50-1).This quote therefore I feel demonstrates that for Durkheim, the achievement of social life among human beings and the existence of social order in society, is ensured by socialization - the process whereby different individuals learn collectively held standards or rules of behaviour. The term in which Durkheim uses this notion is called...

Find Another Essay On Why is the Concept of 'Social Fact' of Central Importance to Social Scientist?

Importance of Social Class Essay

1956 words - 8 pages and the rich would interact in rare occasions. On the other hand, the middle class and the lower class citizens would also interact in rare occasions. Current societal setting still lingers in this challenge. However, the importance of social class is increasingly diminishing with proliferate of democracy and human rights. Initially, there was a general notion that some illnesses belonged to certain social classes. However, advancement in

Why Is Power Central to Realist Perspectives of International Relations?

1404 words - 6 pages history (Chiaruzzi, 2012, pp. 37). In contrast, neorealism is based on a scientific method by examining economic theory and philosophy of science rather than historical reflection (Chiaruzzi, 2012, pp. 41). In addition, power is central to realist perspectives of International Relations because it is crucial for the understanding of two principal issues: who can be expected to win a conflict? And, related to this, who governs international politics

Explain what is meant by the term 'social construction' and consider how it has been used to further our understanding of the concept of identity.

1162 words - 5 pages According to social construction it is through social interactions that people "act and react in relation to others, through these social interactions we learn what is acceptable and what is not. Over time these rules become internalized within us, and eventually become an unconscious part of our lives and our identity. It is the aim of this essay to explain what is meant by the term 'social construction' and how social construction has

Explain why action is central in the analysis of interaction?

3444 words - 14 pages interaction) and ‘the sequential environment in which social actions was performed’ (Seedhouse, 2005, p. 252) to arrive at conclusions. Therefore, aside from the detailed information that is provided in transcripts, according to Hutchby and Wooffitt (2008), CA aims to ‘discover how participants understand and respond to one another in their turns at talk, with a central focus on how sequences of actions are generated’ (p. 12). It then follows that

Discussion of the Importance of the Social and Cultural Context Where Child Language Acquisition is Concerned

3568 words - 14 pages Discussion of the Importance of the Social and Cultural Context Where Child Language Acquisition is Concerned Beginning with Elene Lieven’s review of the importance of the environment for language learning, discuss the importance of the social and cultural context where child language acquisition is concerned. Environment According to Elena Lieven, the roles played by brothers and sisters, and other children and

The Social Marketing Concept.

2899 words - 12 pages and health problems and premature death.Extended Example 1 - The TAC's Wipe Off 5 Campaign.Introduction: The first organisation that will be analysed is the Victorian Transport Accident Commission's wipe off 5 campaigns. Social marketing is being used in TAC to advance the cause of public health and safety. Less speeding on Victoria's roads is one of the TAC's top road safety objectives. The Wipe Off 5 campaign commenced in August 2001. To date

modernization as a concept of social change

6079 words - 24 pages say on a daily basis and to attract people to attend to their communications leads to a vital social function of main- taining social cohesion by the circulation of communications potentially concerning all systems. The necessary basis of the mass media's own continued existence has therefore evolved to become a functional necessity for modernizing societies - which is presumably one reason why all modernizing societies include a very large mass

To what extent can the existence of social order be explained in term of the functionalist concept of value consensus?

1670 words - 7 pages view of social order is contrast to the idea of functionalism and Marxism.It emphasis not only on the economics and ideological factors,but also viewed that individuals develop a 'self -concept ' ,by the process of role taking to observe themselves from the standpoints of others.Self concept is developed from interaction processes as it is a reflection of the others towards the individuals,as the term "looking glass self' coined by Charles

Shareholder Concept versus Stakeholder Concept: The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Profit maximization

9403 words - 38 pages values. A closer look at the latest corporate scandals such as Enron, Arthur Anderson and WorldCom reveals that such decline is real and that ethical failures can certainly lead to the undermine of not only good but also great businesses. Such revelation has placed a strategic importance on attention to business ethics and ethical conduct and corporate social responsibility (Schermerhorn, 2006, p. 58). These recent scandals placed an obligation

The Importance of Self Concept to Personal Communication

1520 words - 6 pages The Importance of Self Concept to Personal Communication The observation of yourself as an individual is called self-concept. Self-concept also embraces how well you know yourself through the medium of thoughts, feelings and emotions. ==================================================================== Perception plays a key role in the making of self-concept. How you perceive yourself and how you think others

Importance are media to the formation of youth as a social category.

1913 words - 8 pages "simulacrum" would be the concept of virtual reality, a reality created by simulation, for which there is no original. http://www.colorado.edu/English/ENGL2012Klages/pomo.html. (16. april.2003) This is another reason why hip hop is considered to be a postmodern form. It does not own any sense of originality; in fact, ten rappers would jam about the same issue at the same time and yet be celebrated equally. Nelly, Jay-Z, 50 cent, Redman, Ja Rule, Eric

Similar Essays

The Concept Of Social Capital Essay

1852 words - 7 pages their less attractive attributes. In addition, the concept puts these positive effects in the wider framework of capital and concentrates further on non-monetary capital as a foundation for influence and power. Bearing in mind that older people have extra time to participate in social activities as a result of retirement or even little familial restrictions, it is a fact that social capital is a significant determinant of health in older people

Examine The Concept Of 'social Exclusion' Linked To Irish Identity

1897 words - 8 pages Within this essay I am going to explore and examine the concept of social exclusion linked to Irish identity in Britain. I will be exploring the social conditions of the Irish people living in Britain because if first and second generation Irish people are taken together, the Irish form the largest ethnic group in Britain today. In fact, studies have shown that the size of the Irish-born population in Britain has remained stable overall since

The Importance Of Social Stability And Economic Freedom To Conservatism

2100 words - 8 pages The Importance of Social Stability and Economic Freedom to Conservatism Traditionally Conservatism has generally focussed on both social stability and economic freedom, believing that the two are inherently intertwined. The central theme of Conservative thought, namely “the desire to conserve”, is closely linked to the emphasis placed on respect for tradition, established customs and institutions that have endured the

Importance Of Social Capital To Disaster Management

1840 words - 7 pages for much of the disparity in the heat wave morality rate for different ethnicity groups. It will become clear that the heat wave deaths represent what that Farmer (1999) refers to as ''biological reflections of social fault lines'' for which we and not nature are responsible for the many of the death occur during a disaster. It is the lack resources available to individuals and groups through their social connections to their communities, which