Emile Durkheim Social Facts Essay

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Durkheim argues that social facts are independent of their manifestations in individual consciousness and action. What does he mean? What kind of things are social facts? Are they mental? Are they physical? Durkheim speaks sometimes of collective minds, Are social facts and collective minds the same thing? Can social facts have effects independently of individual people? Shadee Douglas St. George’s University Classical Social Theory (SOCI 302) Dr. Benoit November 19th,2017. Durkheim wanted to create a scientific method that could analyse and observe the social behaviour of people instead of the individual. In order for that to be possible, it was important that social things be separated from individual things. Hence, Durkheim created the whole concept of social facts. Durkheim defined social facts as things outside of, the actor or person performing the task. It is aspects of our social life that shape the behaviour of individuals in society. These are created from collective forces, on the outside that do not come from the individual himself. (Hadden, p. 104). Durkheim considered society as sui-generis, which means self-born. This means that social facts are born out of centuries of accepted ways of doing things. These facts emerge out of the collective and not out of individual decisions and behaviour. Social facts occur without the individual being consciously aware that he or she is performing a
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