Social Facts Case Study

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The two cases presented to us, bring to light the concept of social facts-ways of acting, thinking or feeling that are external to individuals and have their own reality outside the lives and perceptions of individual people. These social facts are intangible and exercise a coercive power over individuals, which is often not recognized by individuals as they generally comply with social facts, in the belief that they are acting out of their own will. According to Emile Durkheim, suicide was such a social fact which could only be explained by other social facts, thereby making it sociological in nature. The first case talks about a 22-year-old- first year analyst (Sarvshreshth Gupta) at the Goldman Sachs office, who, overwhelmed by the all-nighters…show more content…
It is, therefore, a feature of common occurrence in societies wherein an individual is ‘over-integrated’, and he values society more that himself and thereby commits suicide for the ‘greater good’. In order to draw a parallel, I would like to refer to the example of the captain of the ship, who chooses to sink along with the ship as he seeks to obey what the group ordains. He is therefore governed by society while committing his act of suicide which seems falsely individualistic. The incident in the case could also be interpreted as fatalistic suicide, which Durkheim describes as the rarest of all type. The woman in the above case, who committed suicide was over-regulated by society, and in her feeling of powerlessness, decided to undertake the practice of Santhara, which was not an individual decision, but a decision brought about due to oppression from fellow beings. For instance, a woman who commits the act of Sati and is put upon the fire by society, she does so because she is oppressed by the society. However, if she does it voluntarily, with absence of oppression, it can be coined as altruistic
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