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SOC231H5 Lecture Notes - Anomie

Course Code
Zaheer Baber

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The Social, Political and Historical Context
-Marx 1818-1883
-Weber: 1864- 1920
-W.E.B Dubois: 1868-1963
-Emile Durkheim: 1858-1917
Emile Durkheim 1858-1917
-unlike Marx and Weber, he had a “regular” life
-book: The Rules of Sociological Method
-Main aim: establish the object of study for sociology: distinct from
psychology or philosophy
-Sociology= Empirical study of “social facts”
Social facts:
-external constraint=constraining power imposed on an individual
behavior, life, etc.
-general, not individual
-social facts: society, a reality “sui generis” (unique) that cannot be
reduced to individuals
-“whole” is more than simply a sum of its parts (salt; water, social
-“social facts” have their own independent reality, like “things”,
external to individuals
-example: language as a “social fact”
oexternal to individuals: no particular individual or groups of
individuals created it
oconstrains individual speech: through rules of grammar, syntax
ogeneral, not private: meaning of words, sentences, must be
generally, not privately understood; words have NO intrinsic
oLanguage as a social fact: unique quality not reducible to
individual users of it
oMethodological rule: “the determining cause of a social fact,
must be sought among antecedent social acts and not among the
states of individual consciousness”
oSociology seeks to explain the existence of “social facts” by
reference to other “social facts” by reference to other “social
facts”, not individual psychology
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