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Lecture 5

SOCB43 Lecture 5: my B43 Lec 5.docx

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Dan Silver

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Lecture 5
- Durkheim (Life)
- Social facts
- DOL : Agenda of Book, function of DOL, mechanical solidarity
Born in 1858, jewish, he was a catholic then atheist. Obsession in life: society faces
moral challenges, wanted to use his scientific sociology to direct society towards a better
Wrote the book DOL, and Suicide.
He became the public figure when he wrote the book, he was an institution builder, trying
to create a new discipline to study the new world. He wrote his 2nd book, Elementary
form of religious lives. He was involved in organizing university system. He became
Nationalistic, he joined the war and helped the propaganda. In the world, his son died.
Died in a few years after his son died.
Durkheim’s thinking: What is the structure of a church, or university, what does the
university tells you that you are going to get out of it?
How does he get there, to focus on those topics?
- To prove that there was some subject matter that only sociology can study.
What is a social fact?
- Social fact is not everything in society
- They have to be external and objective : it has got to be out there in the world,
existing, independent, and whether or not if you like it. You can’t change it. Has
to be something hard and doesn’t bend to your individual will, it is just there. Eg.
Things like duties, define in laws, customs, written down in books and codes.
They were there when you were born.
- Social facts are compelling or coercive. Coercion and punishment are key aspect
of social fact. Social fact is a real fact
Eg: if you kill someone, something bad is going to happen to you
They are not biological or psychological facts.
Because we are talking about regulations or rules about the fact.
It is suppose to study the norms, regulations in the institutions that stands outside
of us, that direct us.
How does social fact operates? (some general subject sociology studies)
1. Existing institutions: study the moral rules, religious and expectations.
2. Social currents: there are certain things out there that are expecting you. Eg:
fashion trends, literary trends.
3. Education: it injects social fact into you, it trains people and teach people the
What to look at within these?
- Sanctions: the punishment, the rules that is laid out. Eg. look at the consequences
of not praying the right way.
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