Classical Sociological Theory

2015 Words Dec 9th, 2014 9 Pages
Name: Chow Ka Chun Simon; Ssid: 1155032615
Course Code: SOCI 3003 Classical Sociological Theories
Professor : Chan Hoi Man Tutor : Joanne Luk Date : 12th November, 2014 Mid-term Exercise
Topic: Discuss the meaning and significance of social fact. In your paper, discuss why the concept of your choice may be considered as important for understanding the works of the theorist concerned. In addition, you may also discuss the border significance of the concept in helping you to understand the nature of Modern Society and of Modern sociology.

Background and introduction

Social fact is the most important concept in mastering Durkheim’s theory because it is what Durkheim defined as the subject matter of sociology (Durkheim, 1972: 58).
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Durkheim also suggested the use of statistics to investigate into social fact. Statistics can reflect social phenomena. They are the external index for individuals’ consciousness. Some criticisms claimed that such index does not represent social currents or phenomena because they are merely the aggregate of individual datum. However, Durkheim argued,

“ (statistics like marriage, birth rate,) each of these figures contains all the individual cases indiscriminately, the individual circumstances which may have had a share in the production of the phenomenon are neutralized, consequently, do not contribute to its determination. The average, then expresses a certain state of the group mind.” (Durkheim, 1964: 8)

He argued that these social facts arises from social relationships and human association and exist at the level of society as a whole while individual cases are insignificant. The change in the rates (Durkheim calls it pathological) reflected changes in certain social currents or social relationships and it remained as a fact external and coercive to each person.

In conclusion, social fact were both the way of functioning (like thinking, acting and feeling) and the way of being (the size of population, suicide rates etc). He successfully “extending scientific rationalism to human behavior” and differentiate sociology from other natural and social
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