How Society Can Be Both Internal and External to Human Beings

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How Society Can Be Both Internal and External to Human Beings Many different people, from many different backgrounds can define society in many different ways. To some it is the community they live in, to others it is the entity that shapes their lives, and yet to others, it is an exclusive club in which they're are a member of. To Emile Durkheim, the world's first official Sociologist, society is a complex structure in which each separate part is responsible for its own function for the benefit of the whole. This essay will not only explain how society can be both internal and external to human beings, but also three characteristics of the social fact concept, and three of Durkheim's sociologically significant concepts. According to…show more content…
129). He later changed his views and stressed that social facts become competent guides and controls of conduct only to the extent that they become internalized by individuals while continuing to exist outside of them (Coser, pg. 129). Social facts contain several characteristics. One characteristic is constraint. Constraint is the ability to condition an individual to conform to society. For example, a person will receive a traffic ticket if they go over the speed limit. The ticket is the act of constraint because it is used as a way to force the person to adhere to the law that has been imposed. A second characteristic is generality. Generality is something that is potentially universal and diffused with a group. Again, using the speeding ticket as the example, the generality is that the speed limit applies to all persons that possess a valid driver's license. A final characteristic included in social facts is externality, which constitutes a reality sui-generis outside of any individual. For example, when a child is born, it is born without any constraints. Among others, cleanliness, obedience, and respect are imposed on the child from the time they are born. These are social facts that are external to the child. This discussion leads us to the work of Emile Durkheim, specifically, his work with the socially confusing subject of suicide. Durkheim conducted an extensive study on suicide based on the
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