What Is Social Fact - Emile Durkheim

1074 WordsJun 11, 20135 Pages
Emile Durkheim introduced the concept of social facts explaining that “A social fact is any way of acting, whether fixed or not, capable of exerting over the individual an external constraint; or: which is general over the whole of a given society whilst having an existence of its own, independent of its individual manifestations.” (Durkheim, 1895/1982:59). In other words the ideals passed down to us that we pass down to our children, established patterns of human relations, which create a set of expectations for each individual, these differ in every society. Durkheim describes his personal experiences of social facts while performing his responsibilities, which he is obligated to do as a “brother, a husband” (Durkheim, 1982:50) although…show more content…
Just as Durkheim explains there are no psychological or biological factors associated with the racism, hatred and stereotyping that an individual encompasses, but it is established from an outside influence. The stereotyping associated with racism is passed onto children from their parents who attributed it from the social fact they were born into that holds the beliefs, tendencies and practices based around racism towards other particular social facts, it becomes normal for a individual who was born into a racist social fact to be a racist. Thinking or feeling any sense of empathy towards those who are subjected to the racism would result in a penalty for the individual. It is the social standard to be racist and a rational, accepted action to discriminate against particular groups; they are conforming to the norm of the social group. Just as Durkheim carries out his “duties as a brother, a husband or citizen…” (Durkheim, 1982:50). A person who was born into a racist social fact fulfills their duties by being discriminatory, as social facts have a cohesive power over them, regulating their thoughts and actions. The 2005 Cronulla Riot’s can be used as an example: the ethnically motived riots were orchestrated between Middle Eastern young men and ‘White Australian’ men. The white men believed that they were superior to the Middle Eastern men, this was based on
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