Essay on What Is Social Fact - Emile Durkheim

1080 Words 5 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…
Durkheim explains that children’s experiences during their upbringing has a continual impact on the child’s “ways of seeing, thinking and acting which he himself would no have arrived at spontaneously” (Durkheim, 1982:53) thus the importance of child rearing.

He also makes the point “the social being has been fashioned historically” (Durkheim, 1982:54), therefore we are taught and develop tendencies and habits, these plus the education a child receives are what provide the basis of creating a social being. “What constitutes social facts are the beliefs, tendencies and practices of the group taken collectively.” (Durkheim, 1982:54). Therefore when one is born into a particular social fact, they grow up and follow the beliefs, tendencies and practices of the people around them – their parents: “if they existed before he did, it follows that they exist outside him” (Durkheim, 1982:51) There are numerous contemporary examples of Durkheim’s concept of social facts present in today’s society; these are inundated in our lives everyday. A particular example of social fact is racism.
Racism is described as the belief in racial differences, which can cause discriminatory acts – where a distinct biological group is described as inferior; the members of a particular race are commonly faced with derogatory racial based comments, stereotypes and non-equal treatment.

One of the main causes of racism is an individuals surrounding

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