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Emile Durkheim - Emile Durkheim Theory Priority of social...

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Emile Durkheim Theory: Priority of social over individual; the idea that society can be studies scientifically.  Background Position in French Academy (respected, lived comfortably) Jewish background (not a practiced Jew, became agnostic) saw religion as social force Sensitive to Anti-Semitism of French Believed that sociology  (idea) was born in France in 19 th  century Sociology should be oriented toward empirical research. Immediate Effect on devlp. Of Early American sociology 1940s-1950s We adopted Durkheim’s thinking  Current debate over Marx’s change alienated labor to that of comm. similar debate of Durkheim  social facts then later to religion (shift) Major influences on Western Sociology o Methodology- statistical comparisons across social categories o Functionalism- organismic analogy; social structures (ex. Division of labor) contribute toward  stability of society.  o Meta- Narrative- increasing complexity and individualization, but anomic and need for moral  education Durkheim’s Assumptions of Human nature: Appetites for external satisfaction o Always wanting more w/o social constraint (makes us human) o Social constraint good thing saw greater degree of individualism but need to be balance  w/social constraint. “How does society effectively restrain individual?” Social Facts-  the social structures and cultural norms and values that are external to and coercive of  actors.  Occur outside of the individual; apart from individual but have an effect on the individual 1) Experienced as an external constraint rather than an internal drive 2) General throughout the  society and is not attached to any particular individual.
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Society is made up of social facts that exceed our intuitive understanding and must be  investigated through observations and measurements.  o Language as social fact: Is a thing which must be studied empirically External to the individual Coercive of the individual Changes in language can be explained only by other social facts and never by one  individuals intentions Material Social facts     - concrete, directly, empirically observable; styles of architecture, legal codes Non-Material Social Facts-      not directly observable, but just as much impact as material; moral  values, norms, culture, levels of social integration, social regulation in society (Durkheim’s main  interest) Relational Realism-       interactions, have their own levels of reality NON- Material Social Facts  (Most important to Durkheim) Morality
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