This article will set out to explore Durkheims concept of social facts, and can seek to make clear the importance of the facts with regards to his work. Durkheim identified a group phenomena within contemporary society which he stated could be studied separately. These phenomena described the different serves that we all engage in within contemporary society, such as ideals, beliefs, and laws that people follow, he described these as interpersonal facts. (Giddens, 1971)
A social fact is described in two ways; first is that they are external to the average person, and subsequently they have some type of control over the individual, like a law that the average person knows exists and for that reason certain behavior will result in some kind of charges.
Social facts were an important aspect of Durkheim's work, as he was attempting to visit a role for the social which was recognized from the mental health and biological facet of life and the individual. He identified these fact is rooted within population in group beliefs and principles; they aren't something that impacts us in a mental health or biological way, such as eating and sleeping, as although these are done by all within world they are a natural natural process. (Morrison, 1995)
Durkheim recognized two different kinds of social fact; materials and non-material. Durkheim noticed material sociable facts as stemming from organizations such as religion, the governments, and law companies. These are the physical constructions within contemporary society that exert impact on individuals within contemporary society. The nonmaterial cultural facts come from areas that form our moral rules, beliefs and principles which do not have a physical existence. Durkheim's view was that sociologists should study these interpersonal facts in an attempt to find the reason and also the functions of these; whether they are being used to pass on beliefs to children to maintain sociable order, or as a form of control for the institutions. (Durkheim, 1938)
Durkheim's theory of interpersonal facts was primarily a breakthrough, as it offered way to review entire societies rather than just the average person. Durkheim developed the thought of studying sociable facts thorough many studies of his own.
Durkheim theorised that through the study of statistical data it might be possible to see society within an objective manner. One of Durkheim's most famous studies was the analysis of Suicide. He desired to explore this as a public fact, and not one which most consider to be a very personal, if not so anti-social act.
He noticed suicide to be a social current that are characteristics of society, but may well not be as steady as other public facts such as citizenship and work.
The cultural currents in the case of suicide are shown as suicide rates, a statistical representation of cultural facts matching to Durkheim.
Durkheim's study revealed that there was a design within suicide rates between different societies and various teams within those societies. This style was clear amidst different societies and even though the pattern evolved, it stayed apparent across all societies that he studied. (Durkheim, 1951)
One of the key patterns that emerged was in faith. Durkheim saw faith as a interpersonal fact, which was a handling factor amidst those who implemented it. Therefore to truly have a pattern amongst suicide emerge for this reason control was a breakthrough in conditions of his research within sociable facts.
Durkheim's research illustrated that there was difference in suicide rates within Protestant and Catholic countries and neighborhoods. There were an increased range of suicides within Protestant contemporary society then Catholic ones. All branches of faith have a poor view of suicide and condemn it in various ways, therefore Durkheim theorised that there has to be various other factor within these two that triggers the difference in suicide rates, such as public organisation and family structure. In further studies Durkheim discovers that when a family group is more included the suicide rates drop. (Durkheim, 1951)
Durkheim's studies led him to believe that differences in suicide rates can be attributed to the degree of integration into modern culture and the rules of modern culture. Durkheim considers the 'level to which collective sentiments are shared' (Ritzer, 1992) to be the main element to the level of integration. As Catholics have a far more integrated world and family then Protestants this can be the key attribute as to why Protestants have an increased suicide rate; the primary difference being the sociable organisation between your two religions and exactly how this differs greatly. Durkheim also acknowledged that those who have larger family members are less likely to commit suicide then those in smaller people. As Catholics are renowned for having large family organisations this is viewed as another cause for the distinctions in suicide rates.
The final result that Durkheim came up to from this study would be that the social suicide rate can be explained sociologically. He argued that different communities within culture have different consciousness and it is these that can produce different social currents which lead to a notable difference in suicide rates. Durkheim cases that by studying these different organizations within society some of the distinctions can be analysed which in turn means the effect on suicide rates can be seen, and also changes within the culture in the collective conscious can result in an alteration within these currents in world, which again can lead to a notable difference in the suicide rate patterns within these different categories. (Durkheim, 1951)
Durkheim's Suicide review was groundbreaking in the sense so it showed how sociable areas of life can be utilized in order to describe the actions of individuals instead of the internal and biological causes. The study illustrated Durkheim's ideas behind public facts and proved how suicide rates can be an appearance of the interpersonal currents that make a difference the interpersonal facts that take place within modern culture.
Durkheim's method was seen as radical at the time as it made sociology a standalone subject amongst the public sciences. Along with his approach to research and his theories he were able to distance the public from the internal and biological and be seen as a true subject in its right. The empirical studies that he did showed that social facts based on the collective conscious couldn't be categorised within psychological or natural as they existed outside of the average person conscience.
The work he performed was important for anthropological studies as well as sociological ones as much analysts after him accumulated empirical research of interpersonal facts in order to clarify different sociable phenomena.
Durkheim's work and method of analysis paved the way for analysis today as his method continues to be used. Social triggers are now recognised within factors behind suicide and are often used in new studies of suicide rates. Durkheim's work helped research workers in understanding the communal factors that will help make clear the phenomena of cultural facts, and how a social justification now needs to be found when studying different aspect of society.
Durkheim possessed created a theory structured around the collective mindful which he had reinforced with his sociable facts, and with this he previously created ways to study the result of these interpersonal facts on social phenomena. The methods he previously created got completely revolutionised how research could be conducted, and the ideas could interpret the behaviour observed in difference societies. He had made way for different thinking when it comes to anthropological research and made it possible to review entire societies rather than an individual lost within a population. Many theorists since Durkheim have developed further his ideas in their own research into cultural facts and detailing the difference triggers for behaviour in your society.