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Free-For-All Essay

  • Submitted by: tlinthicum
  • on March 24, 2012
  • Category: Miscellaneous
  • Length: 960 words

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Below is an essay on "Free-For-All" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Considered one of the founders of sociology, Emile Durkheim rejected reductionist explanations that social behavior analyses consisted of a set of complex life-science processes and phenomena in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry.   Durkheim believed that the study of sociology was in fact a separate discipline that focused on groups and the social-structural determinants of man’s social problems rather than individual attributes.     He posited that the phenomena of social behavior consisted of social facts that included social institutions, cultural norms and values that were external and dominant over individual’s actions existing outside the individual consciousness.   Durkheim argued that not only are these forces external to the individual, but are “moreover endowed with coercive power, by virtue of which they impose themselves upon him, independent of his individual will” (Kivisto, 44).   Social facts, morals, and norms therefore become a functional force in society as effective guides, controls or restraints; utilizing laws or customs to internalize individual consciousness, and influence or control individual conduct within social environments.  
Durkheim separated social facts into two different types: material and nonmaterial.   To better understand societal relationships, he would focus more on the nonmaterial; such as morality, collective conscience, and social currents.   In a sense, society is not only outside of the individual, but is also inside each individual replacing constraint with a moral sense or obligation to obey societal rules.   The importance of sociology according to Durkheim then, was to study the collective phenomenon itself, and how each individual is well-adapted to it or not.   Durkheim’s model of the social world resembles a collection of evolving instructions for how individuals live amongst one another that allows for change through the feedback of the rules as opposed to individual decisions or initiative.
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