Structurally positivist versus structurally critical paradigm

Picture of Katarina Milutinovic
Emil Dirkem, The Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Katarina Milutinovic - Wednesday, 19 November 2014, 1:02 AM

In this paper, Dirkem focused on identifying the main characteristics of social facts. He felt that the great problem was that many authors used the term to denote all phenomena that could occur within society, however, this was not a precise definition. If we were to define social facts in this way, then they would not be the subject of study inherent in sociology, but could be dealt with by other sciences such as biology or psychology.

"When I am acting as a brother, spouse or citizen, when fulfilling the obligations I have contracted, I fulfill the duties that are determined by law and customs outside of me and my actions, even when they are in accordance with my own feelings and when I feel in myself their reality, reality does not cease to be objective, because I did not create them, but received them through education. " (Dirkem, 1963: 21)

On the basis of this quote, it is concluded that any social role that an individual in society may have is already predetermined by patterns of behavior that direct the individual to fulfill that role properly. The same is true of certain customs, the language we use on a daily basis and the beliefs that existed before the individual and are thus independent and objective in relation to him / her. We observe two basic characteristics of social facts, namely, that they are ways of acting , thinking and feeling that are left out of individual consciousness , and that such patterns of thinking or behavior on the individual are coercive, ie. commanding power. The power of coercion is always present, whether individuals are conscious or not. They are not aware of those moments when they voluntarily obey and act on patterns of behavior, and they will feel her pressure as soon as they decide to oppose certain conventions or rules. Then the power of coercion will be manifested through penalties (sanctions) that may be lighter or harsher depending on what the individual is violating. There are milder cases where dress conventions, moral rules, customs, and the like are not respected and then the sentence is reflected in condemnation, ridicule or by keeping the individual at a distance. Severe sanctions are applied in response to a violation of the law and may include fines, imprisonment and corporations. In the example of educating children through primary socialization, coercion and the imposition of behavioral patterns on the child are clearly evident. Over time, coercion becomes less felt as the child creates habits and will increasingly act in accordance with behavioral patterns. By educating a child, he introduces himself to social life, learns to respect behavior patterns, adopts values ​​and moral principles, however, parents are only intermediaries in the process. Namely, the rules imposed by parents are actually the pressure of the society itself, which strives to shape the individual according to his character.

Precisely because they are independent of individual consciousness and possess the power of coercion, social facts can be clearly distinguished from organic and psychic phenomena that have an individual basis, while social facts and their manifestations must be viewed at the level of society or the whole.

Dirkem also spoke about the importance of social facts that can exist where there are no specific patterns of behavior and such facts relate to the impact of social currents on an individual. Social currents are social facts that are also objective and coercive against individuals. An example of social currents are sets of different types that are ruled by or resentment about an event. The pressure exerted by an assembly on an individual is always present, even when he voluntarily indulges in the influence of the collective sentiment that is at that gathering. When the set dissipates, the impact of the mass on the individual will weaken, eventually disappearing completely and then the individual will actually become most aware of the pressure he or she is under. Sometimes it will happen that the individual realizes that the feeling that he or she has awakened or the opinion that he or she represented at that meeting was actually imposed from the outside and that he / she might not even form them if he / she was out of the meeting.

“Certain of these ways of doing or thinking through repetition acquire a kind of constancy that, so to speak, pits them apart and sets them apart from special events that reflect them. They thus embody, receive the sense-form inherent in them, and form a reality sui generis, which is very different from the individual facts that manifest it. '' (Dirkem, 1963: 25)

Namely, thoughts existing in individual consciousnesses and movements repeated by individuals are individual manifestations of social facts, however, social facts represent modes of action, opinions, beliefs that must be taken collectively. When individual modes of thought or action are repeated, they acquire stability over time and settle down, leading to the creation of their own reality - sui generis. It is a special form of reality that is different from the individual phenomena that are manifested. This creates a collective habit of following certain patterns of behavior that have been transmitted verbally through generations, through upbringing. This particular aspect of reality refers to legal and moral rules, customs, beliefs that exist regardless of their application.

The foregoing concludes that social facts differ from individual consequences, that is, manifestation. Dirkem gave several examples to support this testimony, among other things, he spoke of the act of suicide. Certain social circumstances may encourage an individual to commit suicide, and these social circumstances represent social facts. Using the statistical method, we can cover all individual cases of committing this act, whereby all individual circumstances, intentions and the like would be suppressed. In this way, we would determine the suicide rate, which covers all individual cases, but expresses the 'collective state of the soul', that is, what is the general situation in a society in which a certain number of people would decide to commit suicide. Individual manifestations of the act of suicide must be different from the collective observation of this phenomenon because they cannot be classified as purely sociological phenomena. In order to commit suicide, in addition to social circumstances, he is influenced by some biological or psychic factors, and most commonly refers to socio-psychic phenomena.

If social facts are spoken of as modes of action, then they are physiological in nature. Social facts, however, can also be defined as collective modes of existence and are then morphological or anatomical in nature. These facts relate to the way in which individuals act in harmony in society, the way they interact with each other, but they also concern the distribution of the population in the territory, the way settlements are built, migration. Nevertheless, such modes of existence are imposed on the individual as obligatory modes of action because there are certain conventions of dressing and building houses, while the legal system regulates all relations in society, transport and migration.

Based on everything that has been exposed and explained so far on this topic, we can give a definitive definition of social facts:

"A social fact is any, established or not, a way of doing which is capable of exerting an external coercion on an individual; or else, which is common throughout a given society, having its own existence independent of its individual manifestations. '' (Dirkem, 1963: 30)

Literature: Emil Dirkem, Rules of Sociological Method, Contemporary School, Belgrade, 1963, 21-30

Picture of Vera Vratuša
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Vera Vratuša - Thursday, November 20, 2014, 8:57 AM

It is commendable that this week's announcement was made before the proposed deadline, November 20 at noon. In order to consolidate the discussion on the same topic in one place, I will upload it to the appropriate forum.

It would be good if the author read her own text once more before publishing it as if it were someone else's text and thus checked that she was satisfied with all of her features. In that case, it would probably not happen that in formal terms, the repeated failure to enclose the original author's surname, year of publication and page containing the selected citation appears after the punctuation mark, usually the end of the sentence, instead of before the punctuation mark.

In terms of content, I ask the author and other usa1 participants in charge of the same text and the same weekly topic as all other interested uso1 participants to clarify through the discussion

1. Why did Dirk in the chapter "What is a social fact" in his book The Rules of the Sociological Method "focus on identifying the main characteristics of social facts" as formulated by my colleague Katherine?

2. How is "the subject of study inherent in sociology" different from the subject of biology on the one hand and psychology on the other, in Dirk's view?

3. what other expressions are missing to comprehensively summarize / paraphrase Dirkham's definition of social fact in the following formulation of Catherine's colleague: "command power"?

4. What distinguishes "social facts" from "social strife"?

5. How did you understand the term "reality sui generis"?

6. what is the difference between "common" or "general" and "collective" in Dirkham?

7. What "social circumstances can encourage an individual to commit suicide"?

8. What else does an author like Dirkem take from biology to differentiate into physiology and anatomy and apply it in sociology?

9. How can this Dirkhem original text help us to formulate more precisely the suggestions of questions and answers about Dirk's theoretical and methodological understandings than was possible only on the basis of a cursory and simplistic textbook literature?

After discussing these issues, move on to reasoned mutual evaluation and self-assessment within a sub-topic specifically opened for this purpose within this forum.

Picture of Katarina Milutinovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Katarina Milutinovic - Sunday, November 23, 2014, 5:30 PM

I will try to answer a few questions:

2. As I noted at the beginning of the text, Dirkem criticizes the reckless use of the term social fact. Namely, he notes that "they are often used to mark almost all phenomena occurring within society, however little they may represent, with a certain generality, some social interest " (Dirkem, 1963: 21). In addition, he states that all individuals carry out biological processes such as sleeping, eating, or water, and that society is interested to a certain extent in the proper and acceptable manner. If we look at social facts in this way, then they are not a purely sociological phenomenon, and therefore not a subject of study inherent in sociology. However, if we speak of social facts as modes of action, opinions, and feelings that are external to an individual and impose on him or her on the basis of the coercive power they possess, then we can more clearly distinguish them from biological phenomena in that they consist in representations and in the activities, and from the psychic in that they do not exist in the individual consciousnesses, but outside them, and therefore are objective in relation to the individual.

4. Reading the literature that was intended to discuss this topic, I came to the conclusion that social currents are in fact one type of social facts, and different from other types in that they do not have a specific arrangement in terms of an established system of legal and moral rules, religious dogmas, the financial system, or behavior patterns. They exist where there is also a mass that can influence the individual within it, change their mind, form a new one, or under pressure to assimilate with other members of the congregation.

6. A phenomenon is considered collective if it is understood to be common to all members of society (or most of them), or if it is general. However, it is important to state that the phenomenon is general precisely because it is collective, that is, obligatory for all members of a particular society. These phenomena are repeated on an individual plane, because they are imposed on individuals from the outside, which means that the phenomenon is present in every part of society, because it is present in its entirety, not the other way around. To clarify this claim, Dirk gives an example of the transmission of already established and established beliefs, moral principles and rules from generation to generation, through upbringing.

7. Some of the social circumstances that can influence an individual to commit suicide are poverty , high unemployment , and social outcasts that arise in the process of segregation of certain groups. An example of this phenomenon are slums (English - slum) characterized by poverty , very poor housing conditions, unhygienic living conditions, and high crime rates. The slums have a devastating effect on the health of his residents, who often see no way to leave such an environment. Another cause of suicide that is social in nature may be discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, etc., but also abuse , physical and verbal.

Picture of Vera Vratuša
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Vera Vratuša - Sunday, 7 December 2014, 12:04 AM

Excellent to my colleague Katarina, I was left unclear about the more precisely defined social circumstances or conditions that affect different rates of suicide, which Dirchem also chose as a criterion for classifying different types of suicide. What do other participants in the US think about the weekly announcement by their colleague Katarina, and what does her colleague Katarina think about the announcements by other students in the US at least within the same weekly topic?

Picture of Katarina Milutinovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Katarina Milutinovic - Monday, December 29, 2014, 4:18 PM

I did not understand that you specifically wanted Dirkham's understanding of the social circumstances that influence an individual to commit suicide, so I wrote in general about the possible factors. So here's a look back at what Dirkem thought was important:

In his analysis of self-esteem, Dirkem focused primarily on the notion of anomie . It occurs during periods of rapid change (such as those during the Industrial Revolution) that lead to the destruction of traditional lifestyles without creating new and clear values ​​and norms. Because of this, people often felt despair and felt that their daily lives made no sense

In addition to anomie, Dirkem introduces notions of social integration and social regulation , on the basis of which he forms his typology of suicide. Social integration refers to whether the individual is sufficiently integrated into society, whether he or she is isolated or if his / her relationships with others are weak, while social regulation refers to the existence of norms that guide the individual's life and behavior. So he distinguishes the following types of suicide:

1) Egoistic - occurs due to low social integration

2) Anomic - occurs under conditions of low social regulation, that is, under conditions of anomie

3) Altruistic - when an individual is "overly" integrated into society, he values ​​society more than his own life and is willing to sacrifice himself for "more good" (kamikaze)

4) Fatalistic - cases where society "over-regulates" an individual and he / she feels helpless under this pressure

Dirkem also noted that individuals from certain groups are more prone to this act than others (more likely to be committed by men, Protestants or unmarried), and that the suicide rate is declining during the wars, and is significantly higher in times of economic change and instability.

Picture of Nenad Pivaš
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Nenad Pivaš - Saturday, January 10th 2015, 7:02 PM

The weekly statement by my colleague Militinovic is extremely well conceived, and the later answers to the questions fully explain all that may be unclear to us on the subject. The only acceptable grade would be 10.

Picture of Aleksandar Prodanovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Aleksandar Prodanovic - Sunday, January 11th 2015, 12:54 AM

Col. Katherine wrote the work for praise, noting the hard work and a very good understanding of her own topic. She also answered questions, supplementing it even more. With praise rating 10.

Picture of Tamara Milovanovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Tamara Milovanovic - Saturday, January 10, 2015, 5:38 PM

I think that my colleague Katherine is one of the few who published the paper on time, corrected the mistake, accepted the criticism and tried to explain everything. The text is extensive and well explained and can be understood by those who have not even read the literature. For all its praise is its effort in form and in the subject itself.

Picture of Marina Šušnjar
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Marina Susnjar - Friday, 9 January 2015, 12:25 AM

Extremely interesting work as well as a topic in itself. It can be seen that my colleague Katarina tried to explain in more detail Dirkham's view of social facts and their importance for an individual in society, as well as their various ways of coercion on an individual, and in doing so she succeeded. Skillful writing, for all praise. Mark 10.

Picture of Milica Vukotic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Milica Vukotic - Friday, 9 January 2015, 10:31 PM

In addition to the fact that my colleague very clearly wrote a weekly statement, she was also able to answer all the questions asked and thus complete her presentation. My rating is 10.

Picture of Jelena Bogdanovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Jelena Bogdanovic - Saturday, January 10th 2015, 3:12 AM

The effort and clarification of my colleague Milovanovic is excellent, grade 10.

Picture of Dalibor Miloradovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Dalibor Miloradovic - Saturday, 10 January 2015, 5:49 PM

In my opinion, without much explanation, this is one of the best announcements. Mark 10.

Picture of Ninoslav Gajic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Ninoslav Gajic - Saturday, January 10, 2015, 10:15 PM

Dear Colleagues, It is a pleasure to read your work. You have made a serious effort, received criticism and earned a maximum mark of 10 with exceptional dedication and work.

Picture of Danica Jotić
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Danica Jotic - Saturday, 10 January 2015, 11:05 PM

The colleague made a great effort and covered her topic very nicely, and the formal shortcomings are negligible. The proposed rating is undoubtedly 10.

Picture of Marija Sjeničić
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Marija Sjeničić - Saturday, January 10th 2015, 11:53 PM

And more than evident the effort and effort put into it, not only when writing the announcement, but also in answering questions. Indeed, the paper is precise and precisely worded, therefore, my suggestion is 10.

Picture of Jovana Mijatovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Jovana Mijatovic - Saturday, January 10, 2015, 11:58 PM

Colleague Katherine has completely covered the topic, the work is interesting and understandable. Mark 10

Picture of Jelena Sukovic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Jelena Sukovic - Sunday, January 11th 2015, 1:50 AM

As my colleagues have already stated, the topic of my colleague Milutinovic is very well explained, an understanding of the topic is visible. Mark 10.

Picture of Nina Ocokoljic
Re: Emil Dirkem, Rules of the Sociological Method: What is a Social Fact?
by Nina Ocokoljic - Sunday, January 11th 2015, 12:57 PM

My colleague's work was very interesting to me. I like the choice of the quotation and its interpretation. I particularly commend the effort that my colleague put into answering the professor's questions, she was indeed able to bring us closer to the topic and show that she mastered the subject perfectly. This is one of the papers that I may have liked the most, and this is the grade I suggest 10.