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Durkheim & Social Facts -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Casteel, P. D.;

2009 / EBSCO


Emile Durkheim is widely considered the founder of modern sociology and remains one of sociology's most influential thinkers. Durkheim's methodology set the foundation for modern methodological approaches and his concept of "social facts" has enjoyed a new popularity in academia in its latest incarnation as culture. This article traces the intellectual influence of Montesquieu, Comte, and Spencer on Durkheim's development of social facts and outlines Durkheim's definition of social facts from "The Rules of the Sociological Method." The article then examines how Durkheim applied his own concepts of sociological method and social facts in his studies of division of labor and suicide. Finally, the article gives a brief overview of criticisms of Durkheim and Durkheim's lasting influence.