Social Facts and Emile Durkheim Essay

Through his theories, which are frequently employed to explain human behavior and their connections with society, Durkheim made substantial contributions to the area of sociology.

Sociologists and other social science experts are particularly interested in his contributions, which include the creation of the social facts theory.

His research on suicide and the theoretical viewpoints he provided on the subject have influenced the discipline and aided other sociologists in advancing related studies.

Based on Emile Durkheim's writings, the article will examine the connection between the concepts of social integration and suicide.

In this essay, the focus will lie in the levels of social inclusion and how they influence the rates of suicide at the community level.

The assessment will use a positivist approach in human studies and the societal phenomena of suicide.

Suicide as a social fact

Social facts are the cultural norms, the social structures, and the values which surpass individual control and have the capacity to control one's social life.

Emile Durkheim defined social facts as the manners of thinking, acting, and feeling outward connections with the society.

The social facts to an individual are exercised in a forceful way by virtue in which they employ control over the person.

In a broader sense, social facts entail acting in any manner fixed or otherwise within a context that can exert an external constraint over an individual (Durkheim, 1994).

Examples of social facts include the social institutions and accepted structures such as currency, political organization, marriage, religion, kinship, and all institutions in a given community that are part of everyday interactions.

Durkheim formulated a social research framework he called "The Rules of Sociological Method" as a sociological guide to understanding the science of social sciences.

Durkheim used these rules to classify suicide and offer evidence as to why it should be considered a social fact.

In his analysis on suicide, he challenged cultural and social dynamics and how they interact with each other.

Durkheim offered perspectives that differed significantly with psychological theories who linked suicide to individual elements.

His approach defined suicide as an element of both internal and external wrangles affecting the individual personality.

In his definition, suicide is a social phenomenon that cannot be addressed by considering an individual without focusing on their social, cultural, and political environments (Appelrouth, & Edles, 2008).

Durkheim used data obtained from various countries to argue the case which presents major differences in suicide rates among social classes and cultural segments.

The analysis was used to indicate a correlational between levels of suicide and the role the distinct settings play contrary to the psychological school of thought that argued by individual factors with no links to the external environment.

Durkheim held to the idea that suicide rates can be altered by changing environmental stimulants including the levels of segregation and the integration of social structures.

Also, he did away with the argument that climatic changes and geographical differences cannot result in varied suicide rates.

Durkheim noted that rates of suicide were noticeably higher in areas with low social integration or regulation as well as failed social structures which are also components of social facts.

As such, suicide according to Durkheim should be considered a social fact since it is not within the control of a particular person or victim and can influence the lives of the people within a particular setting.

Social integration and suicide

Durkheim developed a classification of social systems that contribute to variations community suicide rates.

He discussed the varying rates as variables of family, religion, and political constructs to develop the first social concept of integration that significantly affects the societal suicide rates.

Durkheim argues that there is a high likelihood of Protestants committing suicide compared to the Catholics or Jews.

He contemplated that the difference is grounded on the idea that Protestants enjoy a greater degree of religious freedom that drives the desire to pursue higher knowledge that is not relished by other religions.

Durkheim noted that it is not the pursuit of knowledge that causes an increase in suicide rates but rather a lack of integration between the religious values and norms (Kushner, & Sterk, 2005).

Also, the absence of stable political and family structures was considered a sign of failed integration that further increased the risk for suicide rates.

Positivism and Social Phenomena

Positivism refers to the philosophical theory that states that human beliefs and knowledge are grounded on natural phenomena and how they encourage interactions and social inclusion.

This concept illustrates that positivism describes how a society uses scientific evidence like experiments and statistics to reveal the truth about the way it functions.

Positivism is founded on the premise that one can observe people's social life and come up with a valid and reliable knowledge of how it operates.

Durkheim asserted that social facts were discrete phenomena different from psychological facts and explained the sense behind scientific inquiries (Appelrouth, & Edles, 2008).

He went ahead and conducted a study that led to the conclusion that social regulations and integration influence the rates of suicide differently across diverse regions.


Suicide is a social fact since it revolves around the two pillars that clearly define social facts including social integration and regulation.

The assessment of social facts should be conducted in a positivist approach that entails the use of objective data obtained by collecting data on the aid phenomena, Durkheim's studies on suicide rates determined that they are influenced by different structural systems and the level of cohesion across these systems.

The family, political, educational, and religious factors all influence individual perceptions of the world and influence their responses to these stimulants and inhibitors.

Social regulation and integration inform individual opinion, reactions, and beliefs as explicated in Durkheim's works and the successful study of its prevalence through a positivist social study.


Appelrouth, S., & Edles, L. D. (2008). Classical and contemporary sociological theory: Text and readings. Pine Forge Press.

Durkheim, E. (1994). Social facts. Readings in the philosophy of social science, 433-440.

Kushner, H. I., & Sterk, C. E. (2005). The limits of social capital: Durkheim, suicide, and social cohesion. American journal of public health, 95(7), 1139-1143.

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