Social facts in Durkheim’s own words “ every way of acting, fixed or not, capable of exercising on the individual an external constraint; or again, every way of acting which is general throughout a given society, while at the same time existing in its own right independent of its individual manifestations”(Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). In his view individuals within a society were subject to following social facts not only if they were aware of them but also when they were oblivious to their existence (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008). Many of the norms we follow have been instilled in us since birth and we have been enculturated into society. It is just “the way things are” and we follow unknowingly. This we do collectively as a group or society, the individual may believe that he/she came up with their own individual ideology but it has been the outside influence that has provided the “materials” so that such “individuality” can be created by the person (not from within but from without). What are some things in our present-day society that we follow without even questioning? Think hard, what maybe some things that we ascribe to without even knowing?
Applerouth, S. & Edles, L. D.2008.Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory:
Text Readings.Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.