Durkheim's Conception of Society as a Subject and Social Fact as a Thing


SÖNMEZ A.

ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI SOSYOLOJI DERGISI-ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY, vol.39, no.1, pp.159-174, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.26650/sj.2019.39.1.0001
  • Journal Name: ISTANBUL UNIVERSITESI SOSYOLOJI DERGISI-ISTANBUL UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIOLOGY
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.159-174

Abstract

This essay examines Durkheim's conception of society as a subject (agent) and social fact as a thing. Through a close reading of his major works and by comparing his concept with that of Tonnies and Marx, the essay argues that in Durkheim's conception, society as a true and real subject exists insofar as it directs the efforts of its members toward securing its own collective survival as a single moral being by socializing its members who are committed to this objective and applying corrective sanctions against actions that threaten its survival. All other efforts and actions are manifestations of a subject that is lesser than a society.