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Durkheim Potential Ideas

1. Durkheim presents a strong notion of social structure that restricts the amount of autonomy or free will an individual has. Do you agree with this view? Why or why not? What implications are there for either position (strong social structure/weak autonomy; weak social structure/strong autonomy)?

2. Durkheim argues that social cohesion arises out of our division of labor, particularly as it necessitates a type of tacit reliance and cooperation. How does this contrast with the popular notion of “rugged individualism” in the US? Alternatively, Garfinkel suggests a view of social order that is premised more on habitual behavior then shared morals. Which of the three positions do you think most accurately depicts how our social order is maintained?

3. How useful do you find Durkheim’s notion of a “social fact”? Does he do an adequate job of defending this concept, or does it still overlap with other disciplines? Or, is it even possible to single out “social facts” from say, economic or psychological ones? Why or why not?

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