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Identify the arguments and evidence used by sociologists to support the claim that human behaviour is determined largely by social factors A social fact is capable of exerting over the individual an external constraint whilst exsiting on its own Durkheim 1982 Social facts are external stimuli that determine and influence the behaviour of the society August Comte argued that sociology should not be concerned with examining internal meanings motives or emotions of societal members Mental states exist only in a persons consciousness and therefore cannot be observed or measured in any objective way This view of studying human behaviour is often used by structualists Functionalist Emilie Durkheim agrees with Comte and goes a step further According to Durkheim social facts are things and should therefore be studied similarly to the objects and events of the natural world However Durkheim disagrees with Comte on social facts being only those things that were observable Social facts include such phenomena as the belief systems customs and social institutions Belief systems cannot be observed or measured but this does not make them any less important or influential on members of society They are not chosen by individuals and cannot be changed at will An example of this is the study done by functionalist Charles Murray on Culture and the poor According to Murray the beliefs existing among the poor are so influential that it has evolved into a culture This culture influences members of this social class to display the lackadaisical behaviour so common among their kind One of these beliefs established claim that because the Welfare Poverty Reduction Fund is maintaining them there is no need for the poor to work to improve their condition Murray claimed that this belief is very hard to dispose of and even when jobs are offered these individuals turn them down and go into the rum shops to spend the little they have getting drunk and joking about how they
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