December 11, 2002

· Internet

Charles Dodgson takes on a couple of people who happen to throw around the word “sociological” in a pretty ill-informed fashion, here and here. Defending the word isn’t Charles’s main goal, of course, but it gives me an excuse to link to a newly-discovered, interesting blog. For instance, you should read his “Libertarianism vs Reality”, where he gives some Libertarians an elementary introduction to the concept of a social fact (though he doesn’t use that phrase). Originating with Emile Durkheim, the most concise definition comes from Harrison White: A social fact is something produced by the joint action of many individuals that appears inexorable to any one of them. Of the two Big Facts about life, one of them is natural (Death) and the other social (Taxes). Both are more or less equally inexorable. (Unless you are a large corporation, in which case you may be able to avoid both for long periods.)

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I am Associate Professor of Sociology at Duke University. I’m affiliated with the Kenan Institute for Ethics, the Markets and Management Studies program, and the Duke Network Analysis Center.



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