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Emile Durkheim emphasized on the reality of society. He laid emphasis on social facts and provided a separate ground to sociology from that of psychology. Social facts constrain members of society through their own ways of acting, thinking and feeling external to the individual and endowed with a power of coercion. Beliefs and moral codes are passed on from one generation to the next and shared by the individuals who make up a society. There are two ways of explaining social facts .The first method involves determining the cause of a social fact of seeking to explain its origin.
The determining cause of a social fact should be sought among the social fact preceding it and not among the states of individual consciousness. However the explanation of a social fact also involves an analysis of its function in society, of its contribution to the general needs of social organism of its function in the establishment of social order. Durkheim assumes that the explanation of the continuing existence of a social fact lies in its function that is in its usefulness for society. Social facts continue to exist because they contribute in some way to the maintenance of society.