Talk:Émile Durkheim/GA2

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GA Review[edit]

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Reviewer:Tom Morris (talk) 00:25, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
    I have some slight concern that technical terminology is introduced but not always explained clearly. An example might be the concept of a social fact which is used five times in the article before the section on social facts. Not being a sociologist, I was rather looking forward to learning what Durkheim believed a social fact to be. Imagine my disappointment when I learn that it is "a term he coined to describe phenomena that have an existence in and of themselves and are not bound to the actions of individuals". Okay. Do rocks count? Probably not. That's a childish thing to say. Is suicide a social fact? A flag is a social fact, apparently. The description of the concept is slightly unclear to this sociological layman.
    I think the placement and delayed definition are fine, but you are right hat the concept was lacking something in the first sentence. I added as the third quality that social facts "have a coercive influence upon [individuals]", I think this now clarifies why a rock wouldn't really count. Of course, I see how we could go into semantics and claim that everything has a coercive aspect, and Durkheim's definition and discussion have been both expanded and criticized by others to address that. Personally, I'd add another clarification - that material social facts are artifacts created by humans (so, nature products like a rock wouldn't count), but frankly, I just spend 5 minutes looking and failing to find a clear ref for that. However, <ref name="AllanAllan2009">{{cite book|author1=Kenneth Allan|author2=Kenneth D. Allan|title=Explorations in Classical Sociological Theory: Seeing the Social World|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=IyKii0ymDi4C&pg=PA106|accessdate=9 June 2011|date=2 November 2009|publisher=Pine Forge Press|isbn=9781412978125|page=106}}</ref> does call material social facts cultural artifacts, and those are of course man-made objects. If you think that a clarification that a material social facts is man-made, based on that ref, would be helpful and justified, I'd gladly add it. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:20, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
    I know that John Searle later reused this concept of a social fact rather like this: just as there is a physical fact that underlies the truth conditions for a sentence of the sort "There is a glass on my kitchen table", there exists a social fact that underlies the truth conditions for a sentence of the sort "Barack Obama is the President of the United States of America". There isn't some physical test you can do on: you couldn't grab some DNA and prove that someone is the President.
    I do not know whether Searle's description coming out of an analytic philosophy kind of milieu is running on the same sort of track as Durkheim. That is not actually the issue. But I'd suggest here that there is a useful point of comparison: in the sentences that make up the previous paragraph, I gave an example of the sort of prose that would be appropriate to explain a concept like a social fact. It uses an example, it draws a distinction with a fairly familiar sense of the word as we ordinarily use it and clearly delineates between different kinds of thing.
    It is helpful, but I tend to avoid unreferenced examples. Is there MoS that discusses whether examples need to be referenced?
    In the section "Society, collective consciousness and culture", there is the following sentences:
    In a socioevolutionary approach, Durkheim described the evolution of societies from mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity (one rising from mutual need). Thus the division of labor was counteracting and replacing collective consciousness.
    (I've omitted the footnotes.)
    The paragraph does go on to explain the differences. But what is the context of the second sentence I have quoted above? The division of labour counteracts and replaces collective consciousness... why? Is that a product of Durkheim describing these concepts of solidarity? Or is it a product of the evolution from one to the other? Or is it a product of the new form of solidarity (organic solidarity). An aside: the links used for mechanical and organic solidarity both point straight to Solidarity.
    I've clarified this (I hope) in the new version. And yes, organic solidarity, mechanical solidarity, as well as organic society and mechanical society need some attention, to say the least. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:20, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
    The changes don't go quite as far as I'd like. Social facts is now understandable. The prose for solidarity still could be improved, but I'm happy to pass the criteria—it demands clear prose rather than clarity in the underlying concepts. If the sources do not provide enough material to make the prose any clearer, I have to err on the side of charity. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:51, 11 June 2011 (UTC)
    The prose is syntactically fine, but often it doesn't serve to enable easy understanding for the reader.
    I'm not going to fail it for prose, but it currently is not "clear" as the GA requirements require. If it can be improved in the short term, I'll pass it. I'm reasonably satisfied that it meets the requirements for criteria 1(b).
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (references): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR):
    The links all work. Impressively well-referenced.
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
    It passes at GA, but one possible area of improvement would be this: more information on the influence that Durkheim had on sociology overall. The section on 'Establishing sociology' lists a few of his accomplishments such as the influence on structural functionalism, and also lists a rather impressive list of thinkers and academics he influenced including sociologists as well as psychologists (Piaget) and others (Geertz, Foucault). It would have perhaps been useful if it could cover more of the influence and reaction to Durkheim's work in sociology and in other field's—I know he has been influential in certain theological circles for instance.
    A valid point, but my expertise and the texts I used are from sociology. If there is something accessible online one could recomment, such as a Durkheim section in an intro to theology book on Google Print, I'd gladly see if there is anything relevant. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:20, 9 June 2011 (UTC)
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
    No NPOV issues.
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
    No edit warring or other similar issues.
  6. It is illustrated by images, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free images have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
    Everything is out of copyright and on Commons. No issues.
  7. Overall:
    Pass/Fail:
    If the issues I raised in the discussion of criteria 1 can be resolved reasonably quickly, I'm happy to pass the article with congratulations to the authors for their hard work so far.
    These issues have now been resolved, so I'm declaring the article as having passed GA standard. —Tom Morris (talk) 12:51, 11 June 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the review. I hope I addressed your concerns. Please let me know if further action is needed. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 21:20, 9 June 2011 (UTC)